30 November 2011


The genus name Cypripedium is derived from the Greek words "Cypris," an early reference in Greek myth to Aphrodite, and “pedilon” for sandal. This is because the fused petals that form the orchid’s pouch or modified lip (labellum) resemble a slipper or shoe. The staminode (sterile stamen) is often showy and seems to welcome the insect into the pouch where it makes its way to a back-door exit and in so doing transfers pollen to the stigma.
The text comes from "Meet the Ladies" -  a page at the US Forest Service website devoted to the "slipper orchids."  We have three varieties in Minnesota.  At the top and below are examples of the Showy lady's slipper - the state flower for Minnesota.
I photographed these along the bogwalk at Lake Bemidji State Park.  I don't have any photos of the White lady's slipper, which is more of a prairie flower, but the Yellow lady's slipper is fairly common.
I found several clusters in the ditch next to a road in Walker, Minnesota.  They are beautiful plants with wonderfully intricate flowers.


  1. I really like your website, but I feel compelled to mention that the showy lady slipper is not a State listed "endangered" species. It is actually fairly common in northern Minnesota, in its habitat of consistently moist to wet places such as forested swamps and even roadside ditches. I am speaking as a professional botanist/plant ecologist working in northern Minnesota.

  2. Thank you for the correction, anon; I've amended the text. I grew up spending my summers in Cass County, and knew the state flower was "protected," and I must have subconsciously translated that to mean endangered. I'm glad to hear it's not.

    I'm delighted to have someone with your expertise browsing the blog. I hope you'll return whenever you can to read the new posts - and please feel free to chime in with corrections and comments.


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