Pink Lady's Slipper


PinkLadySlipper.jpg

 

Common Name
Pink Lady's-Slipper
Category
Wild Flowers
ScientificName
Cypripedium acaule
Kingdom
Plantae
Phylum
Anthophyta
Class
Monocotyledoneae
Order
Orchidales
Family
Orchidaceae
Genus
Cypripedium
Species
acaule
SubSpecies

 

Description
Perennial; pair of basal (bottom) leaves 5 – 8 in. (12.7 – 20.32 cm) long; flower stalk leafless; solitary pink flower with petal shaped like a pouch, 1.5 – 2 in. (3.81 – 5.08 cm) long; blooms April – July
Size
1 – 2 ft. (0.3 – 0.61 m) tall
Ecological Role
Pink lady's-slipper is a producer, transforming the sun's energy into food energy. Its flower provides nectar for bees. The seed requires a fungus in the soil to provide it with the nutrients needed for germination; therefore, efforts to collect this orchid from the wild often fail and merely contribute to its growing rarity.
Fun Facts
When a bee pollinates the pink lady's-slipper, it can not exit the flower the same way it entered because the petals are shaped like “lips” pointed downward. While the bee is trying to get out, it fills up with nectar and gathers more pollen on its legs and back. Then, it is covered with pollen to take to the next flower. This is the orchid’s assurance that its pollen will be spread.
Food
 
Cover
 
Nest
 
Breeding
 
Eggs
 
Habitat
Pine or pine-oak woods, moist or dry; prefers acidic soils
Kentucky Distribution
Eastern Kentucky; mostly infrequent but may be plentiful in a few localities
Life Cycle
 
Life Span
 
Life Stage
 
Reproduction
Seed; pollinated by bumble bee
Seasonal Changes
 
Spawning
 
Status
Occasional in its natural habitat
Uses
The pink lady's-slipper was used in the 19th century as a sedative for nervous headaches, insomnia, and hysteria. It was often used in place of the yellow lady’s-slipper. It can, however, cause dermatitis because the stems and leaves are covered with hairs that can cause a rash.
Voice
 
Young
 
What We Can Do
 
Host
 
Diagnosis and Control
 
Interesting Facts
 
Contributed By
Tom Barnes, Ph.D., Dept. of Forestry, Universtiy of Kentucky
Website