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Pink Lady’s Slipper Orchid (Cypripedium)

Lady’s slipper orchids are usually terrestrial, though some are epiphytic or grow on rocks. Unlike most other orchids, the flowers characteristically feature two fertile anthers (male and pollen-producing structures) instead of just one.

This plant is found in pinelands or other acidic soils in Eastern North America. During spring months the first shoots of the pink lady’s slipper appear. You can also see the dead leaves from the previous year at the same spot.

This adorable little plant has only two leaves that branch out from the center where its single flower stalk also grows. The unique flower looks just like a lady’s slipper (oftentimes spelled as such), closed tightly except for a small opening in the front. Blooms range in color from white and yellow to deep pink and nearly purple shades.

The slipper-shaped lip of the flower serves as a trap for the pollinating insects, driving insect visitors to climb past the reproductive structures and deposit or receive pollinia (pollen masses) to fertilize the flower.

Here’s just something special about wild lady slipper orchids (Cypripedium). This plant can be grown easily in your garden with little effort. However, it is preferred to grow in areas that mimic their natural environments, so choose a site in your garden that has a well-aerated soil and moist conditions. Do not put them in full sun or dry locations.

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