Monday, June 25, 2012
Lady-slipper Orchids in the Upper Peninsula
First in bloom have been the Purple Lady-slippers (Cypripedium acaule) in the more acid soils among the Hemlock stands and in the bogs. ( Not to mention some nice stands in the conifers here at Birch Lodge.)
They were followed closely by the bloom of the Yellow Lady-slippers (Cypripedium calceolus) which is possibly two varieties, debated, but I vote for two. One (pubescens) is common in the U.P. it is smaller and more likely to be found in thin wet soils of lime stone outcrops and along the ditches in lime stone areas.
The other is more of a woodland native, more common downstate, (parviflorum) it tends to be a larger plant with darker sepals and is found in mixed hardwoods and along wood edges.
It frequently may be found in moist ditches along the sunny side of the road.
Please don't even think of trying to pick or dig these orchids up. Aside from being illegal, they area next to impossible to grow, and experts caution that they will die within three years of being moved. If you must try to grow one, there are growers online.
Personally, I just think they are lovely jewels of the wild and can't get enough of stalking and photographing these late spring beauties!