Historic Birch Lodge

Historic Birch Lodge
Historic Birch Lodge, Trout Lake, MI

Monday, June 25, 2012

Lady-slipper Orchids in the Upper Peninsula

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Birch Lodge Purple Ladyslipper Orchids
Although this has been a dry spring until the rain we have had in the last week (over 3"!)  The Lady-slipper Orchids have been out in force.

 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.)
Yellow Lady-slipper Orchids Trout Lake, MI
 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.

  The Showy Lady-slipper orchid, (Cypripedium reginae) seems to be latest to bloom and prefers a more neutral soil.  This is not called regina for nothing!  What a beauty!
Showy Lady-slipper Orchid Trout Lake, MIShowy Lady-slipper Orchids Trout Lake, MI

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!


  1. I kove Lady Slippers! Great photos.

  2. thanks for sharing.

  3. Wow your so lucky to see such variety. I have only seen the pink lady slippers. They grow under I think its white pine in hardly any soil. they love the high acid arid forest floor. Amazing photos you have. Where I saw them they were in abundance. I took some photos of them. They scented the whole area. It was Memorial Day weekend.

    I have been to Trout Lake only a couple of times in my early childhood. Never saw your lodge. Great info.

    DuSyl of dusyl.blogspot.com a genealogy blog. I am doing a post on MI today. I searched 4 phots of places I knew as a child in Michigan. That's how I found your blog.

    I will have to come explore the area fully some day.