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Wetland Plants and Plant Communities of Minnesota and Wisconsin


(Cypripedium candidum Willd.)

White lady-slipper

ORCHID FAMILY (Orchidaceae)


FIELD CHARACTERISTICS: A perennial herb 15-40 cm. high. Stems range in number from 1-30 per plant. Leaves on the stem number 3-5, and are curved and strongly ribbed or pleated. The leaves tend to form an erect cluster near the ground, sheathing the stem. Flowers are distinctive and solitary, with a white lip (1.5-2.5 cm. long) streaked with violet, and with lance-like petals that are often spirally twisted. In flower from mid-May to early June, only for a few days in hot weather.

White lady-slipper

ECOLOGICAL NOTES: White lady-slipper is a rare orchid that occurs on calcareous, wet soils of calcareous fens and wet to wet-mesic prairies. It is listed as a threatened species in Wisconsin and as a species of special concern in Minnesota. The flowers and flower buds are eaten by white-tailed deer and eastern cottontail.

SOURCE: Gleason and Cronquist (1991); and Swink and Wilhelm (1994).

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