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Wetland Plants and Plant Communities of Minnesota and Wisconsin


(Cypripedium reginae Walter)

Showy lady-slipper

ORCHID FAMILY (Orchidaceae)


FIELD CHARACTERISTICS: A hairy perennial herb with flowers composed of white sepals and petals, and a large inflated lip (pouch) 3-5.5 cm. long. The lip is white with purple to rose to pink streaks. There may be 1 or 2 (rarely 3 or 4) flowers per stem. Stems are leafy, hairy, and 2-10 dm. in height. Leaves are elliptic-oval to ovate, 1-2 dm. long, strongly ribbed, hairy, and clasp the stem. In flower during June and July.

ECOLOGICAL NOTES: Showy lady-slipper is found in bogs, wooded swamps, calcareous fens, and along calcareous ridges and dunes in both shaded and open (sunny) habitats. The hairs on the stem and leaves are irritating to some people producing a rash similar to that caused by poison ivy. Showy lady-slipper is the state flower of Minnesota.

SOURCE: Fernald (1970); Gleason and Cronquist (1991); Voss (1972); and Smith (1993).

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