Ladys Slipper

Cypripedium guttatum Sw.

The rootstock is long and horizontal with emerging tubers. Two large, broadly elliptic leaves clasp the single flowering stem. The stem is slender and upright, 6" to 8" tall, and covered with short glandular hairs. A small leafy bract appears behind the flower. The single, delicate flower can be described as having a pouch below, a hood above and two ears. The flower is usually creamy white and mottled with purplish brown. Color variation occurs within the species, ranging from white to pinkish blotched with greenish purple or purple.

Lady's slipper often blooms on hillsides, among wintergreen (Pyrola spp.), bistort (Polygonum viviparum), and fleabane (Erigeron peregrinus). Locals love to go searching for them early each summer. Unfortunately, the ground squirrels can't wait for them either, so often you will spot the familiar leaves, the slender stem, but no flower.

Range:

Eurasia, the Aleutians, interior Alaska, and the Yukon.

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