Photographed on Hwy. 6 (Chief Mountain Hwy.) Waterton, Alberta, Canada
Canon EOS 50D; Canon 17-85mm lens @85mm
March 23, 2012
Featured in Wildflowers of North America – March 25, 2011
TOP 8 in a Challenge in Endangered and Vulnerable Plants – September 25, 2010
Featured in The World As We See It…or as we missed it – August 19, 2010
Featured in Endangered or Vulnerable Plants – August 2010
Featured in All About Flowers – July 2010
Featured in FEATURED PHOTOGRAPHERS – July 2010
Mountain Lady’s Slipper
Scientific Name: Cypripedium montanum Cypripedium comes from the Greek kupris (Aphrodite – Venus) and pedilion (a shoe), thus meaning Aphrodite’s shoe!
Family: Orchidaceae Orchid Family
General Info: Perennial, 20 to 70 cm (8-28 in) tall. Cord-like roots.
Native/ Non-native: Native
Range: Alaska to northern California, northern Idaho, and northwestern Wyoming; Canadian Rocky Mountains
Ecology: Low to subalpine elevations, dry to moist, open areas and open woods on moist humus. Most often occur in open mixed conifer or mixed conifer hardwood forests but also documented in forest openings, shrub thickets and alpine meadows.
Light: Open to lightly shaded areas.
Leaves: Leaves 2-6 in (5-15 cm) long, ovate, broadly lance-shaped, to egg-shaped which occur all along the stem. Bases of lowest leaves are wrapped around the stem.
Flowers: Showy flowers easily recognized which form a distinct pouch. Upper petals and sepals are greenish yellow to purplish bronze which twist and curl. Usually 1 per stem, but may be 2 or 3. 1.3-3 in (3.1-7.5 cm) long. Flowers of the orchid family are composed of 3 sepals and 3 petals, but in some species the lowest petal is highly modified. In this species the elaborate lip acts to attract insects drawn to nectar at its base.
Fruits: Seeds of the orchid family are borne in capsules, distinctive for their profusion, and unusual in that they have no food reserve. Successful germination depends upon ideal conditions.
Notes: Two sepals are fused together, one petal modified to become the lip!
Please protect; do not disturb. Collection of wild plants is strongly discouraged. Most mountain lady’s slipper populations are very small, can easily be decimated, and transplanted wild plants rarely survive.