Showy Lady Slipper Cypripedium reginae
The showy Lady Slipper is a rare plant in some areas of the country and seemingly ubiquitous in others. The plant blooms in June and July and is a showpiece of the garden. According to Wikipedia, "The showy lady's slipper (Cypripedium reginae), also known as the pink-and-white lady slipper or the queen's lady slipper, is a rare terrestrial temperate orchid found in northern North America. The plant has probably always been rare and although it produces a large amount of seeds per seed pod, it reproduces largely by vegetative reproduction. (1) Although never common, this rare plant has vanished from much of its historical range due to habitat loss. It has been a subject of horticultural interest for many years with Charles Darwin being one of the people who, unsuccessfully, tried cultivating the plant. The plant became the state flower of Minnesota in 1902, and it became protected by state law in 1925. It is illegal to pick or uproot a showy lady slipper flower in Minnesota. The lady slipper flower is also the state wildflower of New Hampshire. It thrives in neutral to basic soils and prefers growing in fens. Historically, it was difficult to raise and responded poorly to tissue culture efforts until in the late 1990’s substantial progress was made in axenic culture of the plant from sterile seeds. (1,2,3) Since the plants reproduce vegetatively by rhizomes, they survive indefinitely. They typically flower in late June and early July. Usually, there are one or two flowers per stem, but there can be three or four. The stem has a hairy appearance, and the "hairs" can cause irritation to some people. Although this plant was originally chosen as the provincial flower for Prince Edward Island in 1947, it was so rare on the island that another Lady's Slipper, C. acaule (moccasin flower or pink lady slipper), has replaced it as the province's floral emblem."
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