Cypripedium acaule is one of the treasures of our cottage property. This not-so-discrete lady shows her stuff every spring, but usually in early June, a time I choose to stay away because the blackflies are so bad. This only increases the privilege of witnessing her glory. This year lots of wet weather apparently kept some flowers fresh until our visit last week.
The pink lady’s slipper or moccasin flower is a temperate orchid native to eastern North America almost up to the Arctic Circle. It can only grow in acid soil and is typically found in coniferous forests but will also appear in deciduous. Lady’s slipper orchids trap insects, forcing them to crawl out of the pouch of the flower and perform pollination.
There are many species in this genus, but C. acaule is the only one with a cleft pouch (the others all have circular mouths). Each plant has exactly two round, heavily-veined leaves.