Lady’s Slipper Orchid Facts
- First of all, the truly beautiful and also highly diverse Lady’s Slipper Orchid family contains more than 50 species. In addition, over 30 of these magnificent flowers claim one region of the world as their native habitat range. That’s the area consisting of North America.
- In addition to the diversity of its family, each species also varies from other orchids in a unique way. That holds true due to the fact that these have been classified as diandrous. This means that each of these unique plants has two fertile anthers, rather than one, like other orchids.
- Without doubt, climate change and habitat loss currently threaten many plants worldwide. However, many of these particular species continue to be somewhat fortunate. This holds true because twelve species occur on protected National Forest System lands, in the United States.
- Quite unfortunately, this family appears to have nearly disappeared from the extreme western portion of its range. In Great Britain, only one small population of a single species of Lady’s Slipper Orchid still survives. Thankfully, the site is carefully monitored and maintained.
Lady’s Slipper Orchid Physical Description
Since so many species bear the same common name of Lady’s Slipper Orchid, physical variations naturally occur. In fact, many of the individual members of the remarkable group vary significantly in appearance. Nonetheless, the members also share many general characteristics with each other.
Firstly, each remains characterized by the presence of slipper-shaped pouches on the flowers, as well as the role these play in pollination. Furthermore, the stems of the many different species also range in height from 8-28 in (20-70 cm) and usually support 1-2 flowers, yet 3 appear occasionally.
Secondly, the various types of Lady’s Slipper Orchid present a wide variety of colors. Most commonly, these include various shades of pink, red, brown, white, yellow, and purple. Meanwhile, the leaves of most member species display a unique light green color. This trait further sets it apart from most orchids.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Tracheophyta
- Class: Liliopsida
- Order: Orchidales
- Family: Orchidaceae
- Genus: Cypripedium
Lady’s Slipper Orchid Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
First of all, the gorgeous Lady’s Slipper Orchid family has a comparatively extensive habitat range. That holds true because this zone of habitation does not only include North America. Also, to the wonder of many, that range also includes parts of the continents of Asia and Europe as well. In addition, the various species of the group inhabit temperate, boreal, and tropical forests.
While its beauty awes its admirers, factors working against it do exist. For one, its own growth rate presents problems for those attempting to preserve the family. That’s because experts rank it as one of the slowest-growing plants known to man. In point of fact, individuals often require as much as 11 years of growth before reaching maturity and producing flowers.
Furthermore, the fabulous Lady’s Slipper Orchid only reproduces via propagation and rhizomes, not with tubers as well, like other orchids. In addition, the tiny seeds actually rely upon a symbiotic association with a mycorrhizal fungus for germination. This highly unusual evolutionary development makes efforts to artificially propagate members of the family difficult.