A Lady’s Slipper

The Showy Lady’s Slipper Orchid is a rare plant indeed. The USDA has classified it as endangered in seven of the fourteen states for which data are available. It is listed as threatened in four other states, as vulnerable in one and as of special concern in another. New York considers this species to be exploitably vulnerable, meaning it is likely to be harvested for commercial and personal purposes.

Specimens are often found alone, or in widely scattered groups of two or three. This place was unlike any either of us had ever seen. We walked among hundreds, forming a carpet along the ground.

The traditional photographic view presents Cypripedium from the front or the side. I wondered, as I sat, how to show it to you in a slightly different way. Without the distraction of the large labellum, this rear view emphasizes texture and symmetry. I like it very well.

slip1

19 thoughts on “A Lady’s Slipper

  1. Both the symmetry and the opalescence are so pleasing. I went looking, and discovered I could find varieties of this flower at our Mercer Arboretum. Unfotunately, the poor arboretum and botanical gardens took terrible hits in the two latest floods, so whether the orchids survived, I don’t know. I’ll have to visit, and find out — if I can get past my aversion to driving through Houston.

    • I’ll second the motion. We just made the trip through Boston and were reminded of how much we dislike city driving. Thank you for your appreciation of this nontraditional view. J was perplexed that I chose it, given the opportunity to present one with color and flash. I too liked it for its emphasis on symmetry.

  2. It looks as if it’s illuminated! Like a Japanese lantern. Totally expected to see a flower with lots of color. Your images continue to surprise and amaze. Can only imagine what a carpet of them looked like. Heaven.

    • Indeed. The location was something I had not seen the likes of before (and perhaps will not see again). It disturbs me that many places, such as this, have been damaged and even destroyed due to the carelessness of those who cannot see. What a loss.

  3. Knowing its reputation but having never been there, I am guessing that you visited ________ . Maybe there is another location with many but that is the only one I have heard about. Although some may qualify more than others, I think most lady’s slippers could be listed as exploitably vulnerable – I have heard so many stories of populations decimated by folks digging them up, so unfortunately mistaken in thinking they can transplant them, unfortunate for the plants, I am not concerned with humans’ disappointment when digging up wildflowers. I like your flower’s posterior view having thought of the same recently. Your selective monochrome treatment shows off the Showy very well.

    • You got it in absolutely ONE! I’m really impressed. I hope you don’t mind that I have removed the name of the place in an effort to protect it even further than its geographic isolation does. Thanks for the positive comments on my approach to presenting this one. D

      • I don’t mind, but it’s pretty well-known and is mentioned often by photographers on Facebook, the State of Vermont, The New England Wildflower Society and the Nature Conservancy as places to visit.

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