Orchid of the Week: Cypripedium reginae

In honor of Independence Day, this week I chose an orchid native to the United States: Cypripedium reginae. This orchid is very similar in appearance to lady slipper orchids like Paphiopedilums and Phragmipediums – and it’s so American that it’s the state flower of Minnesota. Look how beautiful this Cypripedium reginae is, with its velvety pink, pouchy sack (my inner 12 year-old is giggling right now):

Cypripedium reginae
Photo credit: NC Orchid, Flickr

This terrestrial lady slipper orchid grows wild in the U.S., mostly in the upper Midwest and the Northeast. The Cypripedium reginae thrives in damp, shady environments like bogs and swamps.  Flickr member pverdonk found some gorgeous specimens growing wild by the side of a highway in Michigan:

Cypripedium reginae
Photo credit: pverdonk, Flickr

If you ever happen to see wild orchids like the Cypripedium, it’s important to note that it is illegal to pick them or dig the plant up. I know I’d be tempted to take a wild orchid home if I came across one, but this flower and others are protected by state laws. So in the name of conservation (and, of course, abiding the law), make sure you simply take a picture; it’ll last longer anyway. 🙂

P.S. I have spotty internet service in my new apartment at the moment, so once I have internet all set up for good next week I’ll do a proper update on my orchids!

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  1. Absolutely lovely shot. Nice composition. Good work with the symmetry and nice capture of the color.
    The second shot has great composition as well. I particularly liked the bloom colors arrangement across the picture. Excellent contrast.
    Thanks for the beautiful art.

  2. Cyps are indeed one the best native plants around. They are disappearing from the wild in the US due to illegal harvesting and habitat encroachment. You can grow them in your garden. It is tough, but possible. Only buy plants from nurseries that propagate from nursery stock and not from wild collected plants. Here is a link from Plant Delights Nursery that contains an article on their history, and cultivation:

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