Last weekend, my husband and I did a getaway trip at an Airbnb in West Virginia for my birthday! I know that some Cypripediums (Lady’s Slipper Orchid) bloom around this time of year, so I Googled to see if there might be an area near our Airbnb where we could find them. We settled on Trout Pond Recreation Area in George Washington National Forest as a spot to explore. I wasn’t 100% sure we would find any orchids there, but I figured we could have a nice little outing regardless.
We parked by Rockcliff Lake and walked the short trail around the lake. It was an absolutely beautiful morning:
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):
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:
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!