Lady's slipper

(Contributed photo by G Johansen from Pixabay)

I opened my wildflower identification book recently. It’s been awhile. My oldest daughter is a plant specialist of sorts now, so I usually just ask her — a role reversal — but occasionally I crack the book. Searching for the name of the woodland flower I’d seen, one pointed out to me one day by my sweetie who is a forester at heart and a grand identifier of trees, but flowers not so much. It was a lady’s slipper that my own Paul Bunyan noticed while we walked a woodland trail mid-June. Once home, I read up on it. According to Donald and Lillian Stokes, a pink lady’s slipper has two large basal leaves, a saclike flower hanging down from the tip of a leafless stalk, and is a veritable funhouse for its pollinators who must bumble through its front slit, crawl up a sticky and hairy slope where the nectar lies, and exit out the top. All the while depositing pollen and acquiring it. These flowers are found in acidic woods and sand barrens and bloom in May and June in partial-shade to shade. Plus they are beautiful and elegant.

Amy Jo Barker

Amy Jo Barker 

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