Pink Lady’s Slipper Orchid – Cypripedium acaule

My first memory of this pretty little orchid was from 1962, I was 12 years old and at Girl Scout Camp in Deep Creek, Maryland. We had a cool counselor who told us about the things (plants and animals) that surrounded us! I had earned the two weeks at camp by selling Girl Scout Cookies; actually my Dad sold most of them (smile).

Also known as Mocassin Flower


When we found this pink early spring ephemeral, we were told about how rare it was. We were told to look and not touch. She brought the flower to life by retelling an old Ojibwa tale of a young girl who was brave and fearless.

Pink Lady's Slipper

Her family and village were all sick; so she walked through snow to




retrieve the healing herbs from the one who had them. Walking home

she lost her moccasins and left bloody footprints in the snow. After

her people were healed she and her brother found the Lady’s Slipper

blooming in her footprints as the snow melted!


This past spring, on the road behind ours we found in the woods the wonderful pink Lady’ Slipper. It is still relatively rare, but here in Delaware they are not listed as Endangered. I would love to have this flower in the garden, but they hate their roots to be disturbed, and they need a special microbe in the soil to flourish. So I will leave this medicinal plant where I find it, and go revisit it next year.

4 responses to this post.

  1. You can grow ladyslippers in your garden. They are extraordinarily difficult to grow because they have exacting requirements. If you construct an orchid bed, you can have them. Just don’t collect them from the wild or buy them from a wild collector. That not only depletes this rare plant but most are mishandled and die. Buy only from a nursery that grows plants propagated from nursery stock. Ask first. If the nursery owner doesn’t know, then assume it is wild collected. These are hard to cultivate and thus their price is fairly high. A cheap Cyp is likely a wild collected one. Here is a link from Plant Delights Nursery that contains an article on their history, and cultivation and a list of available plants:


  2. “Because of a fungus association (from the Rhizoctonia genus) needed for growth, and the high acid this plant needs, C. acaule is difficult to grow in the average garden and is unlikely to survive attempts at transplantation.”

    Pink lady’s slipper seeds require threads of the fungus to break open the seed and attach them to it. The fungus will pass on food and nutrients to the pink lady’s slipper seed. When the lady’s slipper plant is older and producing most of its own nutrients, the fungus will extract nutrients from the orchid roots. This mutually beneficial relationship between the orchid and the fungus is known as “symbiosis” and is typical of almost all orchid species.


  3. Posted by Mike on June 18, 2012 at 4:58 am

    well i like wild plants better then store bought plants that produces seeds and the seeds never grow fuck store bought plants all the way because they spray shit on them so the seeds wont grow i hate that I’ll dig up any wild plant i want and plant it at my house and they never die wild plants are the best to plant not store bought plants if anyone needs a wild plant go out and make sure you get all of the roots and tap roots and make sure to have a bag with you with water in the bag to keep the plant from dieing it works don’t brake any roots if you get a wild flower of any wild plants


  4. Posted by Mike on June 18, 2012 at 5:03 am

    no it doesn’t. take you a big shovel and get it and all the roots sens its rare i would


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