Cypripedium arietinum

Here is another Cypripedium for the orchids of Manitoba series. About 45 species of Cypripedium are recognized, with twelve occurring in North America (link shows 11 of the 12 species; the twelfth being the most difficult to access and find). This was the eighth of those twelve I’ve observed in bloom in the wild; I would have seen a ninth (Cypripedium candidum) had it not been for a late frost in Manitoba damaging the flowers (more on this tomorrow).

Cypripedium arietinum, or ram’s-head lady’s-slipper, is native to southern Canada and northeastern United States. As the Flora of North America notes, it is a species of “dry to moist open coniferous and mixed forests, coniferous-forested fens, [and] beach thickets”. Habitat for the dozen or so individuals I observed was in coniferous-forested fens. The species is considered rare or threatened throughout most of its range, though the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has an excellent factsheet on Cypripedium arietinum that mentions a wider distribution previously (on a geological time scale).

Cypripedium arietinum

3 responses to “Cypripedium arietinum”

  1. Mirdza

    A truly unique flower. Looks like it has cotton in its mouth. Is it part of the seed? Lovely at any rate.

  2. Alison Place

    I’ve seen this growing south of Ottawa, Ont., in rather shady cedar woods. There were also C. reginae and C. pubescens growing in the same general area, although the yellow lady’s slipper generally preferred an open meadow, and the showy lady’s slipper was in a very confined area closer to water. The ram’s head orchid was considerably smaller than either of its brighter cousins, and was quite a surprise to me when I was first shown it several years ago.

  3. Betty

    How very beautiful! You capture nature so intimately. How few would see these delicate beauties without your efforts. Thanks.

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