I have been blessed enough to have seen these two in the wild with my own eyes. These two native orchids of Illinois are a pretty rare sight. Sadly, aside from us greedy humans taking their habitat, people will selfishly dig these up and take them home. Bad people!
Cypripedium reginae ~ Showy Lady’s Slipper
She’s called, “Queen Orchid of America” with her slipper-like pouch of dazzling pink and her three white, flared petals, she rivals the orchids of the tropics with her beauty.
Orchids like to grow on a ledge of a marsh (hummock) in damp, deciduous forests and on rocky outcrops with rich organic soil which is usually alkaline based. Like all other Cypripedium species, it requires well-drained soil. These were spotted in the middle of forest, however I don’t feel it was too marshy where they were growing.
Cypripedium calceolus var. parviflorum
The specific epithet calceolus in Latin means “little shoe,” and parviflorum means “small flower,” in reference to the smaller flower of this variety.
There are 17 genera of native orchids here in the Midwest. Here, orchids are terrestrial (live in earth), whereas the ones native to the tropics are arboreal (live in trees). Orchids are interesting & complicated plants. Each genus is different, with their flower shapes partly influenced by the type of insect that pollinates them.
These two orchids (among others) have a specially made flower that only admits tiny green bees, which are their special pollinators. Other insects are not able to enter the flower, as the sticky anthers prevent them.
© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl