Stems: stout, leafy. Leaves: Ovate, acuminate. Flowers: solitary or two; petals and sepals pale green; lip dull white, veined, and with bright red spots; anther ovate-triangulate, yellow with red spots. Fruit: capsule drooping.

This is the small white Lady's Slipper, and its discovery in the mountains is of sufficiently rare occurrence to be quite an event in the history of the day to the ordinary traveller. It is usually in shady places, where the soil is moist and rich, that these little velvety orchids are found. The dull white sacs, hairy inside and spotted with bright red, are quite unmistakable; the stalks are leafy and usually bear only a single terminal flower, though occasionally two shell-like blooms adorn the fat juicy stem, one at its apex and the other a couple of inches lower down.

Plate XV

White Moccasin Flower (Cypripedium passerinum)

White Moccasin Flower (Cypripedium passerinum)

There is a rich tropical beauty about orchids strongly suggestive of the Orient. They do not seem to be at home in the northern mountain fastnesses, but rather to belong to a world of cloudless skies and riotous foliage, where exotic flowers are set like jewels in the lavish luxuriance of the torrid zone.