Perennial. Bogs and moist, hilly woods and thickets. Nova Scotia to Ontario and Minnesota, south to Alabama and Nebraska. Frequent in northern Ohio. May-July.
Hairy, leafy, one to two feet high, one-flowered.
Alternate, oval, pointed, three to five inches long, parallel-veined.
Solitary, pale yellow, large, showy, at the top of a leafy stem.
Three, two united, greenish or yellowish, striped with purple or dull red, very long, narrow.
Two, brown, narrow, twisting; the third, the lip, an inflated sac, pale yellow streaked with purple lines, one to two inches long, white hairs within.
United with the style into an unsymmet-rical declined column bearing an anther on either side, and a dilated, triangular, petal-like, sterile stamen above, arching over the broad concave stigma.
Pollinated by bees. Nectar-bearing.
"There's a belted bee in the orchid's cup, He's taking his tithes from his tenantry; And never a care in the world knows he, Wise bee!
"But the golden dust of the stamen's store Is left at each orchid's open door; A part of the flower's plan is he As he takes tithes of his tenantry."
This is the earliest Lady's-Slipper where Cypri-pedium acaule does not grow. The beautiful yellow blossoms swing with an outward poise at the top of a leafy stem, solitary but sufficient. The interior of the pouch secretes nectar; the opening is to admit the bee, and the inflected edge forces it to crawl out near one of the anthers, where it meets the glutinous pollen. Entering another pouch, it leaves some of the pollen on the stigma as it escapes. The blossom is an enticing trap for bees small enough to enter and vigorous enough to escape. The lure and the trap and the way of escape are all prearranged - and the result is cross-fertilization, the production of innumerable seeds, and the certainty that more orchids will arise in the woods. But if the bee does not come, the lure and the trap and the way are all in vain.
Yellow Lady's-Slipper. Cypripedium pubescens