CYPRIPEDIUM is the Greek name for Venus's slipper, and it has been given to this remarkable family, which forms the most showy and loveliest group of our native Orchids. How cleverly they represent Nature's floral tribute to the memory of Hiawatha's clan - the American Indian! They are easily identified by the large, inflated, pouch-shaped lip, the colour of which also indicates the species. The exquisite Moccasin Flower is the largest flowered of them all. It grows from six to twelve inches high, in deep, sandy, or rocky woods during May and June. It is the state flower of Minnesota. Two large, thick, pointed oval, slightly hairy and many ribbed leaves, clasping at the base, spring from a tufted, thick-fibred root. A long, slender flower stem rises from between the leaves and bears a small, green leaflet near its curved top. The flower, with its lip curiously developed into a large, hollow pouch, hangs from the top of the stem like a shepherd's crook. This pouch, which suggests somewhat the shape of a peanut, is slit at the top and its edges are folded inward. Its prevailing colour is pink, or occasionally white, with a fine network of delicate purple veinings. The upper portion of its interior surface is covered with long white hairs, The spreading, lance-shaped sepals are greenish purple. The upper one is single, and the two lower ones are united. The three spreading and curving petals are coloured like the sepals, but are narrower and longer. The open end of the pouch is nearly closed with a singular broad, scoop-shaped and sterile anther, which shields the fertile anthers and stigma beneath. This handsome, solitary flower possesses a gorgeous tropical air, and although it is the more common and familiar of its kind, it is becoming more difficult to find each year owing to ruthless gathering. It is found from Newfoundland to Manitoba, and south through Minnesota to Tennessee and North Carolina.
MOCCASIN FLOWER. PINK LADY's SLIPPER. Cypripedium acaule.