late June to early July
Due to the rarity of this wildflower, it is illegal to pick, uproot or unearth the flowers according to a state law enacted in 1925.
The pink and white lady slipper can live longer than the average human life span – some species may grow be 100 years old!
Found living in open fens, bogs, swamps, and damp woods where there is an abundance of natural light, the showy Lady’s-Slipper is one of 43 orchid species that grow in Minnesota. The feminine-looking orchid grows slowly, taking up to 16 years to produce the first flowers! Blooming in late June or early July, the plants may live, on average, about 50 years and can grow to be over four feet tall.
The Pink and White Lady’s Slipper is a brightly colored orchid with one or sometimes two blossoms on a single stem. White petals sit atop a white pouch (slipper) which is streaked with pink, making it truly unique. Hairy oval leaves clasp the stem. These beauties can actually be found with gorgeous tones of pink, red, white and even green.
A century ago, the ostentatious Pink and White Lady’s Slipper was a favorite adornment in rural church altars during the summer. Since 1925, this rare wildflower has been protected by Minnesota state law. In fact, it’s illegal to pick, uproot or unearth the flowers.
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Top image courtesy of Scott Costello.