The Daily DuBrule
In the past two days I have encountered wild lady's slipper orchids on two occasions. The first was immediately after my sister arrived for a visit, down from northern Massachusetts. Look at this, she said, showing me her cell phone. Everyone is always showing me teeny tiny plant pictures their cell phones these days. This time, I was immediately able to identify a very large stand of these native orchids. They were growing in the woods around her local library, on conservation land.
In the afternoon, we went together to a gathering at a private home in Guilford. From the picnic area I could see a pink glowing flower in the tall grass. There was a perfect, gorgeous lady's slipper growing right next to our little party. Of course, we all had to kneel down and inspect it and I had to take pictures of this exotic, strange, wondrous flower.
Tales were thrown around about who has had lady's slippers in their yards or discovered them while hiking. The nice thing was that it appears this precious native wildflower is coming back in certain parts of our area. Many people are aware of how WRONG it is to try and dig them up. That doesn't work anyway, as they don't live if you dig and move them. There are nursery propagated plants that take a minimum of seven years to flower from seed and now there are tissue culture propagated plants as well.
Alan Armitage says it best in his book Native Plants: "Lady's slippers are now routinely propagated through tissue culture, but these plants are expensive and in limited supply. Even so, buying such plants is not difficult and highlights your intelligence; digging them from the wild shows you are dumber than a rock..."
Yup, I couldn't agree more. Let's hope that if you find lady's slippers you worship them and photograph them and don't tell anyone who isn't a highly evolved environmentalist where they are located. That way they can slowly multiply and grace our woodlands in the merry month of May for years to come.
|Lowbush blueberries surround these native orchids|