Minnesota State Flower, The Showy Lady's Slipper
Minnesota's State Flower, the Showy Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium reginae).
Orchids are not just for the tropics--this one thrives where temperatures dip to -25° F most winters!
This photo was taken in late June, 2006 in a roadside ditch near Cohasset, Minnesota. The Flickr map feature pinpoints the location.
The Showy Lady's Slipper is relatively rare. Most Minnesotans have never seen their state flower but in photos. It grows in the spruce and tamarack bogs, swamps, wet meadows, wet prairies, and cool, damp woods that are most common in the northeastern and north central parts of the state, and northward into Manitoba and other parts of Canada. It grows only under a narrow range of moisture and sunlight conditions. It may take more than a decade for a Lady's Slipper plant to first bloom, and it will continue to bloom annually for nearly a century if not disturbed.
Any attempt to dig up or even cut a flower from a Lady's Slipper may cause the entire plant to die. For this reason, the plant is protected both by law and by nature; it is not only a crime to transplant, cut, or otherwise disturb it, but it is also inadvisable to even touch it, since the little hairs you see on the leaves are coated with a chemical similar to that found on poison ivy.