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Large, pink pouch-shaped orchid with a central cleft on a long stalk and darker pink venation. Two pleated leaves at ground level. A member of the Orchidaceae family, Cypripedium acaule has a symbiotic relationship with Rhizoctonia fungi in which their seeds depend on mycelia to break them open and provide them with nutrients necessary for germination. In return, the mature lady slipper's roots will provide nutrients for the fungi. The process of growth (from seed to mature plant) can take several years. Furthermore, Cypripedium acaule is known to have low reproductive rates and exhibits erratic flowering. It is dependent on bees for pollination, and interestingly enough, acts as a bee lure. Once a bee finds its way into the attractive flower "pouch," its only route of escape is via exit opening below pollen masses. This deceptive mechanism ensures that any pollen will be deposited before the bee flies away.
Growing in a moist mixed hardwood/pine forest in Northern Georgia. Fort Mountain State Park.
It is considered S4 (Apparently Secure) in Georgia, however, it is an uncommon sighting in the area. It has been placed under "Special Concern" under the Native Plant Protection Act in some states.
Spotted on May 1, 2009
Submitted on Dec 27, 2017
Thank you, Zlatan! I wish I had been a better observer back then!
beautiful find, great notes.
This was a photo from many years ago. They are a very rare find in this area, so I was delighted. I hope to see one again soon!
Lovely! I was shocked to stumble upon dozens of them in a forest this past summer. I had never seen so many <3