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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Sunday - May 24, 2009

From: Machias, ME
Region: Northeast
Topic: Propagation
Title: Pink lady slipper orchids in Maine
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hi, I have moved to Maine from Virginia--it's a new world of plants!!Exciting!! I have found 2 pink lady slippers on our property. What can I do to encourage them to multiply? I know some wild flower don't like to be fertilized. Thanks for your help

ANSWER:

There were 8 members of the genus Cypripedium in our Native Plant Database, 3 that are native to Maine, but only one, Cypripedium reginae (showy lady's slipper), that seemed to have the color to be called a pink lady's slipper. However, we found information on a plant, Cypripedium acaule, (website from the Orchid Board) that looks more like what you are talking about. Just because it is not in our Native Plant Database doesn't mean it's not native, we believe it is. It just means we don't have very many orchids in our database.The gist of the information we found advised leaving the orchid alone, that it could rarely be transplanted, and tended to die in gardens. It would appear it only flourishes in a specific habitat. Be happy you have it and don't advertise; most of the wild orchids are endangered because of over-picking and attempts to move them from their habitat to sell them.  Cypripedium acaule USDA Plant Profile of Maine shows it growing all over the state.

More pictures of Cypripedium acaule

Other lady's slippers native to Maine: from our Native Plant Database

Cypripedium arietinum (ram's head lady's slipper)

Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens (greater yellow lady's slipper)

Cypripedium reginae (showy lady's slipper)


Cypripedium arietinum

Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens

Cypripedium reginae

 

 

 

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