Cypripedium acaule Aiton
Moccasin Flower, Pink Lady's Slipper
Orchidaceae (Orchid Family)
Synonym(s): Fissipes acaulis
USDA Symbol: cyac3
A leafless stalk bears 1 flower (rarely 2) with a distinctive pink, inflated, slipper-like lip petal, veined with red and with a fissure down the front.
This is one of the largest native Orchids and is found both in low, sandy woods and in higher, rocky woods of mountains. At times several hundred of these striking flowers can be counted within a small area. Nevertheless, like other woodland wildflowers it should not be picked. These Orchids propagate poorly and are very difficult to grow in wildflower gardens. The genus name derives from the Latin for "Venus' slipper."
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 2 feet tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Pink , Green , Purple , Brown
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul
DistributionUSA: AL , CT , DC , DE , GA , IL , IN , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , SC , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: NB , NL , NS , ON , PE , SK
Native Distribution: Saskatchewan to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia; south to South Carolina and Georgia; west to Alabama and Tennessee; north to Minnesota.
Native Habitat: Dry forests, especially pine woods; often in humus mats covering rock outcrops; occasionally in moist woods.
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil Description: Sandy
BenefitUse Medicinal: Sedative and nerve medicine, cure for insomnia, teaspoon of powdered root in sugar-water. (Weiner)
Warning: The plants of the genus Cypripedium have glandular hairs on the leaves and stems that can cause a rash, similar to poison ivy rash, upon contact. POISONOUS PARTS: Glandular, irritating hairs on leaves. Symptoms include skin irritation after contact. Toxic Principle: Unidentified.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
BibliographyBibref 1207 - Earth Medicine, Earth Food (1990) Michael A. Weiner
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
From the ArchiveWildflower Newsletter 1990 VOL. 7, NO.4 - Research Update, Wild-Collecting Endangers Natives, Director's Report, Maryland ...
Wildflower Newsletter 1992 VOL. 9, NO.6 - Architectural Plans for new Facility Taking Shape, Native Plants Provide Local C...
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Cypripedium acaule in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Cypripedium acaule in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Cypripedium acaule
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-04-24
Research By: TWC Staff