Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Slipper Orchids

The slipper orchids are my husband’s favorite flowers. He likes the pink and the yellow lady’s slipper, so I thought I would share some information about them. We saw them in April in the Smoky Mountains National Park and in May here in the upstate. They grow in acidic soil, so we usually see them where we find pine trees. I don’t think it is easy to grow in my own yard because there is some relationship between the soil and a fungus that is in the soil to help it grow. When transplanted into a person’s garden, it usually isn’t very successfully transplanted. I wish people would just leave them in the forest so other people could enjoy them instead of digging them up and trying to bring them home.

I think it is important to teach students some of the wildflowers that they might come across in nature and also how important it is to leave them for others to enjoy.

The Pink Lady's Slipper’s Latin name is Cypripedium acaule.  The pink flower is about 3 inches long. It has 2 opposite basal leaves and a large flower at the end of a stalk. It grows about 6 to 15 inches tall.

The Yellow Lady’s Slipper’s Latin name is Cypripedium parviflorum. It has a large yellow flower which sometimes has reddish spots on the interior. It can grow up to 2 feet tall.

Lady slippers are perennials.

The carpenter bee is one of the pollinators because it fits into the small exit hole.

Vocabulary: perennial, basal, anther, pistil, interior, pollinator

Topics to teach: pollination, wildflowers, soil pH, carpenter bees, pine forests.

What wildflowers do you think would interest students? Please share.

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