(Cypripedium reginae; C. spectabile of Gray) Orchid family

Flowers - Usually solitary, at summit of stem, white, or the

inflated white lip painted with purplish pink and white stripes;

sepals rounded oval, spreading, white, not longer than the lip;

petals narrower, white; the broad sac-shaped pouch open in front,

1 in. long or over. Stem: Stout, leafy, 1 to 2 ft. high. Leaves:

3 to 8 in. long, downy, elliptic, pointed, many ribbed.

Preferred Habitat - Peat-bogs; rich, low, wet woods.

Flowering Season - June-September.

Distribution - Nova Scotia to Georgia, westward to the

Mississippi. Chiefly North.

Quite different from the showy orchis, is this far more chaste

showy lady's slipper which Dr. Gray has called "the most

beautiful of the genus." Because the plants live in inaccessible

swampy places, where only the most zealous flower lover

penetrates, they have a reputation for rarity at which one who

knows a dozen places to find colonies of the stately exquisites

during a morning's walk, must smile with superiority. Wine

appears to overflow the large white cup and trickle down its

sides. Sometimes unstained, pure white chalices are found. C.

album is the name by which the plant is known in England. See

note after Common Daisy.


(Habenaria orbiculata) Orchid family

Flowers - Greenish white, in a loosely set spike; the upper sepal

short, rounded; side ones spreading; petals smaller, arching; the

lip long, narrow, drooping, white, prolonged into a spur often 1

1/2 in. long, curved and enlarged at base; anther sacs prominent,

converging. Scape: 1 to 2 ft. high. Leaves: 2, spreading flat on

ground, glossy above, silvery underneath, parallel-veined,

slightly longer than wide, very large, from 4 to 7 in. across.

Preferred Habitat - Rich, moist woods in mountainous regions,

especially near evergreens.

Flowering Season - July-August.

Distribution - From British Columbia to the Atlantic; eastern

half of the United States southward to the Carolinas.

Wonderfully interesting structure and the comparative rarity of

this orchid, rather than superficial beauty, are responsible for

the thrill of pleasure one experiences at the sight of the spike

of unpretentious flowers. Two great leaves, sometimes as large as

dinner plates, attract the eye to where they glisten on the

ground. The spur of the blossom, the nectary, "implies a welcome

to a tongue two inches long, and will reward none other," says

William Hamilton Gibson. "This clearly shuts out the bees,

butterflies, and smaller moths. What insect, then, is here

implied? The sphinx moth, one of the lesser of the group. A

larger individual might sip the nectar, it is true, but its

longer tongue would reach the base of the tube without effecting

the slightest contact with the pollen, which is, of course, the

desideratum." How the moth, in sipping the nectar, thrusts his

head against the sticky buttons to which the pollen messes are

attached, and, in trying to release himself, loosens them; how he

flies off with these little clubs sticking to his eyes; how they

automatically adjust themselves to the attitude where they will

come in contact with the stigma of the next flower visited, and

so cross-fertilize it, has been told in the account of the great

purple-fringed orchis of similar construction. To that species

the interested reader is, therefore, referred; or, better still,

to the luminous description by Dr. Asa Gray.

SHOOTING STAR AMERICAN COWSLIP PRIDE OF OHIO SKUNK OR SWAMP CABBAGE facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail