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A Rare "Queen"
Lens: FA 50 Macro Camera: K20D Photo Location: Tennessee 
Posted By: mole, 06-03-2013, 08:33 PM

Was out twice recently searching for one of our state's rarest and showiest orchids. The latin name is Cypripedium reginae, loosely translated, "Queen of the Lady's Slippers." Usually called Showy Lady's Slipper, it's endangered here in Tennessee (and in much of its range).

First location yielded suitable habitat, but no sign of the plants. Second location gave better results.








You can see why this native orchid is also often called "Pink and White Lady's Slipper!" Color saturation varies, both from plant to plant and from year to year...









Was fortunate to have good light on the visit to this population, and also plenty of moisture (just after a rain, still nice and cloudy).

In fact, this queenly orchid only thrives where it's quite soggy, only in very specific soil conditions, and only under certain tree species. It is so rare because it is so "picky" about habitat, and because it is very slow to spread.







Showy Lady's Slipper is noticeably taller than the more common Pink species, and also much more likely to have several blooms per plant.







This population is located on protected land, so hopefully will thrive for years to come!

Hope you enjoyed these views of our "queen," and that you will share your comments and critique!




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06-03-2013, 08:36 PM   #2
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Wonderful. Thanks for sharing these great shots.
06-03-2013, 08:48 PM   #3
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Very well executed shots.
06-04-2013, 01:20 AM   #4
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Wonderfully detailed shots of this flower. I hope it is well protected in the areas where it still survives.

06-04-2013, 01:40 AM   #5
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Thank you for showing us these beauties. I appreciate your educational text, it gives the pictures more meaning. It could have been nice to include some pictures of the surrounding habitat, the trees etc that you described.
Cheers.
06-04-2013, 06:25 AM   #6
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Wonderful series very colorful.
06-04-2013, 07:17 AM   #7
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One of our most beautiful native orchids! Gorgeous images, thank you!

06-04-2013, 07:48 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by First Poster Quote
A Rare "Queen"
Gorgeous captures of gorgeous orchid, well done.
06-04-2013, 08:37 AM   #9
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superb images of a lovely plant.
cheers
06-04-2013, 09:36 AM   #10
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Really, really nice shots ... thanks, J
06-04-2013, 09:45 AM   #11
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Congrats on finding them, TFS.
06-04-2013, 12:14 PM   #12
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Original Poster
Tim - Glad you enjoyed these!

Eaglem - Thanks for your kind words!

Bruce - Thanks for your concern. To answer your question - yes, this population is in a very well-protected location.

Johan - Glad you enjoyed the words & photos. I intentionally avoided sharing too much habitat information or photos of the location. Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous people who seek out rare plants like these to try to dig and re-sell them. So the less specific information shared about their habitat needs or location, the better for long-term protection.

Dave - They sure are colorful! Not every rare plant is this beautiful... Maybe you could call it a "poster child" for resource protection.

Julie - And thank you for taking time to comment!

Kerrowdown - Thanks so much!

Cee Cee - Indeed a lovely plant - and great fun getting thoroughly soaked (rain & mud) to get there.

Jean - Thank you!

Larry - It was indeed a nice surprise to find such a thriving population. Will be re-checking the other location - it is so steep and remote that there's a good chance I missed them there last time...
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