Plant species

Cypripedium calceolus

See on the map Listen to audio
Cypripedium calceolus (L.)
Lady’s - slipper
meadows, pastures, forest clearings, bushes
May - July
Mountain, Subalpine

Easily recognisable thanks to its beautiful flowers, this plant is becoming increasingly rare and localized due to indiscriminate picking and is therefore, now protected by international laws and conventions. It has erect, finely pubescent stems and ovate-lanceolate leaves with a sharp apex and evident veins. The unmistakeable flowers have purplish-brown tepals and sepals that are elongated and patent; the upper one is oval and arched forward. The yellow labellum, which is urceolate and swollen, similar to a slipper, is often a trap for pollinating insects as they can only get out from the basal openings, obliged to crawl against the reproductive organs, thus coating themselves in the oily pollen. Like all orchids, this too is able to reproduce new individuals that are genetically identical to the mother plant thanks to vegetative multiplication; in other words, division of the plant’s underground organs (rhizomes). What is much more “complicated” is reproduction through the germination of its tiny seeds which only takes place thanks to the presence of special micro-fungi that colonise the seeds and provide them with nutrients for germination (mycorrhizal symbiosis).

Accessible version Accessibility self assessment Sitemap