by Anura Guruge
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Pictures by Anura Guruge.
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It is our Official Wildflower — the Pink Lady’s Slipper.
Our Official Flower is the Purple Lilac.
You got to keep these straight. You can find all the NH ‘Officials’ here on my ‘NH Facts‘.
2014 appears to be a good year for the Pink Lady’s Slipper judging from this display. It is on the side of a dirt road. On a bank, with plenty of shade. Deanna counted 18.
We usually get at least 7 or 8 in the yard close to the house. We haven’t seen any in the yard this year but I haven’t gone looking.
We like to think of the Pink Lady’s Slipper as being PROTECTED. I think that is the best and easiest for all. In reality it isn’t ‘totally’ protected per se, but such treat them as if they were. They are not amenable to transplantation and die very quickly if picked. So BEST to just leave them where they are and admire them from a distance.
They are a type of orchid — though coming from Sri Lanka (née Ceylon) I am used to more elaborate ones. As an orchid it will not have a (strong) smell. Instead, like (nearly) all orchids, it uses its color and suggestive shape to attract insects for pollination. So, “Lady’s Slipper” is an euphemistic ‘Victorian’ term. We all know (or I hope we all know) what it is meant to look like — and many other orchids do the same. The proper, polite, Victorian term would be pudendum, but I guess “Pink’s Lady’s Pudendum” though it sure has a ring to it would not really sound right.
There are 4 other, much rarer Lady’s Slippers in N.H.: Ram’s Head Lady’s Slipper (C. arietinum), Small Yellow Lady’s Slipper (C. parviflorum), Large Yellow Lady’s Slipper (C. pubescens) & Showy Lady’s Slipper (C. reginae).
Happy Summer 2014 in New Hampshire — Lakes Region.