Friday, May 19, 2017

Yellow Lady-Slipper! - 19 May 2017

While Asia and I were walking along the back of the yard (a mere 20 feet from the house) I spotted a tiny yellow plant next door in Judy Heck and Larry Scheffer's yard*. Yellow Lady-Slipper (Cypripedium parviflorum var. makasin)!

I had seen one of these tiny orchids last year at this time, and started looking to see if one would pop up in our yard, but to no avail. This year I found 4 separate plants, including a clump of 3. This single plant is literally at the edge of the mulch line, so I able to safely lie down on the ground to photograph it. This tiny plant is only about 4" tall with a flower (lip) that is about the size of a fingernail.

Donald Drife (aka. Michigan Nature Guy) has a nice writeup on Michigan's Lady-Slippers. Its worth a read. He describes the varieties that can be found, and where to look for them in Michigan. The plants are found all over the state w/ the var. makasin (also called Smaller Yellow Lady-Slipper) mainly found in the southern lower peninsula. With the property here at Brownton Abbey part of the historic Sibley Prairie this area of Brownstown is ripe w/ rare plants not found anywhere else in the State of Michigan!

So, congratulations Judy and Larry.  Had the one plant I found been a couple more feet to the left I'd be congratulating myself!    

* - Technically, the property belongs to Gene and Cindy Quinlan a few doors down from us, so the orchids belong to them. Congratulations Gene and Cindy!

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