Plant DetailShow Menu

Whippoorwill Shoe Cypripedium

Phonetic Spelling
sip-rih-PEE-dee-um
This plant has medium severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

There are numerous species in the Cypridedium genus, some temperate while others are tropical or subtropical.   Up to twelve of these species can be found in the US, many in coniferous forests, deciduous woodlands, bogs, and grasslands.  Eleven of those are within the National Forest System lands. Protected by law, these species continue to flourish.  

Flourishing in cool temperatures and moist soils, they will bloom in mid-spring.  The new shoots will emerge to form a grouping of green leaves.  

The majority of the species are considered terrestrial, a plant that grows in, on or from the soil.  Although Lady's Slipper is typically terrestrial, some varieties are epiphytic, growing on the surface of other plants or even rocks.

Size, color, growing conditions and bloom season and duration can differ greatly within the species.  Differing in so many ways, they all have the common slipper-shaped pouch.

The showy, colorful blooms are multicolored, with the labellum showing a contrasting color from the petals.

The common name Lady's Slipper is derived from its slipper-shaped lip that acts as a trap for insects.  The stamen is quite showy and attractive to insects who make their way to a rear exit, thereby transferring pollen to the stigma.  

Although they are very difficult to transplant from the wild, attempts to collect specimens continue, and have led to the drastic reduction in the population.   For your garden, hybrids can be easily grown, however, this plant has been called the slowest growing plant known to mankind.  Maturity and flower production may not occur for over 10 years.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Excess watering during their dormant period can lead to shoot rot.  Slugs are an occasional problem.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#poisonous#perennials#white flowers#pink flowers#slow growing#shade garden#NC native#deer browsing plant#frost tolerant#spring interest#wildflower garden#partial shade tolerant#dry soils intolerant#woodland garden#showy#deer#winter dormancy#protected species
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#poisonous#perennials#white flowers#pink flowers#slow growing#shade garden#NC native#deer browsing plant#frost tolerant#spring interest#wildflower garden#partial shade tolerant#dry soils intolerant#woodland garden#showy#deer#winter dormancy#protected species
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Cypripedium
    Family:
    Orchidaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Shade
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Northern Hemisphere to Central America
    Wildlife Value:
    Insects are attracted to the flowers and act as pollinators. Many species of bees frequent the blooms.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Colorful
    Easy to Grow
    Shade
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Poisonous
    Wildflower
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Fruit is a capsule with many minute seeds
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Pink
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Solitary
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Irregular
    Flower Petals:
    2-3 rays/petals
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    The flowers have a large, sac-like lower lip and other, narrow, spreading flower parts, yellow, pink, white. Each stem will hold 1 or 2 flowers, occasionally 3. A single leafy bract appears behind each flower.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    In addition to bearing basal leaves, three or more leaves are typically found along the stem. The light green leaves have parallel veins along the upper surface. The base of the leaf will clasp the stem.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Round
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    The stem is typically unbranched.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Naturalized Area
    Patio
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Native Garden
    Rock Garden
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Medium
    Poison Symptoms:
    Skin irritation minor, or lasting only for a few minutes
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Unidentified
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Leaves