I noticed this flower a few years ago in the woods by my parents house. Have you ever seen one before? I look out for it now and have’t seen it in a couple years. I found out that it’s a type of orchid, native to the East Coast and Midwest US, and are actually pretty rare. Then just yesterday I saw a bunch of them in a neighbor’s yard! I went back today and the woman happened to be outside. She told me her mother transplanted them years ago and they migrated to one area of her yard near a big stump. They are so strange looking, don’t you think?!
Interesting facts about the Pink Lady Slipper…
- The flower is pouch shaped and has a trap door in the front. It attracts bumblebees who enter and then must pass by the stigma where they deposit any pollen they may be carrying. Then they pick up more pollen on there way out from a pollen pad near the exit.
- It also goes by Moccasin Flower, Venus’ slipper, Whippoorwill shoes, and Noah’s ark.
- Their stems are covered with hairs that are coated with poison to protect it from being eaten.
- It has a symbiotic relationship with a certain type of fungus. The fungus gets nutrients from the Pink Lady Slipper’s roots and in turn it provides the flower’s microscopic seeds with food.
- In the 1800 and 1900 the roots of the Pink Lady Slipper was used medicinally for tooth pain, muscles spasms, and nervousness.
- They grow very slow and take years to produce a flower; one plant can live over 20 years and patches of them for 100.
* * *
Learning about the Pink Lady Slipper has made me interested in learning more about orchids. Here’s one book that looks interesting!
The orchid is used for everything from medicine for elephants to an aphrodisiac ice cream. A Malaysian species can grow to weigh half a ton while a South American species fires miniature pollen darts at nectar-sucking bees. But the orchid is also the center of an illicit international business: one grower in Santa Barbara tends his plants while toting an Uzi, and a former collector has been in hiding for seven years after serving a jail sentence for smuggling thirty dollars worth of orchids into Britain. Deftly written and captivatingly researched, Orchid Fever is an endlessly enchanting and entertaining tour of an exotic world.
* * *
Read about symbiosis between ANIMALS in this book. It is filled with really unusual relationships that will make you say, “huh?!” and Steve Jenkins illustrations are perfectly descriptive in there detail and texture.
How to Clean a Hippopotamus, a book about animal symbiosis, offers readers a close-up, step-by-step view of nature’s fascinating partnerships. Find out why a mongoose comes running when a warthog lies down, how a crab and an iguana help each other out, why ravens follow wolves, and more. Witness the ingenious lifestyles of some of the world’s most unusual animal partners in this book of curious biology, a symbiotic collaboration by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page (Amazon Description).