Sparrow's-egg Orchid - Photos Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Sparrow's-egg Orchid - Photos Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Sparrow's-egg Orchid - Photos Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Sparrow's-egg Orchid - Photos Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image 
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White Flowers ( Orchids )
Orchid Family (Orchidaceae)

Sparrow's-egg Orchid
Cypripedium passerinum

Season: June-July
Habitat:
 Western Slope Montane, and Eastern Slope Montane North of Sheep River
Height:
 Up to 30 cm

Description: This delicate ladyslipper is a pleasant find. Often occurring in moist areas along trails, it has 4 or 5 lily-like leaves tightly clasping the stem and slowly spreading outward. The white flower head looks like a white egg bursting out of a green case.

Flower: The flower has a green sepal rising above, almost hiding the white pouch. There are two white lateral wings and a white pouch with purple spots inside. The flower head is approximately 1 cm long.

Leaf: The alternate leaves are broadly lanceolate and up to 15 cm long. They sheath the stem at their base, are covered in sticky hairs and display prominent ribs.

Fruit/Seed: Erect, hairy, ellipsoid capsule.

Similar Species: Mountain lady's-slipper (C. montanum) also has a white pouch, but the sepals are brown. The yellow lady's-slipper (C. parviflorum) has a yellow pouch.

Range: Throughout British Columbia east of the Coast/Cascade Mountains, throughout Alberta and east to Newfoundland. The southern range extends to California, Colorado and east to Pennsylvania and Indiana.

Notes: The Genus name Cypripedium can be broken into two portions. "Cypri" comes from the Greek term "Kypris", which was the Greek name for the Goddess Venus. The second portion "pedium" means "foot of". Literally, it translates to "foot of Venus". which refers to the the slipper-like shape of the flower. The species name passerinum comes from the Latin "passer" meaning sparrow-like.

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All Material Ward Cameron 2005

 

 

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