Canada Has Lots of Lady Slippers

The Ram’s Head Lady Slipper is very rare. Typically, this small orchid species grows in isolated patches with only a few dozen plants. Cypripedium arietinum is native to alvar forests in the northeastern USA, the Great Lakes region, and from Nova Scotia to Saskatchewan. Recently, an Ontario quarry, wanting to expand, hired field ecologist Dan Brunton for an environmental study of the area. To everybody’s astonishment, he discovered a field with hundreds of thousands of Ram’s Head Lady Slippers. And he now estimates that there could be a half million plants in the area! Fortunately, the quarry owners have agreed to set aside 64 acres (26 hectares) of land to protect these and other rare species. That should help Canada continue to have lots of Lady Slippers.

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