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Pink Lady Slippers on the trail

While hiking along a trail one summer, we stumbled upon the most beautiful patch of Pink Lady Slipper wildflowers.  The Pink Lady’s Slipper is an orchid that grows wild in cool, bog-like forests and is named because its enormous pink flower that somewhat resembles a moccasin or a slipper. Its lone flower hunches timidly against the light, uncurling from between two thick green and glossy leaves.

Finding one is special, as lady’s slipper grow slowly, taking up to 16 years to produce the first flowers! Blooming in late June or early July, the plants may live, on average, about 50 years!

Among several Native American tribes there are romantic tales revolving around the Pink Lady Slipper. The most well known originate with the Ojibwe version of the story, in which a young girl embarks on a snow bound, winter journey for desperately needed medicine for her family and tribe. On the journey she loses her moccasins, but continues on, bloodying her feet, leaving a trail behind her. In the spring the bloody footprints are replaced by bright pink lady slipper orchids and all return to health.

So if you're able to get out in June and July, take a quiet hike in the woods and be sure to keep an eye out for this beautiful flower. Some years there are few flowers; but with any luck conditions will line and the woods will be full of blooms.

Pink Lady Slipper in Michigan's Upper Peninsula

Pink Lady Slipper wildflower in Michigan's Upper Peninsula