E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens Salisb. (Willd.) Knight
yellow lady's slipper (greater yellow lady's slipper)
Orchidaceae (Orchid family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Neil L. Jennings  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #9455)

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Distribution of Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from slender rhizomes, with coarse, fibrous roots; stems 10-50 cm tall, glandular-hairy, leafy.
Stem leaves 3 to 5, lanceolate to elliptic, 5-15 cm long, 3.5-6 cm wide, ribbed, the base sheathing.
Inflorescence usually of a single, showy flower; sepals greenish-yellow to purplish or purple-veined, 3-5 cm long, 1-2 cm wide, upper sepal broadly lanceolate, the lower sepals united, pendant behind lip; lateral petals narrower than but otherwise similar to upper sepal, sometimes twisted, 3.5-5 cm long; lip balloon-like, generally egg-shaped, 2-3.5 cm long, yellow, often purple-spotted on inside especially near mouth, mouth puckered, margin in-rolled.
Capsules, erect, ellipsoid, ribbed, glandular-hairy.
C. x columbianum Sheviak, a hybrid of C. montanum and C. parviflorum var. pubescens, is known from BC and the adjacent NW U.S.A. (see notes under C. montanum). Two varieties of C. parviflorum occur in BC var. makasin and var. pubescens. Some authors (e.g., Cribb 1997) include var. makasin within var. parviflorum, a variety not found in BC

1. Outer surface of sheathing bract sparsely hairy to smooth, when young; intense sweet scent................. var. makasin (Farwell) Sheviak

1. Sheathing bract densely hairy when young; moderately scented................. var. pubescens (Willd.) Knight

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist to mesic streambanks, river terraces, thickets, and mossy bogs and swamps in the steppe and montane zones; infrequent E of the Coast-Cascade Mountains; var. makasin - N to YT and NT, E to NF and S to ME, MA, PA, IN, IL, IA, ND, CO and CA; var. pubescens - N to AK and YT, E to NF and S to ME, MA, PA, GA, AL, MS, KS, NM, AZ and WA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Additional Notes

This is a beautiful native hardy lady's slipper orchid with a golden yellow pouch and twisted purple to burgundy petals. The flowers are faintly scented (fruity to vanilla). A very choice plant for the partial shade of a woodland garden in a well-drained humus-rich soil. Once considered to be the circumboreal C. calceolus (which occurs in Europe and Asia), now our North American plants are considered to be their own closely related species, C. parviflorum. Large plants, great value.

Note Author: Gary Lewis, Phoenix Perennials


Ecological Framework for Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 500 605 710
Slope Gradient (%) 0 0 0
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
7 7 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: ICH(2)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Cypripedium calceolus subsp. parviflorum
Cypripedium calceolus var. planipetalum (Fern.) Victorin & Rouss.
Cypripedium calceolus var. pubescens (Willd.) Correll
Cypripedium furcatum Raf.
Cypripedium planipetalum (Fernald) Morris & Eames
Cypripedium pubescens Willd.
Cypripedium pubescens var. pubescens Willd.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References