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

Cypripedium passerinum Richardson
sparrow's-egg lady's-slipper (northern lady's-slipper)
Orchidaceae (Orchid family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Allan Carson  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #11706)

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Distribution of Cypripedium passerinum
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from slender rhizomes, with coarse, fibrous roots; stems 10-35 cm tall, long-soft-hairy, leafy.
Stem leaves 3 to 5, broadly lanceolate to elliptic, 5-16 cm long, sticky-hairy, ribbed, the base sheathing.
Inflorescence of 1 to 3 small, terminal flowers; lateral sepals green, 1-1.5 cm long, free almost to base; lateral petals white, broadly linear to oblong, about length of lip; lip balloon-like, egg-shaped, 1.5-2 cm long, white, faintly purple-spotted on inside.
Capsules, erect, ellipsoid, 2-3 cm long, hairy.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist forests, swamps, river terraces, edges of lakes and streams, and talus slopes in the montane and subalpine zones; infrequent in N and E BC, rare in SC BC; N to AK, YT and NT, E to PQ and S to MT.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Cypripedium passerinum

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) 690 942 1251
Slope Gradient (%) 0 0 3
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 0 180
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
3 5 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: BWBS(5), ICH(1), IDF(1), MS(1), SWB(1)


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 passerinum var. minganense Victorin
Cypripedium passerinum var. passerinum

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References