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Mountain lady's slipper is a wild orchid species found in western North America where it has been reported in the United States from Alaska, California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming, and in Canada from British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan (USDA 2011). It is found throughout British Columbia (rare or infrequent, rare in northern BC), where it occurs in moist to dry open forests in the steppe, montane and subalpine zones from 0 to 2400 m (Flora North America 2011). It may be found in a range of conditions, from full shade to almost full sun (Luer 1975) This is a rhizomatous species with four to six pubescent leaves and one to three flowers at the end of each stem. Sepals and petals are green to brown, petals are twisted, lip is white, egg-shaped and streaked with purple. Flowering occurs from February to September over its range. Hybrids with Cypripedium parviflorum have been reported.
General: Perennial herb from stout rhizomes, with coarse, fibrous roots; stems 25-70 cm tall, glandular-hairy, leafy.
Leaves: Stem leaves 4 to 6, egg-shaped to elliptic-lanceolate, 5-16 cm long, 2.5-8 cm wide, ribbed, the base sheathing.
Flowers: Inflorescence of 1 to 3 showy flowers; sepals brownish-purple to dark green with purple splotches, lanceolate, twisted, 3-6 cm long, 1-2 cm wide, the lower sepals united, pendant behind lip; petals similar to sepals; lip egg-shaped, 2-3 cm long, 1.5 cm wide and deep, white with purple veins.
Notes: 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. The type specimen for the hybrid was collected in BC (Sheviak 1992). The hybrids are either intermediate between the two species or have a mix of characteristics of each.
Moist to dry open forests in the steppe, montane and subalpine zones; rare on N Vancouver Island, infrequent in and E of the Coast-Cascade Mountains, rare northward; N to AK, E to SK and S to WY, ID and CA.
Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2020. E-Flora BC:
Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia [eflora.bc.ca]. Lab for
Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British
Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed:
2020-07-09 7:48:30 PM
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