Pink Lady Slipper

May 13, 2012 |

Photo by Zack Swick.

Possibly the most prized of all West Virginia wildflowers, the Pink Lady’s Slipper is an orchid that grows wild in cool, bog-like forests throughout the state. This wild orchid is named because its enormous pink flower somewhat resembles a moccasin or a slipper. Its solitary flower hunches timidly against the light, uncurling from between two thick green and glossy leaves.

These orchids have been thoughtlessly picked from the forests, so finding one is special, and known locally as one of the rare treats found in mid spring. Nature enthusiasts far and wide travel to West Virginia for sights like these, so if you find one, please, leave the Lady Slippers be.

They bloom in early May-June, and are often found along trails of the Monongahela Forest or lesser traveled trails in State Parks. Some spots near US 219 where they have been spotted are: most trails off the Highland Scenic Highway, Cranberry Glades Botanical Area, and Droop Mountain State Park along the Cranberry Bogs Trail. Look for them beneath the lush canopies of Rhododendron, near bogs and streams, and basking in the dim light beneath the trees.

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