Only a couple times in my life have I set my eyes on this native flower. When I do I sit down and stare at it for an extended time. Rare, rare and most rare. I mark the spot and return the next year to that area to fish in late spring. I hope to see it has endured the year to blossom and is alive as I am. Who created this marvelous plant? Why does it take fifteen years for its first flower? It will last almost a 100 years.
The Showy Lady's Slipper needs very wet soil and sun so it is found near rivers. It will not succumb to mans wants, that is to say, you can't transplant it. I have never told anyone of the several spots were I have located them. I want no part of its extinction...it's locations are safe with me. The flower is like an angel appearing to you, you just don't tell people about that. You probably will never see one but if you do, it is a personal gift, only to be shared with a close friend and in photographs. They once were common but numbers are decreasing due to human interruption.
It is Minnesota's state flower and along with Michigan it is illegal to pick. Minnesota has had great concern with people digging it or picking it to the point they are worried about its survival. Remember with today's computer phones your ability to photograph the flower should satisfy that desire to pick it.
The flowers are gone this time of year so I feel safe writing about them. One other note, they have an irritating affect on humans similar to poison ivy. True or not, I wish they had the irritating ability of the Rattle Snake, there would be more of them! The Showy Lady Slipper...love 'em and leave 'em!
Sweet Is The Lore That Nature Brings