Yellow Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium pubescens) is a stunning and rare member of the orchid family. This is an April blooming Smoky Mtn wildflower. Because of its scarcity and beauty, the Yellow Lady’s Slipper is endangered by poaching. For this reason, location information is passed quietly among dedicated wildflower enthusiasts.
There are 47 varieties of the Cypripedium orchid, some growing as far north as Alaska. Other common names for the genus include Moccasin Flower and Venus’ shoes. Unfortunately, most of these wild orchids have been driven close to extinction by collectors. Ironically, the plant rarely survives the attempt to transplant.
There are two Smoky Mtn varieties of Lady’s Slippers: the Yellow one shown here, and the Pink Lady’s Slipper. Both are rare and a real treat to find in the woods.
When you’re in the Gatlinburg area, please consider a stop at the William Britten Gallery on Glades Rd. You just might find a Smokies memory to take back home with you! And if you’re a Facebook user as well as a wildflower enthusiast, please join our Smoky Mountains Wildflower Community on Facebook.