Photo credit, C Gracie.
|Lady-slipper orchids are perhaps the best known and most loved of all of our native orchids.
Their large, slipper-shaped flowers are curious in shape and devious in the manner in which they manage to get pollinated. Bumblebees must force their way into the slit that bisects the pouch of the flower. Once inside, the slip closes and they are trapped, buzzing around until they see the light from the two small openings at the top of the flower. They must exit via one of these openings, and in doing so, brush against the female stigma, where pollen from a previously visited flower is scraped off and pick up additional pollen from the large anthers that they will transport on to a subsequent flower.
Read more in Spring Wildflowers of the Northeast