Calypso Orchid

photo by Andrew McKinlay CC BY-NC

Fairy Slipper, Venus Slipper

If you're hiking through a pine forest in the Canadian Rockies at higher elevations from May to July, you may see a Calypso Orchid. The single, showy flower on a long purple stem (4-8 in) can also be found in damp forests or bogs of eastern North America.

The Calypso Orchid does not grow well if disturbed and has been reduced to small colonies in remote locations.

The purple petals and sepals spread out above a slipper-shaped pouch that is white with purple streaks and a yellow beard decorated with purple dots. The flower has a pleasant, vanilla-like perfume. A single, large, dark-green leaf appears in autumn at the base of the plant.

Did you know? North America has about 250 native orchids, but many of them are rare or endangered. The Calypso Orchid is one of the most beautiful.

See Also: Yellow Lady's Slipper