We love to hunt wildflowers in the Great Smoky Mountains national park. One of the most elusive is the Lady’s Slipper. I will never tell you where we found these, as folks tend to want to steal them, hoping they will grow in their garden. Well, frankly, that is against the law and most likely they will never grow at your house as they need very specific conditions to grow and then to bloom.
According to the U.S.D.A. Forest service “In order to survive and reproduce, pink lady’s slipper interacts with a fungus in the soil from the Rhizoctonia genus. Generally, orchid seeds do not have food supplies inside them like most other kinds of seeds. Pink lady’s slipper seeds require threads of the fungus to break open the seed and attach them to it. The fungus will pass on food and nutrients to the pink lady’s slipper seed. When the lady’s slipper plant is older and producing most of its own nutrients, the fungus will extract nutrients from the orchid roots. This mutually beneficial relationship between the orchid and the fungus is known as “symbiosis” and is typical of almost all orchid species.
“Pink lady’s slipper takes many years to go from seed to mature plants. Seed-bearing harvest of wild lady’s slipper root is not considered sustainable. Pink lady’s slippers can live to be twenty years old or more.”
So we go to the Smoky’s to relax.
And we hunt for these.
And even the ones that are wilting bless our hearts!
Then back to the river for more refreshment.
And maybe one more surprise !