Showy Lady's Slipper - Cypripedium reginae

These rare beauties were found in a white cedar bog between June the 15th and June 30th. A shade-loving member of the orchid family, this flower is the provincial flower of Prince Edward Island.
I'm not entirely convinced that this is a rare flower. The habitat which it prefers is simply not accessible to many people. It prefers white cedar bogs and it flowers during the late spring when mosquito populations are at their peak. The only sane way to actually scout out this flower is to wear a bug jacket, a mosquito net over your head and latex gloves on your hands. I have never been bitten when I dress this way. I have, however, been accompanied by thousands of thirsty little mosquitoes as I look for this orchid. And that pretty well explains why most people have never seen a Showy Lady's Slipper, but it's worth the effort.
Here's what they look like during the first days of June before flowering.

Where Can You See These Orchids?

Look no further than the Purdon Conservation Area which is north of Perth off highway 511.
Stay at the Purdon Cottages. The owners are grandchildren of Joe Purdon.

Purdon Conservation Area is a unique wetland famous for its exceptionally large native colony of Showy Lady's Slipper Orchids. Each year between mid-June and early July 16,000 orchids burst into bloom. It is extremely rare to find a colony of this size and Purdon is the largest in Canada.

The conservation area consists of a 400 metre wooden boardwalk through the heart of the colony which allows visitors a close-up view of the delicate pink and white orchids. The colony exists today thanks to the care and cultivation given by Mr. Joe Purdon. The wetland was originally part of Mr. Purdon's farm and he began to manage the few dozen plants he discovered growing there in the late 1930s. Mississippi Valley Conservation acquired the site in 1984 and pledged to preserve it for the enjoyment and enrichment of future generations.

Purdon Conservation Area also offers picnic tables, washroom facilities and free parking (all wheelchair accessible). The discriminating nature lover, garden enthusiast and orchid devotee won't want to miss Purdon's gift stand which is open when the orchids are in bloom. Items include a selection of t-shirts, mugs, pens, magnets and cards with an orchid theme that will serve as a wonderful reminder of a special visit to Purdon.

Purdon Conservation Area is open to the public year round. The picnic area is only available between May 15 and October 15. The orchid blooming period is usually between mid-June and early July but varies from year to year depending on climatic conditions. It is advisable to call MVC close to the time to confirm conditions.

Blooming Hotline: 613-259-2421

Click here to go to their website.

Go To Flower List
Go To Flowers By Colour
Go To White Flowers
Go To Blue Flowers
Go To Yellow Flowers
Go To Red or Pink Flowers
Go To Green Flowers
Go To Orange Flowers
Go To Index Page