|Photo: Donald Kirk|
Features: The Small White Lady's-slipper orchid (Cypripedium candidum) is distinguished by its small size, of only 6 to 12 inches, and by its white inflated "lip", or flower pouch, which is delicately lined inside with purple. In Ontario this species grows in open wet prairie and marly fen habitats.
Status: Endangered Provincially and Nationally
Range: The range of the Small White Lady's-slipper extends from southern Ontario and New York State, west to southern Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and south through the United States midwest to Missouri and Kentucky. In Ontario, there are six remaining occurrences of this orchid, out of which only four, in the extreme southwestern corner of the province (Lambton County), are considered viable.
Threats: The Small White Lady's-slipper has declined throughout its North American range owing chiefly to the conversion of prairie habitats for agricultural purposes, and the control of wildfires which, in natural ecosystems, curtail plant succession. This species was probably never common in Ontario. However, in spite of incomplete historic records, there is evidence of a decline. Natural succession produces shady conditions detrimental to the Small White Lady's-slipper, and this factor was probably responsible for the loss of one orchid stand in Ontario over the past twenty years. Other threats include habitat degradation, trampling of plants, ATV use in orchid habitats, and, possibly, the illegal collection of plants for commercial sale.
Protection: The Small White Lady's-slipper is listed in regulation under Ontario's Endangered Species Act, 2007, which protects the species and its habitat. The Natural Heritage component of the Provincial Policy Statement under the Planning Act provides for the protection of significant portions of the habitat of species listed in regulation under the E.S.A. One Ontario population of this orchid, in Hastings County, is in a protected site. Ontario's Conservation Land Tax Incentive Program (CLTIP) will provide 100% tax relief to private landowners for the portion of their property (minimum size 0.5 acres) determined to be habitat of species in regulation under the E.S.A. The CLTIP program recognizes, encourages and supports private land stewardship. International trade in orchids or their parts is controlled under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).
Text Sources: Brownell 1981; Bowman and McKeating 1977
Last Modified Date: October 2008
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