Slipper Orchids in Cobb Town Forest

There are four species (five taxa) of slipper orchids (genus Cypripedium) in Vermont. One day in August 2023, I observed three species in the Cobb Town Forest: the well-known Cypripedium acaule and two unknown species that I will call Species 1 and Species 2. All of the plants were past-flower but Species 1 and Species 2 were obviously different taxa. At first, I didn't recognize Species 2 as Cypripedium but that's probably a reflection of my inexperience more than anything else. I'm guessing that Species 1 and Species 2 are Cypripedium reginae and Cypripedium parviflorum, respectively.

I haven't uploaded my photos yet but I will do that as soon as possible. In the meantime, does anyone know where I can find Cypripedium parviflorum, that is, a stand of slipper orchids that were positively identified as such two months ago when the plants were with flower?

Publicado el viernes, 18 de agosto de 2023 a las 01:28 PM por trscavo trscavo


I have found C.parviflorum and of course Showy, in this location. Can't wait to see what else you found.
From the parking lot, head downhill on the new trail. When you come to the loop go left. They are at the bottom of the hill in two places. One patch is by the boardwalk. The other is at the end of a spur just before the boardwalk. I hope this helps. I can go with you next week if you want.

Anotado por hollyyoung hace 7 meses

Thanks @hollyyoung I've been to this cool place twice in the last couple of weeks. It's a two-hour drive from here so I'll probably wait until next spring to return.

I've only seen Cypripedium parviflorum twice in the field. The sighting in Cobb Town Forest was somewhat of a revelation. The plants were significantly smaller than Cypripedium reginae with less hair along the flowering stem. The bract at the end of the stem (which persists past flowering) is distinctly different in each case. Is any of that consistent with your experience?

Anotado por trscavo hace 7 meses

I think I'll take a trek up there next week and take more photos. The ones I have are too superficial. I'll make note of what you are looking for. Any details you want me to add to my ID , please let me know.

Anotado por hollyyoung hace 7 meses

I didn't check the undersides of the leaves, but as you know, that is sometimes useful, so maybe you could capture that character? I'll do the same from now on (at least until we decide it's not relevant).

Anotado por trscavo hace 7 meses

That I can do.

Anotado por hollyyoung hace 6 meses

I have been tracking the orchids in the Cobb Town forest since I put in the board walks there. The last boardwalk I installed called the East Loop goes through a patch of Cypripedium parviflorum, (the large yellow ladys' slippers). Over 50 bloomed last summer. We have had numerous other orchids in the site including showy ladys' slippers, twayblades, 2 different choral roots,purple fringed, lady's tresses, bog candles and others. I would dearly like to know just where you found the Cypripedium acaule . We had some 6 years ago and then they died out. I have put in all the trails on that site. Met Holly there today!

thanks for your help
Mike Hebb

Anotado por marchantia hace 6 meses

@marchantia Hi Mike. Last week I found six species of orchids at Cobb Town Forest, four of them on the East Loop trail. Cypripedium acaule was found off-trail. I'll send you a direct message with more info.

Anotado por trscavo hace 6 meses

I was so lucky to meet Mike yesterday. I have photos of C.parviflorum details you needed.

Anotado por hollyyoung hace 6 meses

Thanks to both of you!

Anotado por trscavo hace 6 meses

I posted my observations of orchids in Cobb Town Forest, including the slipper orchids mentioned previously.

Anotado por trscavo hace 6 meses

I was out again yesterday on the East loop and found the Cypripedium acaule about where you indicated!
Not far from the yellows.

Anotado por marchantia hace 5 meses

@marchantia thanks Mike! The only remaining question (in my mind) is whether or not Cypripedium reginae occurs in the eastern portion of Cobb Town Forest? More accurately, did I see three distinct taxa on that day or was I merely observing multiple occurrences of Cypripedium parviflorum (which is known to be variable)?

Anotado por trscavo hace 5 meses

@arethusa can you help? How does one distinguish Cypripedium reginae from Cypripedium parviflorum in the absence of a flower? TIA

Anotado por trscavo hace 5 meses

Cypripedium reginae has never been found on the East Loop. They do look similar when dead.

Anotado por marchantia hace 4 meses

Yup, you may be right. I'll check again in May or June.

@marchantia yes, they do look similar at this stage. Are there no diagnostic characters that will help in this case?

Anotado por trscavo hace 4 meses

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