Overview

Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Global Range: Known from northeastern North America and the Great Lakes region west to Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Specifically, it occurs from Nova Scotia west through Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, southern Quebec (also Anticosti Island), New York, western Massachusetts, southern Ontario, Michigan, northeastern Wisconsin, northeastern Minnesota, southern Manitoba, to eastern Saskatchewan. Also historically known from Connecticut. Using GIS tools, range extent was calculated to be approximately 700,000 km2.

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Man., N.S., Ont., Que., Sask.; Conn., Maine, Mass., Mich., Minn., N.H., N.Y., Vt., Wis.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Plants erect, 10–35 cm. Leaves 3–4, along middle portion of stem, spiraled to alternate, ascending to spreading; blade narrowly elliptic to ovate-lanceolate or oblong, 5–11 × 1.3–3.5 cm. Flowers usually solitary (rarely 2 in forma biflorum P. M. Brown); sepals green with reddish brown markings; dorsal sepal broadly elliptic to ovate-lanceolate, 15–25 × 5–10 mm; lateral sepals distinct, 12–20 × 1.5–4 mm; petals somewhat spreading, same color as sepals, somewhat spirally twisted, linear- to linear-lanceolate, 11–24 × 1–2 mm; lip white with green apex, usually with extensive reddish reticulations often merging toward apex, adaxially swollen near middle, 10–16 mm, apex abruptly deflected downward, orifice basal, 7–12 mm; staminode suborbicular. 2n = 20.
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Diagnostic Description

In flower, Cypripedium arietinum is quite distinctive, usually rendering identification straightforward. It could possibly be confused with other pinkish Cypripedium species such as C. acaule and C. reginae. It is easily separated from all other Cypripedium by having three separate sepals rather than two. In addition, its leaves spiraled around the stem distinguish it from C. acaule, which has only basal leaves. Its lower lip whitish strongly veined with red and drawn out into a point distinguishes it from C. reginae, which does not have a lower lip drawn out into a point; also, C. arietinum (7-30 cm) is smaller than C. reginae (25-90 cm).

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Ecology

Habitat

Comments: Seems to occur in three general situations (Brzeskiewicz 2000): (1) Cool, dense white cedar/balsam/spruce swamps (Thuja occidentalis/Abies balsamea/Picea mariana). (2) Nearly pure sand over limestone beach cobble or bedrock, mulched with juniper (Juniperis communis and J. horizontalis), jack pine (Pinus banksiana), red pine (Pinus resinosa) or white cedar needles, typically on north facing slopes or on low dunes of the upper Great Lakes. Can be especially abundant in the partially shaded shelter of the last fringe of trees before the open beach. (3) Mesic soil of sandy loam or clay under the partial shade of conifer or mixed forest,often including some of the following tree species: upland white cedar, maple (Acer spp.), aspen (Populus spp.), birch (Betula spp.), oak (Quercus spp.) balsam, hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) or pine (Pinus) spp. Prefers cool, sub-acid or neutral soil, but can occur in both mineral-rich and mineral-poor sites, with soils of clay, loam or sand in upland sites and nutrient-poor peat in lowland sites. A relatively common feature of occupied sites is an open, uncrowded understory with low competition from other plants. Occurs in areas with forest cover ranging from 30% to 80%; seems to prefer a moderately open canopy, with both full exposure and complete shade being sub-optimal (Blaney and Mazerolle 2007). 0 - 400 m.

In Michigan, appesrs to thrive best on low Great Lake shore dunes in partial shade of conifers, but also occurring inland under jack pine and oak, and in dense balsam-white cedar-black spruce swamps and bogs. In all cases, cool temperatures appear to be important and populations are often confined to northern exposures or cold air channels. Along Lake Huron, grows beneath juniper and cedar trees under the last fringe of trees before the open lake beaches. At Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, occurs on the border between coastal forest and dune communities, where the canopy is composed primarily of balsam fir, white cedar, red pine, white pine, and aspen. In Isle Royale National Park, grows in boreal forest clearings. Co-occurring tree species in old dune habitats along the Great Lakes include Thuja occidentalis, Abies balsamifera, Picea glauca, Pinus banksiana, Betula papyrifera, and Tsuga canadensis; in the understory of jack pine "pocket forests" of the Grand Sable Dunes, associated tree species include Pinus banksiana, Betula alleghaniensis, Fagus grandifolia, Ostrya virginiana, Acer pensylvanicaum, Acer saccharum and Abies balsamea. At dry inland forest/woodland sites, co-occurring trees include Pinus strobus, Pinus resinosa, Pinus banksiana, and Populus tremuloides. In coniferous swamps, dominant trees include cedar, tamarack, spruce, and fir. Although the species usually attains its largest physical size in swamps or bogs, it reaches its peak abundance in conifer uplands of northern Michigan. In Minnesota, the species occurs on hummocks of Sphagnum moss in forested sites of Sphagnum bogs and swamps (typically dominated by Thuja occidentalis, Larix laricina and Picea mariana) or dry sand forests (typically dominated by Pinus resinosa, Pinus banksiana, and Pinus strobus). Seems to be found most often in the transition zone between upland forest and lowland conifer. In Saskatchewan, grows under jack pine with an open under-story with reindeer lichen and bearberry. In Wisconsin, occupies three distinct habitats: sandy jack pine (Pinus banksiana) woods with little or no understory vegetation (also sometimes in white pine woods with other conifers); white cedar (Thuja occidentalis) woods (sometimes with Picea glauca, Abies balsamifera, and northern hardwoods), sometimes on stabilized dunes, over limestone and dolomite along the shore of Lake Michigan in Door County; and white cedar (Thuja occidentalis) bogs and tamarack (Larix laricina) swamps. In the more eastern part of its range, in Quebec, the species inhabits rocky slopes, mixed and conifer forests and woodlands. It is rarely found more than 30 meters from the reach of water. Several northern records, near Lake Superior, are from moist to wet clay banks under Thuja occidentalis or red pine. Associated canopy species on the clay banks include big tooth aspen, red maple, and white spruce.. In New Hampshire occurs primarily in cool, partially to fully shaded areas in acidic soils. Habitats include wet Thuja occidentalis woods; mesic, wooded hillsides under pines and hemlocks or red oak, white pine, hemlock, moosewood and witch hazel; and well-drained, ledgy slopes under deciduous trees. In Maine, occurs in acidic mixed hardwood/conifer forests open stands of northern white cedar, or sometimes nearly pure stands of hemlock, growing in moist, sandy or loose soil sites in well drained situations in partial shade, at relatively low elevations. Also can be found in well-drained Larix bogs, and Thuja swamps,and one site is on a hillside in a hardwood stand with very rich soil. In Vermont, can occur in mesic,limey hardwood forest red pine forest, limestone cedar bluff and cedar or hardwood-cedar swamps. This can include second-growth (formerly pasture) woods dominated by pine and hardwoods (Pinus strobus, Acer saccharum, Fraxinus americana, Fagus grandifolia); but more typically it occurs in association with northern white cedar (Thuja occidentalis) either in cedar or mixed hardwood-cedar swamps or on dry limestone bluffs overlooking Lake Champlain. It also occurs in association with hemlock and red pine either on lake bluffs or in red pine forest In Massachusetts, found in seasonally moist woods of red oak, white oak, hemlock, sugar maple, white ash and black birch. In New York, found on hummocks in calcareous swamp-forests, in open coniferous or mixed forests, and in scrub over limestone. In Nova Scotia,it is largely associated with gypsum bedrock and is found in moderately open, mesic woods on outcrops, cliff tops, river banks, moderate to steep slopes and in sinkholes. Forest cover at these sites includes deciduous-dominated, conifer-dominated and mixed stands of young-intermediate to mature forest.

In Minnesota, associates in Sphagnum bogs and swamps include Cornus canadensis, Ranunculus laponicus, Rubus acaulis, Platanthera obtusata, Sarracenia purpurea, Orchis rotundifolia, Smilacina trifolia and Cypripedium acaule, while associates in dry sand forests including Lithospermum canescens, Gaultheria sp., Vaccinium angustifolium, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, Cypripedium acaule and lichens. In Michigan, additional associates in old dune habitats along the Great Lakes include Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, Prunus virginiana, Iris lacustris, Polygala paucifolia, and Aster sp. Additional associates at dry inland sites include Pyrola spp., Cladonia spp., Pteridium spp., Cypripedium acaule, C. calceolus, Goodyera spp., Corallorhiza spp., Chimaphila umbellata, Epigaea repens, Fragaria spp., Maianthemum canadense, Rhus radicans, Vaccinium spp., Linnea borealis and Calypso bulbosa. Common associates within the jack pine stands on drier sites include Andropogon scoparius, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, Lithospermum caroliniense, Shepherdia canadensis and Zigadenus glaucus. In moister, more dense stands of jack pine, Carex eburnea, Chimaphila umbellata, Corallorhiza striata, Cypripedium acaule, Goodyera oblongifolia, Linnaea borealis and Pyrola secunda are common associates. Associates in bog habitats include Habenaria dilatata, Platanthera flava var. herbiola, Arethusa bulbosa, Spiranthes romanzoffiana, Pyrola rotundifolia, Utricularia intermedia, Gentiana andrewsii, Polygonum amphibium, Polygala paucifolia and Potentilla palustris. In Wisconsin, additional associates include Aster macrophyllus (in Thuja occidentalis forest), Cypripedium acaule (in tamarack swamp), and Aster macrophyllus, Iris lacustris and Primula mistassinica (in Thuja occidentalis-Picea glauca-Abies balsamifera forest/woodland). In Maine, associates in mixed hardwood/conifer forests include Trientalis borealis, Uvularia sessilifolia, Uvularia grandiflora, Linnaea borealis, Cornus canadensis, Pyrola sp., and ferns; associates in Larix and cedar bogs include Sarracenia purpurea and shrubby heaths. In Vermont, associated with Ranunculus acris, Erigeron philadelphica and Oxalis europea in second-growth woods and with Ceanothus americanum, Waldsteinia sp., Maianthemum canadense and Taraxacum officinale at sites dominated by Thuja sp., Abies balsamea, and Acer saccharum.

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Dry to moist open coniferous and mixed forests, coniferous-forested fens, beach thickets; mostly 0--400m.
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Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Ram's Head Lady Slipper in Illinois

Cypripedium arietinum (Ram's Head Lady Slipper)
(the flower of this orchid lures insects by deception, as it provides neither nectar nor accessible pollen; small bees explore and cross-pollinate the flowers; observations are from Stoutamire)

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Augochloropsis sumptuosa exp (Stm), Lasioglossum sp. exp (Stm)

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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300

Comments: Approximately 300 occurrences are presumed extant rangewide, with Michigan, Minnesota, and Ontario have the highest numbers. An additional 167 historical and 9 extirpated occurrences are known throughout the range. Penskar and Higman (1999) suggest that some "historical" occurrences of this species may prove to be extant: "although some of the older records do not likely persist today, the elusive nature and difficulty of surveying for this species make it difficult to predict persistence by the collection date alone."

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General Ecology

Largely, the ram's-head lady's-slipper appears to reproduce asexually, via offshoots from parental plants (Brower 1977). The flowers appear in late May and early June and last only a short time. Within a given population, the percentage of flowering plants within a population may vary greatly. Bender (1989, 1988, 1987) found that, in Wisconsin, flowering occurred in 22% to 44% of the entire population.

As an attractant to potential pollinators, a light sweet odor is produced by the lateral petals and sepals and labellum (Stoutamire 1967). The labellum plays a greater role in odor production in C. arietinum than any other local species within the genera (Stoutamire 1967). Known pollinators of C. arietinum are small bees, including species in the Dialictus (Halictidae) (Stoutamire 1967) and Megachile (Megachilidae) genera (van der Pijl and Dodson 1966). Apparently mosquitoes are not attracted to the scent given off by the ram's-head and play no role in pollination (Stoutamire 1967). As soon as the flower is fertilized, the over-arching sepal lowers to close the orifice and exclude the entrance of additional insects. Minute seeds produced by the plants are probably not dispersed a great distance from the parental plants, as most populations occur in habitats dense with vegetation (Brower 1977). Stoutamire (1964) stated that seed capsules from this species are often observed on the plant well into the spring of the following year, which may be another agent in hindering the dispersal of seeds over large distances.

Plant size is not a reliable indicator of age or maturity within this species (Bender 1989). In a study of C. arietinum in Wisconsin, Bender tracked individual plants over three years. Results showed that plants do not reach a "mature size" and flower every year. Instead, plants frequently flower one year and remain vegetative the next. Bender (1989) has shown that individual plants will flower only upon reaching a minimum size of 11 cm in height. While plants smaller than 11 cm regardless of age, do not flower, all plants taller than that height were observed to flower. Plants that become damaged by herbivores (both insect and mammal) frequently do not appear above ground the following year (Bender 1989, 1988, 1987).

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flowering/Fruiting

Flowering May--Jun.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Cypripedium arietinum

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Cypripedium arietinum

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 4
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N3 - Vulnerable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N3 - Vulnerable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G3 - Vulnerable

Reasons: About 300 extant occurrences of this unique orchid are known from throughout its range, which includes northeastern North America and the Great Lakes region west to Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Over 150 additional occurrences are historical; some of these may be relocated with further survey, but some may be extirpated. Most known populations are quite small, although thousands of individuals have been recorded at a number of locations. In a given year, the total reproductive population is very likely more than 10,000, but less than 100,000. Believed to be declining in various parts of its range. Major threats include clear-cutting, suppression of natural disturbance regimes, residential development (particularly on Great Lakes shorelines), and collection. Other less severe or more local threats include hydrological alterations, deer browsing, mining, cattle grazing, impacts from recreational activities, competition from exotic plants, climate change, and the intrinsic threat posed by the small size of most populations.

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Global Short Term Trend: Decline of 10-30%

Comments: Overall, potential habitat and extant populations continue to decline due primarily to development pressure, logging practices and suppression of natural disturbance regimes (e.g. fire). In Massachusetts, one current population has declined in size since its discovery, but current management may eventually stabilize it (J. Garrett pers. comm. 2008). In Nova Scotia, numbers at known sites seem relatively stable at present, but the development of large gypsum mines over the past three generations (45-75 years) is estimated to have reduced populations by 59% (Blaney and Mazerolle 2007). In Quebec, there is an overall estimated decline of of 10-30%, principally in the regions of Montréal and Montérégie (J. Labrecque pers. comm. 2008). At the Ridges Sanctuary in Wisconsin, the population was once estimated at over 1000 plants; this population subsequently declined to 150 plants, and only 1 plant was seen in 1992 (C. Anderson pers. comm. 2008); over-shading (due to lack of natural disturbance and/or targeted canopy thinning management) is a possible cause of this decline (Case 1999, pers. comm. cited in Brzeskiewicz 2000). Of the monitoring efforts reported by Brzeskiewicz (2000), one monitored population in each of Maine, Minnesota, and Michigan seems to be thriving, but the number of flowering individuals in a second monitored Michigan population seemed to be declining.

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Threats

Degree of Threat: Very high - high

Comments: Major threats include clear-cutting, suppression of natural disturbance regimes, residential development, and collection. Clear-cutting and heavy thinning open up the forest canopy causing more sunlight to reach the ground and dry the soil, problematic since this species apparently requires at least partial canopy cover. Plants can also be mechanically damaged or up-rooted by machinery and disking of the ground after tree removal can cause major impacts. Major soil disturbances are undesirable due to the dependence of this species on mycorrhizal fungi. It should be noted, however, that too much shade is also a frequently-cited threat. This species prefers moderate canopy cover such as that found in mid-successional forest formed from old disturbance such as wind throw or possibly fire. Where such disturbances have been suppressed, active management to partially thin the canopy may be necessary for population persistence, taking care to ensure that subsequent undergrowth is does not overgrow the plants. Residential development is also a significant threat in portions of the species' range, particularly along the shores of the Great Lakes. Development has been cited as a major threat in at least Quebec, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Collection has also been a major threat, as the rarity and unique appearance of this species make it highly sought-after for gardens and collections. In the past, this problem has been greatly exacerbated by the difficulty of propagating the species ex situ, but research on propagation techniques is ongoing and there is hope that it will eventually reduce collection pressure significantly.

Numerous more minor or localized threats have also been noted.Hydrological alterations have been cited as a threat where this species inhabits wetland sites. For example, in Wisconsin, two sites were largely destroyed by drainage and/or construction of impoundments, and in Maine, one site is thought to be declining due to hydrological changes associated with a nearby gravel mine. Browsing by white tail deer is also a significant issue in some areas, such as Massachusetts. Plants that become damaged by herbivores frequently do not appear above ground the following year.Mining operations pose a threat to some populations in Minnesota, and gypsum mining is a demonstrated threat to sites in Nova Scotia. Cattle grazing has also been cited as an impact on populations in Minnesota and Nova Scotia. Impacts from recreational activities, such as trails and access roads through populations and all terrain vehicle traffic have also been cited as threats in some areas. Soil compaction can reduce this species' ability to reproduce vegetatively. Competition from exotic plants, such as Carex flacca in Nova Scotia and buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica and frangula), Asian honeysuckle (Lonicera morowii and others) and Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii) in pine and cedar forests, has also been mentioned as a potential threat. Climate change may have a large impact on this species due to habitat loss or alteration, and some populations considered intrinsically threatened due to very small population size.Finally, this species also appears to contain very low levels of genetic variation (Bornbush et al. 1994, Case 1994). However, Bornbush et al. (1994) note that low variation between populations, in addition to low variation for the species as a whole, suggests that the populations may have been genetically depauperate throughout much of their existence prior to human disturbance. For this reason, they argue that other threats may exert a greater influence on C. arietinum persistence than its relative lack of genetic variation.

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Management

Restoration Potential: The recovery potential of this species is largely unknown at this time. The species has not been successfully propagated from seed, and transplantation is largely unsuccessful.

Preserve Selection and Design Considerations:

Land protection for this species is dependant on the type of habitat that is occupied by the species. In all habitats, protection of the immediate population plus sufficient buffer is necessary. In bogs, land protection must include the entire system in which the species occurs. Ditching and other destructive actions within any portion of the bog system can have major impacts on water tables and, consequently, C. arietinum. Jack pine forest habitats must be protected by clear-cut logging practices with sufficient buffer to guarantee protection of prime habitat conditions. Sandy, old dune habitats, similarly should provide protection from logging. Extensive habitats provide the best possibilities of long-term survival and such areas should be designated as of the highest priority for protection.

Management Requirements:

Brackley (pers. comm.) stated that one population in New Hampshire needs to have the habitat manipulated so that more sunlight reaches the forest floor. Thompson (pers. comm.) stated that although it appears that the species prefers successional habitats, it is not known how to manage for the species, or whether active management would actually benefit the species. It is known that clear-cutting of forests is deadly to the species. Bender (pers. comm.) has been experimenting with partial canopy removal at a site in Wisconsin.

Ewert (pers. comm.) suggested that foot traffic should be eliminated from the vicinity of known colonies and that no development should take place.

Thinning of tree canopies might be considered at sites that are, through natural succession, becoming too closed. Excessive thinning or logging can have detrimental effects on C. arietinum populations by overexposing and drying out habitats and individual plants. It is too early to know how on-going artificial thinning programs are working at The Ridges Sanctuary in Wisconsin. If research suggests that artificial thinning of canopies is having a beneficial impact on populations of this species, such procedures should be implemented in shaded habitats. Clear-cut logging practices should be replaced by selective logging in areas containing populations of C. arietinum.

Management Programs:

The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is working to control visitor access to C. arietinum populations. Largely, current management is to let natural events run their course. Contact: Walter Loope, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Telephone No. (906) 387-2607.

Monitoring Programs:

The Massachusetts Natural Heritage Program is currently monitoring the state's sole extant population on an annual basis, noting the percent of the individuals flowering, fruiting or in a vegetative state (Sorrie pers. comm.). The general location of individuals and changes in habitat (if any) are also noted. Contact: Bruce Sorrie, Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, 100 Cambridge St., Boston, MA 02202. Telephone No. (617) 727-9194.

The Michigan Chapter of The Nature Conservancy conducts casual counts of this species at its Grass Bay Preserve (Ewert pers. comm.). Outside of that, no monitoring is done. Contact: Dave Ewert, Michigan Land Steward, Michigan Field Office, The Nature Conservancy, 2840 E. Grand River, Suite 5, East Lansing, MI 44823. Telephone No. (517) 332-1741. The species is apparently locally common in Michigan, so not much emphasis has been placed on monitoring in that state (Penskar pers. comm.).

Joyce Bender of the Kentucky Natural Heritage Program is in the midst of an annual monitoring project at The Ridges Sanctuary in Bailey's Harbor, Wisconsin. Begun in the summer of 1986, four years of data have been obtained relative to the life history of the species at this site. Permanent plots have been established at 4 sites, with canopy cover photographed as part of a canopy thinning study. In addition, populations were assessed throughout The Ridges Sanctuary. Contact: Joyce Bender, Kentucky Natural Heritage Program, Kentucky Nature Preserves commission, 407 Broadway, Frankfort, KY 40601. Telephone No. (502) 564-2886.

Welby Smith of the Minnesota Natural Heritage Program is currently conducting a monitoring program on a population in Minnesota. He has been able to acquire information pertinent to the life history of the species since 1983, when the annual monitoring program began. Contact: Welby Smith, Minnesota Natural Heritage Program, Department of Natural Resources, 500 Lafayette Rd., St. Paul, MN 55155. Telephone No. (612) 297-3733.

Susan Hayward has been conducting an annual monitoring program for C. arietinum at two sites in Maine, one owned by The Nature Conservancy and the other by the New England Wildflower Society. The New England Wildflower Society population occurs in a bog, while The Nature Conservancy population occurs in dry, deciduous woodlands. Monitoring began in 1988, with methodologies very similar to that of Bender (1989, 1988, 1987). Individual plants are followed through time in some subplots, while the number of stems, number of leaves per stem, height, presence of flowers and fall fruit are also noted. Contact: Susan Hayward, 107 Nichols St., Lewiston, ME 04240. Telephone No. (207) 782-5238.

The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan is currently monitoring populations of C. arietinum within the Grand Sable Dunes unit. A number of permanent plots were installed in 1988 by Janet Schultz to monitor population changes over time. Populations are expected to be monitored again this coming year (1990). Contact: Walter Loope, National Park Service, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, P.O. Box 40, Munising, MI 49862-0040. Telephone No. (906) 387-2607.

Management Research Programs: Welby Smith of the Minnesota Natural Heritage Program is currently monitoring populations in Minnesota in order to learn more about the species' life history and habitat needs. Contact: Welby Smith, Minnesota Natural Heritage Program, DNR, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155. Telephone No. (612) 297-3733.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is currently investigating the dynamic dune processes of the Lake Michigan shoreline. Information obtained from this study will have direct management implications for C. arietinum populations. Contact: Walter Loope, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, P.O. Box 40, Munising, MI 49862-0040. Telephone No. (906) 387-2607.

Biological Research Needs: Much general life history information is lacking; for example, little longevity research has been done (Brzeskiewicz 2000). More information is needed in the following areas: (1) population dynamics, reproductive limitations, and lifespan of individuals; (2) vegetative reproduction (incl. how frequently it occurs) and the process of colony expansion; (3) mycorrhizal relationship formation, including which fungal species are this species' typical mycorrhizal partners; (4) pollinator identity and stability of pollinator populations, including potential effects of the loss of pollinators from pesticide use; also study of whether fruit set (without viable seeds) can occur without pollination, as this could inflate reproduction estimates; (5) conditions favorable for seed germination and establishment, such as habitat requirements, soil chemistry, soil nutrients and moisture needs; (6) greenhouse or laboratory propagation techniques; (7) effects of fire or lack of fire, particularly where the species inhabits xeric pine forest; and (8) effects of the decline in northern white cedar, especially in the southern portion of the range where it maintains the cool temperatures required by this species.

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Risks

Stewardship Overview: Canopy cover may need to be carefully managed at some sites, as most sources agree that this species prefers a moderately open canopy (30-80% cover). Sites should therefore be protected from clear-cutting or intensive selective harvesting where possible (to maintain at least 30% cover). In addition, where natural disturbance regimes are not fully functional and canopy cover exceeds historic levels, some partial canopy thinning may be beneficial (to keep cover under 80%). However, when thinning the canopy, subsequent growth of the understory should be carefully monitored to make sure it does not overgrow the plants. Re-routing of trails may also be beneficial where recreational impacts are apparent. In addition, enforcement and educational strategies that could help minimize illegal collection should be considered (Penskar and Higman 1999).

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Wikipedia

Cypripedium arietinum

The rare Ram's-Head Lady's-Slipper (Cypripedium arietinum) is an orchid that grows in lightly shaded areas with calcareous soils. It is characteristic of the alvars around the Great Lakes in North America, as well as in New England.[1][2] In Canada, it is found from Quebec to Saskatchewan, plus an isolated population in Nova Scotia, where it grows on gypsum based soils, 330 km away from the nearest population in Maine.[3][4]

Description[edit]

Cypripedium arietinum is a small Lady's-Slipper which typically has 3, but sometimes 4-5, leaves. This species has a single flower on each stem having divided lateral sepals and a unique hairy pouch shaped like an funnel. The purplish-red flower has light venation and is white at the lip.

Cypripedium arietinum plants in the wild

The plant grows to 10–40 cm (4–16 in), and the flowers may reach 1–2 cm (0.5-0.75 in). It flowers from May to June, producing brownish-green flowers with a pink and white lip.

The Ram's-Head Lady's-Slipper is difficult to cultivate, and rarely survives transplantation to a garden from the wild. It should never be removed from any natural area.

Conservation[edit]

Cypripedium arietinum is considered rare to extremely rare in all locations where it occurs.[5] More specifically, it is rare in Ontario[6] and rare in Manitoba. The Ram's-Head Lady's-Slipper is a threatened plant species other areas within its range, including Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, and Saskatchewan. It is believed to be extirpated in Connecticut. This species has now been listed as an endangered species in Nova Scotia.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ US Department of Agriculture plants profile
  2. ^ Catling, P.M. and Brownell, V.R. 1999. Alvars of the Great Lakes Region. p. 375-391, in R. C. Anderson, J. S. Fralish, and J. M. Baskin (eds.) Savannas, Barrens and Rock Outcrop Communities of North America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  3. ^ Blaney, S. and D. Mazerolle. 2007. Nova Scotia Provincial Status Report on Ram's-Head Lady Slipper (Cypripredium arietinum R. Br.). Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources.
  4. ^ Biota of North America Program, county distribution map
  5. ^ Blaney, S. and D. Mazerolle. 2007. Nova Scotia Provincial Status Report on Ram's-Head Lady Slipper (Cypripredium arietinum R. Br.). Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources.
  6. ^ Oldham, M.J., and S.R. Brinker. 2009. Rare Vascular Plants of Ontario, Fourth Edition. Natural Heritage Information Centre, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Peterborough, Ontario. 188 pp.
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Cypripedium arietinum

The rare Ram's-Head Lady's-Slipper (Cypripedium arietinum) is an orchid that is native to the alvars around the Great Lakes in North America.

The plant grows to 10-40 cm (4-16 in), and the flowers may reach 1-2 cm (0.5-0.75 in). It flowers from May to June, producing brownish-green flowers with a pink and white lip.

The Ram's-Head Lady's-Slipper is difficult to cultivate, and rarely survives transplantation to a garden from the wild.

Description

Cypripedium arietinum is a small Lady's-Slipper which typically has 3, but sometimes 4-5, leaves. This species has a single flower on each stem having divided lateral sepals and a unique hairy pouch shaped like an funnel. The purplish-red flower has light venation and is white at the lip.

Conservation

Uncommon in Ontario, rare in Manitoba, the Ram's-Head Lady's-Slipper is a threatened plant species in many areas within its range, including Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, and Saskatchewan. It is believed to be extirpated in Connecticut.

This flower has now been listed as an endangered species in Nova Scotia ( http://www.hfxnews.ca/index.cfm?sid=70212&sc=89 )


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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Some researchers have proposed segregating Cypripedium arietinum in the genus Criosanthes based upon the separate lateral sepals, spurred lip, and staminode that resembles a fertile stamen. However, investigation of genetic variation among five species of Cypripedium by Case (1994) supports the retention of this taxon within the genus Cypripedium (Penskar and Higman 1999).

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