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: Extant in seventeen states and two Canadian provinces. Manitoba south to central Nebraska, Iowa; east to Alabama, Kentucky, Maryland, New York and Ontario. Also in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Connecticut, New Jersey, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois. Extirpated from Pennsylvania and possibly Saskatchewan.

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Man., Ont., Sask.; Ala., Ill., Ind., Iowa., Ky., Md., Mich., Minn., Mo., Nebr., N.J., N.Y., N.Dak., Ohio, Pa., S.Dak., Wis.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Plants erect, 11–40 cm. Leaves 3–4(–5), on proximal or middle portion of stem, alternate, erect-ascending; blade lanceolate or elliptic to oblanceolate, 7–20 × 0.9–5.3 cm. Flowers 1(–2); sepals green to pale brownish yellow, usually spotted and striped with reddish brown or madder; dorsal sepal ovate to ovate-lance-acuminate, 15–35 × 7–13 mm; lateral sepals connate; synsepal 13–35 × 7–15 mm; petals spreading to somewhat deflexed, same color as sepals, spirally twisted or spiral-undulate, lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, 23–46 × 3–5 mm; lip white, obovoid or oblance-ovoid to oblance-fusiform, 17–27 mm; orifice basal, 10–15 mm; staminode lanceoloid or oblong-lanceoloid to ellipsoid. 2n = 20.
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Diagnostic Description

Small White Lady's-slippers can hybridize with Yellow Lady's-slippers (Cypripedium parviflorum). The flowers of the hybrids are usually light yellow or cream-coloured, not pure white. Hybrid plants also tend to be larger than Small White Lady's-slippers.

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Ecology

Habitat

Comments: Mesic blacksoil prairie, wet blacksoil prairie, glacial till hill prairie, sedge meadow, calcareous fen, glade. Calcareous soils. In Manitoba, this species can be found in moist calcareous (calcium-rich, or alkaline) prairie areas or openings in wooded grasslands. It most often grows in relatively undisturbed grassland, but can also be found in moderately disturbed sites such as roadside ditches.

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Mesic to wet prairies and fen meadows, very rarely open wooded slopes; 70--700m.
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Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of White Lady's Slipper in Illinois

Cypripedium candidum (White Lady's Slipper)
(the showy, but deceptive, flower of this orchid provides neither nectar nor pollen to insect visitors; the most effective pollinators are small bees with pollinia attached to their bodies; one observation is from Stoutamire, otherwise observations are from Catling & Knerer)

Bees (long-tongued)
Anthophoridae (Nomadini): Nomada sp. exp np (CK)

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Augochlorella striata exp (CK), Halictus confusus exp (CK), Lasioglossum atlanticus exp (CK), Lasioglossum pilosus pilosus exp (CK), Lasioglossum rohweri exp (CK); Halictidae (Sphecodini): Sphecodes sp. exp np (CK); Andrenidae (Andreninae): Andrena barbilabris exp (Stm), Andrena ziziae exp (CK)

Wasps
Chalcididae: Unidentified sp. exp (CK)

Beetles
Elateridae: Unidentified sp. exp np (CK)

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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: Minnesota: Over a hundred occurrences. The number of occurrences has declined 52% from historic county records (Natural Areas J. 3(4):19).

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flowering/Fruiting

Flowering Apr--Jul.
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Life Cycle

Persistence: PERENNIAL, Long-lived

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Cypripedium candidum

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 candidum

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N2 - Imperiled

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure

Reasons: Although Cypripedium candidum's range has decreased rapidly in the last century, there are still numerous extant occurrences. Also, the protected occurrences extend across its range, thus potentially maintaining some degree of genetic diversity.

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Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable (=10% change)

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Threats

Comments: Encroachment by woody plants and successional change, habitat destruction, collection by wildflower hunters, herbicide application, loss of pollinators.

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Management

Biological Research Needs: Gene exchange in variously-sized populations; genetic relationships between populations throughout range; pollinator behavior with respect to C. candidum; germination and growth requirements.

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Risks

Stewardship Overview: Prescribed burning of all habitat types; maintenance of adequate groundwater levels; maintenance of pollinator breeding habitat; control of livestock and other habitat degraders.

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Wikipedia

Cypripedium candidum

Cypripedium candidum, also known as small white lady's slipper or white lady's slipper, is a rare orchid of the Cypripedium genus. It is found in wet prairies and fens, in rich, highly calcareous soils, sedge meadow edges, calcareous roadside and railway ditches. Cypripedium candidum grows to a height of 10 to 40 cm, and blooms from early May to June. Its white pouch-like lip, sometimes dotted with maroon on the inside, is accented by tan, green or brown lateral sepals and petals. It has been known to hybridize with the small yellow ladyslipper, C. parviflorum var. makasin, resulting in the natural hybrid Cypripedium × andrewsii. The leaves and stems are slightly pubescent. The plants grow in (generally) long-lived clumps, with some clumps having up to 50 or more flowers.

Cypripedium candidum is found from Western New York, across southern Ontario to North Dakota, and south to New Jersey and Missouri. There are isolated populations of Cypripedium candidum in Connecticut, Maryland[1] Manitoba, Virginia, Alabama, and (formerly) Saskatchewan.[2][3]

Cypripedium candidum is considered rare across Canada, endangered in Ontario, and protected under the Ontario Endangered Species Act. It is believed to be extirpated from Saskatchewan. It is threatened in the United States, extirpated from Pennsylvania, endangered in South Dakota and Wisconsin, threatened in Illinois, Kentucky, and Michigan, and rare in Missouri and North Dakota. It is listed in Canada as N2, or endangered. Globally, however, it is listed as G4 (apparently secure) because there are protected sites across its entire range. It is a perennial, with horizontal, wiry-rooted rhizomes growing a few centimeters below the surface of the soil, and hence resistant to most prairie fires. It is shade-intolerant and therefore requires substantial management for invasive and woody species.

Cypripedium candidum is uncommon because it has a low seed set caused by often unpollinated flowers, as well as that its habitat of wet prairies and fens have been greatly decreased through draining for agricultural purposes. In Ontario, this orchid has never been common due to limited occurrences of fens in Cypripedium candidum's Southern-Ontario range. Habitat loss due to fragmentation through agriculture and development, suppression of fire, incursions by invasive species, especially reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinaceae), dogwood (cornus sp.), leafy spurge, St. John’s wort and buckthorn (rhamnus sp.), changes in hydrology, loss of pollinators and environmental challenges to the obligate mycorrhizae that support this species are all responsible for its decline. This ladyslipper is most intolerant of shade, and so management of remnant prairies needs to be a part of any species recovery strategies. Long-term monitoring of this species is being done through various scientific organizations, including the Chicago Botanic Garden's respected Plants of Concern program.

Like many wild orchids, this species has been further endangered by collecting for generally futile attempts at cultivation. It is now known from only two sites in the province of Ontario.

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References[edit]

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Notes

Comments

Cypripedium candidum begins blooming while the shoots are still emerging from the soil; at that time they are small, with the leaves clustered near the base. The plants enlarge greatly during and after anthesis, and the leaves may assume a more median position. The orifice of the lip in C. candidum is distinctive, the apical margin forming an acute angle. This feature is shared with C. montanum and differs from the commonly obtuse margin in C. parviflorum; hence, it can aid determination of discolored herbarium specimens. Hybrids of C. candidum and C. parviflorum have been designated C. × andrewsii A. M. Fuller. See 11. C. parviflorum for a general discussion of hybridization and variation within and between related species.
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Distinct species.

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