SMALL YELLOW LADY’S-SLIPPER
Small yelllow lady’s-slipper(Cypripedium parviflorum var. makasin) is a striking plant with boldly-colored petals and sepals and a deep yellow lip that is often peppered with dark purple. It is a dainty plant—more similar in size and stature to the diminutive white lady’s-slipper than its large yellow cousin.
Small yellow lady’s-slipper grows to 30-40cm and will produce sizable clumps over time. It flowers between mid-May and mid-June in the southern Great Lakes region, with each stem producing one or rarely two flowers. These are roughly 2-3cm long, colored a deep yellow, often dotted or streaked with color to match the petals and sepals, which can range from deep maroon to a lighter yellowish-green.
In the lower Great Lakes region, small yellow lady’s-slipper is almost exclusively an obligate (OBL), wetland plant. It grows in wet woods and swamp-edges as well as wet meadows, fens, and wet prairies, where it is often found with Cypripedium candidum (small white lady’s-slipper). In cultivation, small yellow lady’s-slipper tolerates a much broader range of soil conditions, but generally prefers a loose or sandy, moisture retentive loam.
Cypripedium combines two words—the Greek Cypris, the goddess of love and beauty, and the Latin pedis, for foot. parviflorum is from the Latin for “small flowers,” while makasin is likely from the Powhatan word for “shoe.”
Small yellow lady’s-slipper has a very narrow native range that includes the Great Lakes states, northern New England, and a few disjunct populations in the west. It is uncommon or even rare throughout its range.
In shaded sites with Caltha palustris (marsh marigold), Lindera benzoin (spicebush), Pedicularis lanceolata (swamp betony), Micranthes pensylvanica (Pennsylvania saxifrage); In open ares with Cypripedium candidum (small white lady’s-slipper), Hypoxis hirsuta (yellow star grass), Parnassia glauca (grass of Parnassus), Zizia aurea (golden Alexander).
NOTES GO HERE
The small yellow lady’s-slipper (Cypripedium parviflorum var. Makasin) is more diminutive than its large-slippered relative, but it is perhaps even more striking. The petals and sepals are generally darker colored, ranging from a reddish-brown to deep mahogany, which contrast nicely with the deep yellow lip. This is almost exclusively a wetland plant in the Great Lakes region. It grows in wet woods and swamps as well as wet meadows, fens, and wet prairies, where it is often found with Cypripedium candidum (small white lady’s-slipper). Under cultivated conditions, it tolerates a much broader range of soil conditions, but prefers loose, moisture retentive sandy loam.
We currently have plants in stock that bloomed in the nursery (2022). These are listed as “blooming size.” Near-blooming-size plants are the same age, size, and vigor, but have not yet bloomed.