Mountain lady slipper as seen along Forest Road #64, Umatilla National Forest.......July 1, 2012.
The mountain lady's slipper is an attractive wildflower with a single, erect, leafy stem from 20-60 cm in height. The leaves are widely elliptic or ovate-elliptic, from 5-15 cm long and up to 7 cm wide, slightly glandular-pubescent, sessile and sheathing. The venation is parallel.
The one- three flowers are large and showy, ranked one above the other. Each flower is opposite a large green, leaf-like bract. The sepals are light to deeply brownish-purple, narrowly to broadly lanceolate, twisted or wavy, with the upper sepal from 4-5 cm long and the two drooping sepals shorter in length. The pair of upper petals are similarly colored, while the lower, drooping petal, forms a pouch-like lip from 2-3 cm in length. The lower lip is pure white with purple venation. The flower is fragrant too.
Like many other large orchids, the mountain lady's slipper should be admired in its natural environment and not picked or dug. Generally, the plants do not survive transplanting and picking may reduce the chances for survival by robbing the plant of much of its photosynthetic capabilities..
The mountain lady's slipper may be found on dry to fairly moist ground both in the open as well as in shrub or forest-covered slopes.
Mountain lady's slipper is found from Alaska south (along the east side of the Cascades) to Santa Cruz County in California and east to southwestern Alberta, Montana and Wyoming. It appears to be absent from the Olympic Mountains and west of the Cascade crest in Washington and Oregon.
-Mountain lady's slippers as seen in the woods at Fields Springs State Park, Asotin County, Washington.........June 11, 2013.
Several mountain lady slippers beginning to bloom (left) at Brooks Memorial State Park near Satus Pass, Washington.........May 19, 2014. The photos at center and right show mountain lady slippers blooming at Ochoco Forest Camp, Ochoco National Forest..........May 29, 2016.
A mountain lady slipper blooming along cross country ski trails originating from the Bandit Springs Sno-park near the Ochoco Divide, Ochoco National Forest.........June 23, 2017.