California Lady’s Slipper Fruits

In May Leonard and I found California lady’s slipper plants (Cypripedium californicum) along Stony Creek Trail in Six Rivers National Recreational Area (Del Norte County CA). Some of the beautiful flowers were beginning to develop fruits. See: California Lady’s Slipper 06-08-18. In October we returned to the same plants and found the mature fruits.

A member of the Orchid Family (Orchidaceae), California lady’s slipper fruits are oblong capsules (dry fruits that split open at maturity) with three chambers. They contain many minute, dust-like seeds lacking endosperms.

California lady’s slipper is usually endemic to serpentine-derived soils and is naturally found only around seepage slopes and small streams in the mountains of Southwest Oregon and Northwest California. Because of limited distribution it is considered rare.

How fortunate we felt to find specimens of this lovely perennial.

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