Transplanting Pink lady-slipper (Cypripedium acaule) - William Cullina
Transplanting Pink lady-slippers (Cypripedium acaule) Images and text by William Cullina No plant is more beloved and recognizable than the pink lady-slipper. Unlike most other species of Cypripedium, it thrives in dry, acidic soils under a thin canopy of deciduous or evergreen trees. It is found from Newfoundland to Saskatchewan south around the Great Lakes to the southern Appalachians. In New England, it is by far the most common of our five Cypripedium species for the simple reason that its preferred habitat is so abundant here. Still, as development converts forest to subdivision, countless thousands of pinklady-slippers have been bulldozed. It is a species that is very difficult to grow under garden conditions, but it is possible to successfully transplant it to an undisturbed patch of forest that offers similar growing conditions. In a study we conducted at the New England Wild Flower Society, of 75 plants rescued from a condominium development, 85 percent were still alive and thriving after the sixth season (when we concluded the study). Though pink ladyslippers should never be moved unless they are in imminent danger of destruction, the purpose of this article is to show you how you can successfully rescue and reestablish plants from property about to be developed.