Recent Archive Gallery About Home For A Day
Pink Ladyslippers

I still remember the day, as a child, I found one lone pink ladyslipper growing in the woods behind my house. It seemed rare and special to me even then. That was before I knew why they're so uncommon. They require acidic soil, they're slow to develop, and if picked, they will not regrow. Most interestingly, ladyslippers can't sprout without the help of a symbiotic fungus. Their seeds are tiny and bear no food supply for the developing plant. The fungus penetrates the seed and nourishes it. Payback comes later when the fungus extracts nutrients from the roots of the mature plant.

Until recently, Mer Bleue bog was the only place I knew in Ottawa to find this flower. I've since discovered that the South March Conservation Forest (a wonderful natural area near our new home) has them in abundance!

Drama at the Nortel wetlandA Gift


May 25th, 2012 at 10:54 am
Very good pic, captured the colors very nicely!

May 25th, 2012 at 1:40 pm
I remember them on Marthas Vinyard when I was a child. (1970s) have not seen any since, not anywhere.

May 25th, 2012 at 7:12 pm

May 29th, 2012 at 8:38 pm
Another gorgeous photo! You'll have to let me know where the trail is that you found these along. I only know of the parking lot on Goulbourn Forced Road and I'm not sure of the status with the development going on around there.

May 30th, 2012 at 9:17 am
My favorite South March trails have an entrance at the intersection of Second Line and Klondike Roads. There's a pull-off area on the road. You walk through an open area bordered by marsh on both sides, before you get to the woods. At the start of the open area there's a big sign ("South March Conservation Forest") and usually a stack of trail maps.

This trail system is huge and used mainly by mountain bikers. It's an undiscovered gem to birders (I've only ever run into one other person with binoculars and she was a researcher.) It's dripping with Veeries and Wood Thrushes, a variety of breeding warblers, has a big beaver pond called Heron Lake, and I've seen evidence that a pair of Nighthawks breeds on the north shore of the pond, where there's a huge sandstone barren dotted with pine trees. (Saw a pair in flight there one evening and one of them was doing display dives.) Unfortunately the north shore is owned by a developer and could be lost, but for now it's pristine. The trail that goes along there is not on the map, but there are little nubs that hint at it...

Anyway, the trail I've seen most of the pink ladyslippers along is Rockhopper Loop. Generally see them in the rocky outcroppings where some sun gets through. There's also a little group of them growing under a tree near the forest trailheads at the end of the open area.

Here's a webpage with an online version of the map.

If you'd like to go together sometime let me know and I can introduce you to this beautiful forest.