Friday, July 22, 2011
Cypripedium passerinum at Kinney Lake
Traveling through Mount Robson Provincial Park and Jasper National Park along the Yellowhead Highway on our way to Edmonton to visit family, we took some extra time and stopped in the area of the Berg Lake Trail in Mount Robson PP. My wife had a bad headache and stayed in the car to sleep while I hiked up the trail for about 7 km to Kinney Lake to see which orchids were blooming.
I saw fifteen different native orchids and varieties, but this one, the Sparrow's-egg Lady's Slipper is still one of my favorites and I was fortunate to find a few of them still in bloom at this late date. Last year we were a week earlier and they were all finished but a cold and wet spring has delayed everything in the Pacific Northwest, in this case to our advantage.
Many of these lovely orchids can be found in a couple of areas near Kinney Lake and I found again several very large clumps, but only a few flowers that were still perfect. Many had been ruined by the rain and quite a number were already pollinated and gone by. In spite of the mosquitoes I managed to get some pictures with the dew still on the flowers.
The flowers are on rather tall spikes but are themselves quite small, surprisingly small, I would think, to someone who had not seen them before. They are, however, very delicate and though the dorsal sepal often lies forward over the pouch, have beautiful spotting in the pouch and a lovely yellow and red-spotted staminode. The name Sparrow's-egg fits them beautifully.