Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Varieties and Forms of Calypso bulbosa


The Fairy Slipper, Calypso bulbosa, has two American varieties, The Western Fairy Slipper, variety occidentalis, and the Eastern Fairy Slipper, variety americana.  There are two other varieties also, variety bulbosa, found in Europe and Asia, and variety speciosa, found in Japan, but neither of these is found in North America and are not the subject of this post.

The two native varieties' Latin names reflect their distribution, but the English names do not.  The Western Fairy Slipper is found only in the far west and is well named "occidentalis."  The Eastern Fairy Slipper is found all across northern North America except for a small area in the far west along the Pacific Coast and is better named "americana" than "Eastern."

The Eastern Fairy Slipper is easily distinguished by the yellow beard in the center of the lip and by the lack of brown spotting on the central lobe of the lip.  It has several forms, a white-flowered form, forma albiflora (not shown here - we've not seen it), a pink-flowered form also shown below, forma rosea, and a two-flowered form, forma biflora.

Calypso bulbosa var. americana



 Calypso bulbosa var. americana fma. rosea


The Western Fairy Slipper tends to be somewhat taller and is not as vividly colored as the other variety.  It has a white beard and heavy brownish-purple spotting.  This spotting varies in intensity and color, as does the pink color of the rest of the flower, which can be a very deep lavender-pink or a pink so pale it is nearly white.  It has only one form, a pure white form, forma nivea.

Calypso bulbosa var. occidentalis



Calypso bulbosa var. occidentalis fma. nivea

There is also a very rare hybrid between the two species, Calypso bulbosa x kostiukiae.  It is named after its discoverer and has the yellow beard of the eastern Fairy Slipper and a finely spotted lip that comes from the Western Fairy Slipper.  We finally found this hybrid in a location where it had been reported and where we had looked several years in a ro.

Calypso bulbosa x kostiukiae



Besides these varieties and forms there is considerable color variation in the flowers, especially of the Western Fairy Slipper.  They vary from the very intensely colored flowers to near-albinos as shown below.  The near-albino is clearly that for the lack of spotting on the lip and the nearly yellow color at the back of the pouch, where the flower is normally a brownish-purple.


10 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks once again for your kind comments and attention to my blog, Elisabete.

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  2. This flower has always seemed a little magic and is very beautiful photographs make it even more beautiful. Congratulations for the post. Hugs

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    1. Thanks, my friend, and it is magic. It's one of the first flowers to appear in spring and is rightly referred to as the Hider of the North, since it can very easily escape notice.

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  3. Great pics, as usual :) Is fma. nivea found in a specific range- or are isolated individuals scattered all over the place? I would love to see one of those someday- absolutely gorgeous!

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    1. The fma. nivea is found as isolated individuals in random locations. They are quite rare, however, and are usually hard to find though we found four of them last spring.

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  4. Thanks Ron, once again I long for Spring to get here in a hurry and to , once again, explore our favorite place for the Hiders of the North

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    1. Can't wait either. Not looking forward to winter. Have to show you the white ones we found this past spring.

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  5. Replies
    1. Thanks, Lou Anne. Trust you are keeping well.

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