The plant is almost always found in shaded areas, often along trails and openings in the woodlands where its bright pink color stands out and is easily seen, even though the plant and flower are very small, the plant usually about 20 cm or less and the flowers about 3 cm.
There are some variations, but the plant is usually single flowered and usually has a single leaf that persists after the flower is finished. It is relatively common in our area and we have almost always found it when hiking in the spring in the North Cascades.
Its common name is Hider-of-the-North, a very appropriate name because of its small size and also because it is usually found as a single plant and flower, though when it is happy it will often form large stands, but these are vulnerable to changes in the habitat.
There are actually four varieties of this orchid, one variety found only in Japan and another found across northern Eurasia. The other two are found in North America, varieties americana and occidentalis, both of them shown below and distinguished by the color of the "beard."
Calypso bulbosa var. americana, the Eastern Fairy Slipper, is the more common variety and the only variety found east of the Rocky Mountains. It is easily distinguished by its yellow beard and white lip and is the more brightly colored of the two North American varieties.