Before big pharma natural medicinal remedies were very common.  The lady slipper (Cypripedium acaule) was so popular that it was foraged to the point of being very hard to find.  Nowadays if you know where to look you can find this medicinal flowering orchid beauty.  Harvesting the lady slipper in the wild is discouraged as they are endangered.

In the eastern third of the US and parts of Canada you’ll find the lady slipper.  But particularly common in the Appalachians mountains is the pink lady slipper.  In mid spring they emerge and bloom.  It takes years for the lady slipper to develop into mature plants.

Lady Slipper in bloom 4/23/2021 – Southern Appalachian

The benefits of the lady slipper were many.  Reportedly often used for insomnia, tooth aches, nervousness and in higher doses it can cause hallucinations, confusion and delusions.  The Cherokee Indians would take the root of the (moccasin plant) and press it against a tooth ache for relief.  Non-narcotic and non addictive, preparations can be found at  Be careful if you find fresh lady slipper because the leaves may cause dermatitis.

The lady slipper is a master in disguise to achieve pollination.  The flower’s beauty and aroma attracts bees that enter and can only exit the flower one way that passes over the stigma and transfers the pollen.  Interestingly the bee never gets a reward as the lady slipper doesn’t produce any nectar.  Bees are required to pollinate this orchid.  And unlike most seeds that have onboard nutrients to sprout, the lady slipper requires yet another oddity of nature to survive – fungus (Rhizoctonia genus).  Threads of a particular fungus are required to open the seeds and provide the nutrients for sprouting the seeds.

This article is authored by Brant Meadows, Broker –

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