Increasing populations of Kentucky lady’s slipper orchid on the Kisatchie National Forest: seedling production and outplanting trialsThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
The Kentucky lady’s slipper orchid (Cypripedium kentuckiense C.F. Reed) is a tall, stately perennial plant with the largest flowers of any Cypripedium known. Its range includes much of the Southeastern United States, though it is rare throughout its range due to specific edaphic and climatic habitat requirements. In Louisiana, a few plants are located on four sites within the 600,000-acre Kisatchie National Forest (KNF). This effort is to increase populations of one of the most spectacular orchids native to the region. A high school student located a flowering orchid in the KNF, caused it to be pollinated, and later collected a fertile seed pod. A collaborative effort began between KNF, Southern Research Station, and Central Louisiana Orchid Society (CLOS) to restore the orchid on appropriate sites. Grants in 2006 from the Southwest Regional Orchid Growers Association and in 2007 from the U.S. Forest Service allowed CLOS to purchase plantlets grown from the collected seed pod. A research study is now underway to develop propagation protocols and compare effects of seedling age, fungal inoculation, and depth and season of planting on establishment success.