The showy lady’s slipper (Cypripedium reginae) is the state flower of Minnesota. The flower, which is popularly known as the pink and white lady’s slipper, is one of the rarest wildflowers in Minnesota. The plant is listed as threatened and endangered in several states and by some plant organizations. The showy lady’s slipper was officially designated as the state flower of Minnesota in 1967. These plants have a very long lifespan and can live up to 50 years. However, they develop very slowly and may take up to 16 years to produce the first flowers. The plants commonly grow in bogs, swamps, and other wet or damp places.
The showy lady’s slippers are the tallest of the northern orchids. They are usually between 1-3 feet tall. The plants have hairy, leafy stalks that bear one large flower in most cases. Rarely do the plants produce more than one flower. The flower is partitioned into six petals. The petals and the sepals of the flower are oblong and white. Under the twisted petals, there blooms a single pink floral globe. The leaves of the flower are hairy, large, and elliptical. The plant usually has 3 to 7 leaves under the flower.
Uses Of The Showy Lady’s Slipper
The showy lady’s slipper has been used for medicinal purposes. It has been used to treat toothaches, dermatitis, headaches, anxiety, and depression; it is used as an antispasmodic stimulant and a sedative. It is commonly introduced into the body as tea, from tea bags. Despite being medicinal, the flower has been known to cause some allergies. It can cause rashes on the hands and face. The Minnesota state government has been protecting the showy lady’s slippers since 1925 even though it was officially recognized as the state flower in 1967. No one is allowed to pick or uproot the plant in Minnesota. Thus, most people believe that Minnesotans considered the flower as their state flower long before it was officially adopted. Showy lady’s slipper is also Prince Edwards Island’s provincial flower.
Adopting The Showy Lady’s Slipper
The first attempts to adopt the showy lady’s slipper as the state flower can be traced back to 1893. A petition presented by the Women’s Auxiliary was discussed in the Senate. The women were against having the moccasin flower (Cypripedium calceolus) as the state flower because it was not found in Minnesota. They called for an adoption of a state flower that was found within the state. The petition pushed for the showy lady’s slipper to be made the state flower of Minnesota. However, there was no clear evidence that the Senate adopted the flower as the state flower in that year. It was until 1902 that women from St. Anthony Study Claire again began pushing to have the flower adopted as the state flower. The Senate finally passed the bill naming the Showy lady’s slipper as Minnesota state flower on February 18, 1902. The designation of the lady’s slipper as the official state flower of Minnesota was written into law in 1967.
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