Kentucky Nature Preserves Rare Plants

Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission

Kentucky Lady's-slipper
Cypripedium kentuckiense
Family: Orchidaceae

Protection Status:
State Status:  E
USFWS Status: {null}

Global Rank: G3
State Rank: S1S2

Mesophytic forests on annually inundated floodplains of mid-sized or rarely large streams in sandy alluvium.

Species Description:
Perennial herb, orchid.

Flowering Period: Mid May to late June.

Additional Information at NatureServe

Diagnostic Characteristics:
This is one of the largest terrestrial orchids in the eastern U.S; it is 6-8 dm tall. It can be distinguished by dull yellow(cream) to white lip that is 5-6 cm long. The sepals and lateral petals are greenish-yellow varying to purplish brown. Flowers are large, the upper sepals are 7-8 cm long and the laterals petals 8-9 cm. The leaves are cauline rather than basal as in C. acaule.

Changes in moisture/hydrologic conditions of the habitat for this species would likely be detrimental. Changes could result from overstory removal, stream/wetland alteration or impacts due to erosion or soil deposition. Exotic pest plants are a threat to this species. Because of the threat of collection of this species, access to the site through trail or road construction should be limited.

Global Range:
Cypripedium kentuckiense is found on the Cumberland Plateau of Kentucky and northern Tennessee; the Tennessee Uplands; the Interior Highlands of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and potentially Missouri (many sites in the Ouachita Mountains and some in the Ozark Mountains); the Piedmont and Gulf/Upper Gulf Coastal Plains of Alabama and the Gulf Coastal Plain of Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi (Oklahoma Natural Heritage Inventory 2001, A. Schotz, pers. comm., 2002). Also occurs disjunctly on the Atlantic Coastal Plain of Virginia and Georgia (T. Patrick, pers. comm., 2002).

Known Kentucky Occurrences:

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Data last updated: Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission
801 Teton Trail
Frankfort,KY 40601
Phone: (502) 573-2886
Fax: (502) 573-2355
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