Pink Lady’s Slippers or Moccasin Flowers
An interesting article by Kyhl Lyndgaard opens with the following:
One year before the passage of the Indian Removal Act in 1830, Almira Lincoln Phelps published the first edition of her Familiar Lectures of Botany. Phelps wrote that “the Orchis tribe” are “opposing all attempts at civilization, [and] are to be found only in the depths of the forest…. we may, in this respect, compare them to the aboriginal inhabitants of America, who seem to prefer their own native wilds to the refinements and luxuries of civilized life.” Many species of native orchids were commonly called moccasin flowers at the beginning of the 19th century. Yet by 1900, the usual term was the same as that used in England: the lady’s slipper. This shift in plant names ominously mirrors social perceptions of the apparent need for Indian removal during the same period.
Lyndgaard continues with a brief sketch of the arrival of the “more civilized” term: Lady’s Slipper.
These flowers are found in Maine and noticeable along hiking trails. A single flower is perched on a 12-inch stalk from several 7-inch oval shaped leaves at the base. The veins in the flower are usually pink but occasionally pure white.
They are found in the woods, especially under pine trees and bogs, blooming from May to June. These flowers do not transplant due to their dependence on the local soil composition.
Lyndgaard, Khyl. “Taking Off the Moccasin Flower and Putting On the Lady’s Slipper.” Potash Hill: The Magazine of Marlboro College. https://potash.marlboro.edu/node/60 (accessed June 29, 2015)