Yellow lady slippers and other yellow things May 20, 2013Posted by Jenny in nature, photography, plants, Southern Appalachians.
Tags: azalea, bluets, cinquefoil, Fisher Creek, fleabane, golden alexander, lousewort, Plott Balsams, roundleaf ragwort, yellow lady slippers
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Lady slippers—lovely, bizarre, delicate, bold, faintly tropical, somehow sexual. A plant of contradictions.
I’ve seen pink lady slippers every spring, whether up in New England or in the southern Appalachians. I hadn’t seen the yellow ones for years. I never made a special pilgrimage to find them in places they’re known to live, like White Oak Sinks. I just kept taking my walks in the spring, knowing I’d see them sooner or later. I found two clumps of them today in the Plott Balsams.
“The conspicuous slipperlike pouch formed by the lower petal is a trap for capturing bees, which are released only after being coated with pollen. American Indians used the roots of these plants, as did 19th century physicians, for many types of nervous ailments such as hysteria, insomnia, and premenstrual syndrome.” —Appalachian Wildflowers, Thomas E. Hemmerly.
I enjoyed the color yellow in other things I saw today.