Spectacular Wild Flower Tour June 19th
Minnesota’s State Flower is the Showy Lady Slipper and Lake of the Woods is the spot to view this spectacular flower. Since 1925, the state has regulated the collection and commercial sale of this species. The showy lady’s-slipper is one of 43 orchid species that grow in Minnesota. Many people consider it the most beautiful flower in the state.
This wild flower is a brightly-colored orchid that has one or sometimes two blossoms on a single stem. White petals sit on top of a white pouch (slipper) streaked with pink. Hairy oval leaves clasp the stem. It usually grows one to two feet tall. It features the colors of pink, red, white, and green.
The lady’s slipper flowers from early June to mid-July. It flowers best in bright sunlight, although it will grow in semi-shaded areas. In its first year, this orchid grows only as tall as a pencil point. Each year, the lady’s slipper may produce a half-million seeds, which are as fine as flour dust. This flower has a long life span; some may be 100 years old.
The lady’s slipper grows in spruce and tamarack bogs, swamps, wet meadows, wet prairies, and cool, damp woods. It may be found anywhere in Minnesota where these habitats exist.
They became the state flower of Minnesota in 1902, where there were favored adornments of rural, church alters until it became illegal to pick the flowers or dig up the plants in 1925. It has been adopted as a border on the state flag.
Another favorite along roadsides is the “yellow lady slipper”. It has a bright yellow lower lip, the slipper, that is red-spotted inside. The upper sepals are light to dark burgundy and twist outward in spirals. Deer love to eat this plant. The plant varies per region as to the size of the flower and leaves and the amount of hairiness on the leaves and stems.
Each year the Williams Garden Club of Lake of the Woods sponsors a Wildflower Tour featuring flowers of all kinds that are native to this area. Of course, the feature flower is the Lady’s Slipper but many many other species of flowers are noted and ready for view. This year’s Wildflower Tour will happen on June 19th. People from all over the country travel to this area to take part of this event.
As mentioned before, the Pink Showy Lady Slipper is always the star of the show. The Williams Gardeners go around the tour route in Williams, MN a few days before the event. They always hope to find them in bloom. Sometimes Mother Nature cooperates and sometimes not! The Lady Slipper’s bloom is spectacular with three white, pointed, upper petal-like sepals and one large, inflated petal and white lower petal often veined in deep pink and hairy flowering stalks. They love wet areas, lots of sun and swampy soil, moist woodlands and are frequently found in the ditches along our railroad tracks.
These precious flowers that are protected by the state take 15 years to mature and produce flowers. Therefore, these flowers should never be handled. When road construction happened years ago, gardeners had to receive permission from the state in order to transplant these precious flowers so they wouldn’t be destroyed.
Lady Slipper Park in Williams, MN is a great place to view this spectacular flower and will also be the spot to register and start your tour. Registration will be from 1:00-3:00 p.m. and you can come any time during that time frame. You will be given a map of the self-guided tour which is approximately 4 miles long. You will be able to view over 100 types of wild flowers that will have stakes by them. A Garden member will be stationed throughout the route for education and pamphlets will be available.wild-flower-map-2021
A new Scavenger Hunt for flowers will be available also as well as a water station and goodies. Did you know that even poison ivy is considered a flower? Yes, and education will be given out concerning that as well. For more information contact Pat at 1-218-783-2091.
Why not plan an outing to Lake of the Woods!?! We have over 50 resorts to serve you with great accommodations, great restaurants and of course, there’s always great fishing here. Check out all of your options at www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com/lodging