Pollination of Lady's Slippers
Does anyone know what pollinates the Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium sp.), especially Large Yellow Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium calceolus var. pubescens) and White Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium candidum), and what the maximum distance for pollination would be? I would suspect Bumble Bees which pollinate the Pink Lady's Slipper (C. acaule).
There is a population of Yellow Lady's Slippers in Shenandoah National Park and there are two distinct forms. I suspect that the smaller form is actually a hybrid (C. × favillianum) with the rare White Lady's Slipper. Currently the White Lady's Slipper is known from only one location in southwest VA (although other locations are known in other states).
- I poked around for information on Cypripediums and found this study:
'Enhancing the trap of ladys slippers: a new technique for discovering
pollinators yields new data from Cypripedium parviflorum' by Case &
Bradford. The Cypripediums are 'trap pollinators' with the only way out
through a trap door in the back.
The researchers cleverly closed the back door with a paper clip so they
could ascertain who the pollinators are. Here's what they mention in the
abstract: 'Ten species of hymenopteran visitors in the families
Andrenidae, Apidae, Halictidae and Megachilidae were observed, with two
female Andrena tridens and one male Adrena perplexa successfully removing
pollen.' Andrenas seemed to be the star performers. Honeybees need not
I think we'll try this locally this summer; we have a lot of Cyprepedium
> I searched and Illinois Wildflower Society cites that it has beenobserved to be pollinated by Andrenoid Bees.