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Delicate Beauty

The Fairy Slipper (Calypso bulbosa), Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, Montana, June 2016. The Fairy Slipper is a tiny North American Orchid native to Alaska, Canada and the Northern United States from Washington to Maine. The diminutive wildflower (dime-sized) is considered one of the most beautiful wildflowers of North America. The genus name Calypso is from the Greek mythical nymph in Homer's Odyssey and the species name bulbosa is latin referring to the bulb structure of the root. The sepals are modified to create the basin or slipper which emits a vanilla- like fragrance to lure bees into the "slipper" or pouch. As they exit, the insects rub against the pollen bearing "column" of the slipper and transfer the pollen to the next orchid.

fairy slippercalypso bulbosamacromontanaorchidwildflowerplant