Continuing with the orchids of Manitoba series, today's entry features a species previously highlighted on Botany Photo of the Day: Cypripedium reginae, or the showy lady's-slipper. The difference is that this individual might be considered a pure white-flowered variant (PDF), which is uncommonly observed. Some people recognize the pure white-flowered variant as constituting a separate botanical form (f. albolabium), but the Flora of North America makes no such distinction: Cypripedium reginae. In this population of several hundred plants, all were paler than the typical (see previous BPotD entry), but only a few were pure white. This suggests to me that a white-flowered form should not be scientifically recognized, as the pink blushing varies along a more-or-less continuous gradient from being absent to strongly present. That said, it is worthwhile in horticulture to recognize colour variation. If seeking this species out for your garden (in any of its colour variants), be sure to purchase from a reputable nursery selling material propagated via tissue culture.
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