Slippers in the Swamp

Charles Macnamara was fascinated with wild orchids, especially Showy Lady’s-slippers. All orchids have three petals, one enlarged as a landing platform for pollinators. After a Bumble Bee lands inside a Lady’s-slipper’s pouch-petal, to escape it climbs a ladder of hairs at the pouch’s rear, rubbing against sticky pollen as it squeezes to freedom. That pollen is removed by the next Lady’s-slipper it visits.  It takes up to 17 years for this orchid to grow from seed!

Here, Showy Lady’s-slippers are struggling to survive because invasive Glossy Buckthorns are crowding it out and blocking the sunlight needed by these stunning wildflowers.