PO Box 1306, Pennington, MN 56663

About Lady’s Slippers

The Showy Lady Slipper is Minnesota’s state flower, also known as the Pink & White Lady Slipper, Cypripedium reginae (Showy Lady Slipper Orchid).

The Showy Lady Slipper is one of Minnesota’s rarest wildflowers. Thriving in swamps, bogs and damp woods, they grow slowly, taking 4-16 years to produce their first flower. They can live up to 50 years and grow up to 4 feet tall. They bloom in late June to early July and there are more than 10,000 Showy Lady Slippers along the Lady Slipper Scenic Byway, between Cass Lake and Blackduck Minnesota.

Viewing Lady’s Slippers along the byway.

Adoption of the Minnesota State Flower

Minnesota Senator W. B. Dean sponsored a resolution naming the wild lady slipper (Cypripedium calceolus), the state’s official state flower. It was passed by the legislature on February 3, 1893. However, a controversy ensued when the ladies of the Saint Anthony Study Circle of Minneapolis announced that Cypripedium calceolus was not found in Minnesota! On February 2, 1902, the Minneapolis Tribune reported “State Flower A Fake”. The legislature, embarrassed by the publicity, moved quickly to correct the situation and on February 19, 1902, Cypripedium reginae was adopted as the official flower of the State of Minnesota.

Minnesota State Statutes

On April 25, 1925 the Minnesota Legislature passed a law saying that “ …no person within the State of Minnesota knowingly shall buy, sell, offer of expose for sale, the state flower, or any species of lady slippers, or any member of the orchid family… ” Over the years, this law has been modified significantly, and the following information is excerpted from the Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 1, Section 1.142 and Chapter 18H, Section 18H.18:

ECTION 1.142.

1.142 State flower.

Subdivision 1. Lady slipper. The pink and white lady slipper, Cypripedium reginae, is the official flower of the state of Minnesota.

Subd. 2. Photograph. A photograph of the pink and white lady slipper, obtained and approved by the commissioner of natural resources, shall be preserved in the Office of the Secretary of State.

HIST: 1967 c 291 s 1; 1969 c 1129 art 3 s 1; 1984 c 628 art 1 s 1

Copyright 2004 by the Office of Revisor of Statutes, State of Minnesota.


18H.18 Conservation of certain wildflowers.

Subdivision 1. Restrictions on collecting. No person shall distribute the state flower (Cypripedium reginae), or any species of lady slipper (Cypripedieae), any member of the orchid family, any gentian (Gentiana), arbutus (epigaea repens), lilies (Lilium), coneflowers (Echinacea), bloodroot (Sanguinaria Canadensis), mayapple (Podophyllum peltatutum), any species of trillium, or lotus (Nelumbo lutea), which have been collected in any manner from any public or private property without the written permission of the property owner and written authorization from the commissioner.

Subd. 2. Collection without sale. Wildflower collection from public or private land for the purpose of transplanting the plants to a person's private property and not offering for immediate sale, requires the written permission from the property owner of the land on which the wildflowers are growing.

Subd. 3. Collection with intent to sell or distribute wildflowers. (a) The wildflowers listed in this section may be offered for immediate sale only if the plants are to be used for scientific or herbarium purposes.

(b) The wildflowers listed in this section must not be collected and sold commercially unless the plants are:

  1. growing naturally, collected, and cultivated on the collector's property; or
  2. collected through the process described in subdivision 2 and transplanted and cultivated on the collector's property.

(c) The collector must obtain a written permit from the commissioner before the plants may be offered for commercial sale.

HIST: 2003 c 128 art 5 s 17

Copyright 2004 by the Office of Revisor of Statutes, State of Minnesota.

Information on transplanting Lady's Slipper orchidsPDF