Wednesday, May 19, 2010

blissful ignorance

You must not know too much, or be too precise or scientific about birds and trees and flowers and water-craft; a certain free margin, and even vagueness - perhaps ignorance, credulity - helps your enjoyment of these things...
--Walt Whitman (1819-1892) American poet

These strange flowers, known as Lady's Slippers, are orchids that can be found from the Gulf Coast on up into Canada. However, in Tennessee it's officially protected as an endangered plant. While the saying 'Take only photos, leave only footsteps' always applies when exploring the woods, it's especially true in regards to Lady's Slippers. Those who attempt to transplant them end up killing them. The problem is that this flower's root system is so delicate and it grows under such specific conditions that transplanting is very rarely successful. Lady slippers require highly acidic soil and the presence of a specific fungus for their growth. So if you come across these strange and unique plants, just admire them, and as Whitman recommends, don't try to understand them or figure them out... just enjoy. They also come in a yellow variety which I've never encountered here in TN - if you find some yellow ones, please let me know!


  1. Great photos of the Pink Lady's Slipper!

    Roan Mt State Park has a few populations of Yellow Lady's Slipper.
    Here's a few photos I took about a week ago at Roan Mt.:

    The ones at Roan are probably already faded by now, but there may still be some in bloom up on Holston Mt.

  2. I found some yellow lady slippers at White Oak Sinks in the Smokies a couple weeks ago.

    There were a number of the pinks at Dennis Cove in TN.

  3. Found yellow lady slippers in Piney Gorge on Cumberland Trail. Check out my blog at scroll the archives..just a few weeks back and look at pic's from Piney Gorge hike. Hey...why don't you list my blog on your site! :-)


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