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MN Shutterbug

Lady Slippers - no pics

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I just read in our local paper that the theft of our state flower is on the rise. Yes, it's theft and very illegal and disturbing. A lady was recently observed taking these flowers from a public place near New Ulm recently. When the observant yelled at her that it was against the law, she just casually threw the flowers in her car and drove away. According to the paper, these flowers need the perfect environment to grow in, so transplanting them is pretty mcuh a waste of time.

I just urge everyone, if you see anyone as much as touching our state flower, be sure to alert the authorities. It's as simple as dialing #TIP on your cell phone. The lady slipper is too rare and fragile to lose.

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Good alert, Mike!

Showy ladyslippers (as with all Minnesota species of ladyslippers) need specific types of fungi present in the soil to enable them to germinate and grow. No fungi, no ladyslippers. Those fungi are not uncommon in north central and northeastern Minnesota, but soil tests should be done before trying to move ladyslippers onto new sites.

There are a few outlets that sell ladyslippers legitimately, but as Mike said, theft of wild specimens is becoming more common. It's been going on as long as people have enjoyed ladyslippers, but now it seems to be worse. It's not unusual to see someone in the ditch with a shovel and a few pots bent down as a driver approaches and then suddenly jerked upright and standing there all nonchalant as though the showy ladyslippers they're standing next to are the farthest thing from their minds.

I've seen this twice and have reported it each time. I'm uncertain on the laws about transplanting wildflowers in general in Minnesota, but it is against the law to move, pick or in any way harm showy ladyslippers.

My wife and I helped transplant hundreds of showy and yellow specimens from the MN Highway 11 median to a holding area on state land many years ago because the road was being completely redone. Later, those plants were moved back into the median of a highway that's noted for its ladyslippers. As a reward for helping, each individual was given a clump of ladyslippers with the soil/grass intact to transplant. We transplanted them on family property in the forest near our Bemidji area lake cabin, and also quite near where showy and yellow ladyslippers bloom. Unfortunately, that autumn kicked off a wet cycle that lasted several years, and the site we chose, which otherwise has been dry the whole time we have had the cabin, remained underwater for two years.

Sure would have been nice to have some of those beauties on our property, but it's a lot more nice to see them in great numbers out there on public lands for everyone to enjoy.

I hate seeing people steal them. frown Thanks again for the heads up, Mike. We should be extra vigilant.

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I noticed that some Showy ladyslippers got trampled in Itasca State Park, while I was on vacation. There was a board walk that went right past them. And yet some how they got trampled. I wish people would show a little more respect for these plants and other cool organisms.

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