Minnesota has often been affectionately nicknamed as the land of 10,000 lakes, so it should come as no surprise that the flower this state picked to represent it, the Pink and White Lady Slipper, thrives in a wet, swampy environment. The Pink and White Lady Slipper was considered the state flower of Minnesota long before it was officially made such. The Women’s Auxiliary to the World’s Fair petitioned the state in 1893, the state Senate passed a resolution in 1902, the state House concurred decades later, and the official state flower emblem was written into law in 1967.
The Pink and White Lady Slipper is also known as the Showy Lady Slipper Orchid, and the botanical name is Cypripedium Reginae. It is one of the rarest wildflowers in the state of Minnesota and at one time the Lady Slipper was thought not to exist there in the wild in the state, causing a controversy over the flower being chosen to represent that state. It has since been proven that it does exist in the wild but is extremely rare and can be hard to find. In 1925, the state passed a law making it illegal to harvest, sell, or even possess the plant in the state to protect the small population of plants. Part of what makes it so rare is the long rate it takes to mature and flower, up to 16 years. The plant can live up to 50+ years and only flowers for a very short time from late June to early July. The best place to view them in their natural habitat is between Cass Lake and Blackduck Minnesota along the Lady Slipper Scenic Byway in Chippewa National Forest.