Cypripedium kentuckiense - C.F. Reed
Southern Lady's-slipper
Other English Common Names: Southern Yellow Lady's-slipper
Other Common Names: Kentucky lady's slipper
Synonym(s): Cypripedium furcatum Raf.
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Cypripedium kentuckiense C.F. Reed (TSN 501942)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.140924
Element Code: PMORC0Q0F0
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Orchid Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Monocotyledoneae Orchidales Orchidaceae Cypripedium
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Cypripedium kentuckiense
Taxonomic Comments: Cypripedium kentuckiense was recognized as a distinct species in the 1970s; it was formerly confused with various other members of the Cypripedium calceolus group. Isozyme data suggest that Cypripedium kentuckiense should be recognized as a distinct species, possibly of recent origin from Cypripedium parviflorum (Case et al. 1998).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3
Global Status Last Reviewed: 29Apr2010
Global Status Last Changed: 04Nov1986
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: Cypripedium kentuckiense occurs in a somewhat narrow range from the Cumberland Plateau of eastern Kentucky and northern Tennessee with outlier populations in central Georgia and Coastal Plain Virginia, west to the Interior Highlands of Arkansas and southeastern Oklahoma, and south to the Gulf Coastal Plain of Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi. Its moderate range is somewhat misleading as most sites/populations are quite small; approximately 100-200 occurrences are believed extant, but less than 30 of these may good viability. Collection is a significant threat with many incidents of poaching documented. Other threats include herbivory by white-tailed deer, disturbance by feral hogs, road construction, and habitat destruction due to logging, pine agriculture, and reservoir construction. This species' habitat has been considerably reduced from its historical extent. Believed to be moderately declining in Arkansas and significantly declining in Kentucky; these two states contain the majority of extant occurrences. However, occurrences in some other parts of the range appear to be stable.
Nation: United States
National Status: N3

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S1), Arkansas (S3), Georgia (S1), Kentucky (S1S2), Louisiana (S1), Mississippi (S1), Oklahoma (S2), Tennessee (S2), Texas (S1), Virginia (S1)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Cypripedium kentuckiense is found on the Cumberland Plateau of Kentucky and northern Tennessee; the Tennessee Uplands; the Interior Highlands of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and potentially Missouri (many sites in the Ouachita Mountains and some in the Ozark Mountains); the Piedmont and Gulf/Upper Gulf Coastal Plains of Alabama and the Gulf Coastal Plain of Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi (Oklahoma Natural Heritage Inventory 2001, A. Schotz, pers. comm., 2002). Also occurs disjunctly on the Atlantic Coastal Plain of Virginia and Georgia (T. Patrick, pers. comm., 2002).

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300
Number of Occurrences Comments: Approximately 100-200 occurrences are believed extant (about 100 confirmed extant and 100 not yet assessed). Approximately half of these occurrences are in Arkansas, with significant numbers in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Louisiana as well, and the remainder scattered throughout the rest of range. An additional 19 occurrences are considered historical or extirpated.

Population Size Comments: Some Arkansas occurrences are large (e.g., 400 plants), but many elsewhere in the range are small; for example, many Oklahoma and east Texas occurrences have 1-7 plants.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Few to some (4-40)
Viability/Integrity Comments: At least 10 Arkansas occurrences are believed to have excellent viability; these sites have over 100 plants and favorable conditions for persistence. Up to 20 occurrences may have excellent or good viability outside of Arkansas, but this is very likely an overestimate.

Overall Threat Impact: Very high - high
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Collection is a significant threat. Cypripedium kentuckiense is actively collected for sale (D. White, pers. comm. 2002) and pressure to raid natural populations may be increasing, even though the species is advertised by several nurseries as available laboratory-propagated (T. Patrick pers. comm., 2002). Serious collection pressure exists in Arkansas, with documented incidents of poaching (T. Witsell, pers. comm. 2006, 2010). The Georgia site is treated as confidential and access has been restricted to avoid unauthorized plant collection (T. Patrick, pers. comm. 2002). Herbivory by white-tailed deer is another serious threat across many parts of the range, and disturbance by feral hogs is an issue in a number of areas. In addition, road/highway construction is a threat in many areas, both the actual construction taking place on a site where the plants occur and the resultant changes in hydrology over a wider area (Tennessee Natural Heritage Program 2001, D. White, pers. comm. 2002, T. Witsell pers. comm. 2010). Also threatened by other types of habitat destruction such as logging, pine agriculture, and reservoir construction (Oklahoma Natural Heritage Inventory 2001). At the Georgia site, logging of hardwoods and conversion to pine monoculture is an imminent threat (T. Patrick, pers. comm. 2002). In Texas, some sites contain no reproductive individuals, likely because Texas represents a relict area of distribution for this species (J. Poole and J. Singhurst pers. comm. 2010).

Short-term Trend: Decline of 30-50%
Short-term Trend Comments: Poulations fluctuate widely year-to-year, making trends difficult to determine. In Arkansas, some sites appear to be "thriving" (Ouachita National Forest 2001), but the species is estimated to be moderately declining overall; collection/poaching is a serious threat and road construction is an issue (T. Witsell, pers. comm., 2006, 2010). The status is apparently improving in Oklahoma (Oklahoma Natural Heritage Inventory 2001). East Texas occurrences appear to be fairly stable; and most are on protected lands (J. Poole and J. Singhurst, pers. comm. 2010). It is in considerable decline (> 50%) in population size and extent throughout its range in Kentucky; no Kentucky populations have been increasing (D. White, pers. comm., 2002, 2010). One of the five known Alabama populations (all of them small) recently fell victim to plant poachers (A. Schotz, pers. comm., 2002). The Georgia site appears to be a young population slowly expanding, with several juveniles scattered some distance from a half dozen clustered flowering plants (T. Patrick, pers. comm., 2002).

Long-term Trend: Decline of 50-90%
Long-term Trend Comments: Considerable loss of this species' historical habitat has occurred rangewide. In Arkansas, Ouachita river terraces habitat has been greatly reduced from its historical extent (T. Witsell, pers. comm. 2010). There has also been significant habitat loss in east Texas and Louisiana, where it is estimated that less than 20-30% of this species' historical habitat remains (J. Poole and J. Singhurst, pers. comm. 2010). In Kentucky, historical habitat loss is estimated to exceed 50% (D. White, pers. comm. 2010).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Cypripedium kentuckiense is found on the Cumberland Plateau of Kentucky and northern Tennessee; the Tennessee Uplands; the Interior Highlands of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and potentially Missouri (many sites in the Ouachita Mountains and some in the Ozark Mountains); the Piedmont and Gulf/Upper Gulf Coastal Plains of Alabama and the Gulf Coastal Plain of Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi (Oklahoma Natural Heritage Inventory 2001, A. Schotz, pers. comm., 2002). Also occurs disjunctly on the Atlantic Coastal Plain of Virginia and Georgia (T. Patrick, pers. comm., 2002).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, AR, GA, KY, LA, MS, OK, TN, TX, VA

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AL Clarke (01025)*, Coosa (01037), Hale (01065)*, Lowndes (01085)*, Sumter (01119), Talladega (01121), Washington (01129)*
AR Boone (05009), Clark (05019), Crawford (05033), Cross (05037), Franklin (05047), Garland (05051), Grant (05053), Hempstead (05057), Howard (05061), Jefferson (05069), Johnson (05071), Lincoln (05079), Madison (05087), Montgomery (05097), Nevada (05099), Newton (05101), Ouachita (05103), Perry (05105), Pike (05109), Polk (05113), Pulaski (05119), Saline (05125), Sevier (05133), St. Francis (05123), Yell (05149)
GA Laurens (13175), Wilkinson (13319)
KY Carter (21043)*, Jackson (21109), Knox (21121), Laurel (21125), Lee (21129), Lewis (21135), McCreary (21147), Owsley (21189), Powell (21197), Pulaski (21199), Rowan (21205), Wolfe (21237)
LA Bienville (22013), Bossier (22015), Caldwell (22021), Catahoula (22025), De Soto (22031), Evangeline (22039), Franklin (22041), Grant (22043), Jackson (22049), La Salle (22059), Lincoln (22061), Natchitoches (22069), Ouachita (22073), Rapides (22079), Red River (22081), Sabine (22085), Union (22111), Vernon (22115), Winn (22127)*
MS Clay (28025), Lee (28081)
OK Choctaw (40023)*, LeFlore (40079), McCurtain (40089), Pushmataha (40127)
TN Decatur (47039), Franklin (47051), Scott (47151)
TX Cass (48067), Harrison (48203), Nacogdoches (48347)*, Newton (48351)*, Red River (48387), Sabine (48403), San Augustine (48405)
VA Lancaster (51103)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
02 Lower Rappahannock (02080104)+
03 Lower Oconee (03070102)+, Lower Coosa (03150107)+, Middle Alabama (03150203)+*, Upper Tombigbee (03160101)+, Town (03160102)+, Tibbee (03160104)+, Lower Black Warrior (03160113)+*, Middle Tombigbee-Chickasaw (03160201)+, Lower Tambigbee (03160203)+*
05 Little Scioto-Tygarts (05090103)+*, Ohio Brush-Whiteoak (05090201)+, Licking (05100101)+, Upper Kentucky (05100204)+, Upper Cumberland (05130101)+, Rockcastle (05130102)+, South Fork Cumberland (05130104)+
06 Upper Elk (06030003)+, Lower Tennessee-Beech (06040001)+
08 Lower St. Francis (08020203)+, Ouachita Headwaters (08040101)+, Upper Ouachita (08040102)+, Little Missouri (08040103)+, Lower Ouachita-Bayou De Loutre (08040202)+, Upper Saline (08040203)+, Bayou Bartholomew (08040205)+, Bayou D'arbonne (08040206)+, Lower Ouachita (08040207)+, Castor (08040302)+, Dugdemona (08040303)+, Little (08040304)+, Boeuf (08050001)+, Bayou Teche (08080102)+, Whisky Chitto (08080204)+
11 Beaver Reservoir (11010001)+, Buffalo (11010005)+, Poteau (11110105)+, Frog-Mulberry (11110201)+, Fourche La Fave (11110206)+, Lower Arkansas-Maumelle (11110207)+, Kiamichi (11140105)+, Pecan-Waterhole (11140106)+, Upper Little (11140107)+, Mountain Fork (11140108)+, Lower Little (11140109)+, Middle Red-Coushatta (11140202)+, Red Chute (11140204)+, Bayou Pierre (11140206)+, Lower Red-Lake Iatt (11140207)+, Black Lake Bayou (11140209)+, Lower Sulphur (11140302)+, Caddo Lake (11140306)+
12 Toledo Bend Reservoir (12010004)+, Lower Sabine (12010005)+, Upper Angelina (12020004)+*, Lower Angelina (12020005)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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General Description: Perennial herb, 13 - 39 inches (35 - 97 cm) tall, with 3 - 6 leaves evenly distributed along the stem. Leaves 5 - 9 inches (13 - 24 cm) long and 1 - 6 inches (4.3 - 15 cm) wide, broadly oval with pointed tips and clasping leaf bases, alternate. Flowers 1 - 2 per
plant, at the top of the stem, with an erect, green bract behind each flower; a white or pale
yellow, pouch-like lip petal (slipper) up to 2 inches (5 cm) wide and 2 inches (6.5 cm) long
with a large opening on the upper surface; 2 spirally twisted, drooping petals, up to 6 inches
(15.6 cm) long; and 2 sepals, one curved over the top of the flower and another curved behind
the slipper; sepals and petals are maroon or greenish-yellow marked with purple spots. Fruit a
capsule about 2 inches (6 cm) long (Chafin 2007).

Technical Description: Plants erect, 3597 cm. Leaves 36, rather evenly spaced along stem, alternate, spreading; blade broadly ovate to ovate-lanceolate or ovate-elliptic, 1324 4.315 cm. Flowers 12; sepals greenish or yellowish, heavily spotted, striped, reticulately marked with dark reddish brown or madder; dorsal sepal broadly ovate to ovate and elliptic, 61126 2465 mm; lateral sepals connate; synsepal 55103 1240 mm; petals spreading-deflexed, same color as sepals, spirally twisted, linear, 84156 715 mm; lip ivory to pale yellow, obovoid, (41)5365 mm; orifice basal, 2737 mm; staminode broadly ovoid, ovoid-cordiform, or ovoid-deltoid (Sheviak 2002).

Duration: PERENNIAL
Reproduction Comments: Cypripedium kentuckiense flowers from mid-April to early May and the capsule of tiny seeds is mature from July to August (Chafin 2007). The seeds are tiny and dust-like, containing no stored food reserves, and are dispersed by wind and probably water also. They must land on a patch of soil containing a specific fungus that provides nutrients for germination (Chafin 2007).
Known Pests: Feral hogs are a known threat to this orchid. Overbrowsing by deer is also a threat (Chafin 2007).
Riverine Habitat(s): SPRING/SPRING BROOK
Palustrine Habitat(s): FORESTED WETLAND, Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest/Woodland
Habitat Comments: Mesic, shaded areas in mature floodplain forests, near streams and creeks (e.g., sandy stream terraces on flats right above active floodplain) and in ravines. Also associated with woodland acid spring seeps, where often found on seepage margins (Ouachita National Forest 2001), and with forested limestone seeps adjacent to bayheads (T. Patrick, pers. comm., 2002).
Economic Attributes
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Economically Important Genus: Y
Production Method: Cultivated, Wild-harvested
Economic Comments: Cypripedium kentuckiense is propagated and grown by several nurseries which specialize in orchid propagation. Collection of wild plants continues to be a threat.
Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: Protection of habitat of the population is important. This includes control of exotic plants, and feral hogs which may root up these rare plants. Population enhancement by seed collection, nursery propagation, and reintroduction of nursery grown seedlings back to the same site the seed was collected is a promising approach.
Preserve Selection & Design Considerations: This is a wetland plant which tolerates some flooding. Maintenance of the natural flood regime for the creeks where the populations occur is an important part of site conservation planning.
Monitoring Requirements: Populations may fluctuate from year to year so this needs to be accomodated in monitoring. Most populations are small enough that total census, or census of all flowering plants is appropriate.
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 12Jul2002
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: D. Gries(1997), rev. V. Ham and K. Maybury (2002), rev. K. Gravuer (2010)
Management Information Edition Date: 04Aug2011
Management Information Edition Author: Nordman, Carl.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 04Aug2011
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Nordman, Carl.

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Atwood, J. T. 1985. The range of Cypripedium kentuckiense. American Orchid Society Bulletin 54(10): 1197-1199.

  • Cammack, S., and T. Patrick. 2000. A Kentucky find: the Georgia discovery of the Kentucky ladyslipper (Cypripedium kentuckiense). Tipularia 15:17-22.

  • Chafin, L.G, J.C. Putnam Hancock, and H. Nourse. 2007. Field guide to the rare plants of Georgia. State Botanical Garden of Georgia, Athens, Georgia.

  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2002a. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 26. Magnoliophyta: Liliidae: Liliales and Orchidales. Oxford Univ. Press, New York. xxvi + 723 pp.

  • Kartesz, J. T. 1991. Synonym names from 1991 checklist, as extracted by Larry Morse, TNC, June 1991.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Morse, L. 24 Aug 1981. Memorandum to Cypripedium kentuckiense file.

  • Oklahoma Natural Heritage Inventory. 2001. Oklahoma Natural Heritage Pages: Cypripedium kentuckiense. Available: http://www.biosurvey.ou.edu/candhome.html. Accessed July 12, 2002.

  • Ouachita National Forest. May 1, 2001. Ouachita National Forest: Management Indicator Species Report. Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/oonf/ouachita.htm. Accessed July 12, 2002.

  • Poole, Jackie M., W. R. Carr, D. M. Price, and J. R. Singhurst. 2007. Rare plants of Texas. Texas A&M University Press, College Station. 640 pp.

  • Wilson, M. F. 2007b. Medicinal Plant Fact Sheet: Cypripedium: Ladys slipper orchids. A collaboration of the IUCN Medicinal Plant Specialist Group, PCA-Medicinal Plant Working Group, and North American Pollinator Protection Campaign. Arlington, Virginia. September 2007. Accessed 3 August 2011. http://www.pollinator.org/Resources/Cypripedium.draft.pdf.

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