Moccasin Flower

pink lady's slipper blossom
Moccasin Flower, Cypripedium acaule
2014

How did the moccasin flower come to be? The most famous story tells of an Ojibwe village, where many had fallen ill during the harsh winter. A girl determines that the only way to save her people is to run to the next village for medicine, and she runs so fast and so hard over the ice and snow that her moccasins fall to tatters and the ice cuts her feet, leaving droplets of blood along her trail. She returns with the medicine, saving her village, and in the spring wherever a droplet of blood had fallen, there a pink lady’s slipper grows.

Also known as the Pink Lady’s Slipper and Stemless Lady’s Slipper (called so because the true stem of the plant is entirely below ground; the leafless stalk that the flower blooms on is actually a scape), the Moccasin Flower is the floral emblem of Prince Edward Island and state wildflower of New Hampshire.