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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Fairy Slipper - Calypso bulbosa

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S4S5
C-value: 6

Agency Status


External Links

General Description
Stems 5–20 cm, scapose with 2 sheathing bracts. Leaf basal, solitary, petiolate; blade glabrous, ovate, 3–6 cm long. Inflorescence a solitary flower subtended by a purplish, linear bract, 8–20 mm long. Flowers: sepals purple, lanceolate, 14–22 mm long, erect; upper 2 petals similar; lip petal forming a white- and purple-spotted pouch, ca. 2 cm long, open at the top, yellow within; margin of the orifice (lamina) bearded with paired horns near the front; column obovate, yellowish, hood-like over the lip. Capsule lanceoloid, 20–35 mm long (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

We have varieties occidentalis (Holz.) B. Boivin and americana (R. Br). Luer.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
Circumboreal south to CA, AZ, CO, MI and NY (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 116

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)


The following animal species have been reported as pollinators of this plant species or its genus where their geographic ranges overlap: Bombus centralis, Bombus fervidus, Bombus flavifrons, Bombus frigidus, Bombus melanopygus, Bombus mixtus, Bombus rufocinctus, and Bombus occidentalis (Ackerman 1981).

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Ackerman, J.D. 1981. Pollination biology of Calypso bulbosa var. occidentalis (Orchidaceae): a food-deception system. Madroño 28(3): 101-110.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Culver, D.R. 1994. Floristic analysis of the Centennial Region, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Montana State University, Bozeman. 199 pp.
    • Johnson, T. W. 1982. An analysis of pack and saddle stock grazing areas in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. M.Sc.Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 105 p.
    • Martinka, R.R. 1970. Structural characteristics and ecological relationships of male blue grouse (Dendragapus obscurus (Say)) territories in southwestern Montana. Ph.D Dissertation. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 73 p.
    • Simanonok, M. 2018. Plant-pollinator network assembly after wildfire. Ph.D. Dissertation. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 123 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Fairy Slipper — Calypso bulbosa.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from