Cypripedium guttatum

Location Yukon
Specific Habitat

A northern species, partially circumpolar in distribution, but appearing to be relatively rare in Canada. The lower portions of open forested mountain slopes, moist riverbanks and open birch forests. One colony located in the region of Dawson City, Yukon, appears to be a colony of about a thousand plants among poplars on a mountain slope. The growing area is devoid of other flowering plants, and the floor appeared clean except for a tiny berried shrub.

Flowering SeasonMid June to early July.

Ht. to 30 cm., leaves two, somewhat erect, clasping the stem at the base; flower white, blotched with magenta; dorsal sepal broad and cape-like, projecting over the lip; lip about two cm. in length, globular, with long hairs on the inner surface.
The lip edges are polished so that an alighting insect slithers to the bottom of the pouch. Ladder-like hairs at the back of the pouch provide an escape route and bring the insect in contact with stigma and anther, providing pollination of the flower.


The Yukon plant is considered to be one variety. The other, var. yatabeanum, is found in Alaska and parts of Asia, having yellowish-green flowers with brownish blotches. Grows in exposed situations in seepage areas and boggy grasslands.


Native Orchids of the United States and Canada


© Royal Botanical Gardens, Dr. Donald Gunn Image Collection.