Cypripedium candidum
White lady slipper
Image of Cypripedium candidum

Photo by Bradford S. Slaughter 

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Key Characteristics

Small orchid (20-30 cm) of prairie fens and lakeplain prairies; leaves narrowly elliptic; flower a small ivory-white pouch-like slipper.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: T
  • State Rank: S2
  • Global Rank: G4


County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
St. Clair11991
St. Joseph12007
Van Buren32005
Distribution map for Cypripedium candidum

Updated 5/15/2018. Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.


Found in alkaline wetlands in southern Lower Michigan, particularly prairie fens and occasionally in lakeplain wet and wet-mesic prairies along coastal areas in the Thumb region.

Specific Habitat Needs

Edge needed in Rich tamarack swamp

Natural Community Types


For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Associated Plants

Trees: Larix laricina (tamarack).

Shrubs: Betula pumila (bog birch), Cornus spp. (dogwoods), Dasiphora fruticosa (shrubby cinquefoil), Rhamnus alnifolia (alder-leaved buckthorn), Salix spp. (willows), and Spiraea alba (meadowsweet).

Ground layer: Andropogon gerardii (big bluestem), Arnoglossum plantagineum (prairie Indian-plantain), Calamagrostis canadensis (blue-joint grass), Campanula aparinoides (marsh bellflower), Carex interior (inland sedge), C. sterilis (sterile sedge), C. stricta (tussock sedge), C. tetanica (rigid sedge), Cicuta maculata (water hemlock), Cladium mariscoides (twig-rush), Eleocharis elliptica (golden-seeded spike-rush), Eupatorium perfoliatum (common boneset), Eutrochium maculatum (Joe-pye-weed), Juncus spp. (rushes), Lysimachia quadriflora (whorled loosestrife), Parnassia glauca (grass-of-parnassus), Pilea fontana (bog clearweed), Platanthera leucophaea (prairie fringed-orchid), Pycnanthemum virginianum (Virginia mountain mint), Rudbeckia hirta (black-eyed Susan), Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem), Schoenoplectus acutus (hardstem bulrush), S. pungens (three-square), Solidago ohioensis (Ohio goldenrod), S. riddellii (Riddell's goldenrod), Sorghastrum nutans (Indian grass), Sporobolus heterolepis (prairie dropseed), and Thelypteris palustris (marsh fern).


Requires protection of hydrology, groundwater source, and natural disturbance regime. This species benefits from fen management that includes prescribed fire and brush removal, which maintains open habitat and reduces competing woody vegetation. Control/remove invasive species, especially glossy buckthorn and purple loosestrife. Protect habitat from being drained and developed.

General Survey Guidelines

Random meander search covers areas that appear likely to have rare taxa, based on habitat and the judgement of the investigator.

Survey Methods

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at [Accessed Aug 16, 2018]

More Information

See MNFI Species Abstract


Survey References

Technical References

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