Restoring the rare Kentucky lady's slipper orchid to the Kisatchie National Forest
The Kentucky lady’s slipper (Cypripedium kentuckiense C.F. Reed [Orchidaceae]) is a spectacular orchid native to the southeastern US. Although its range includes much of the Southeast, it is rare due to loss of appropriate edaphic and climatic habitats. Efforts to restore this species to the Kisatchie National Forest in Louisiana were initiated by a high school student who located a flowering orchid, pollinated it, and collected a fertile seedpod as a collaborative effort to understand the reproductive potential of the species. Results from these evaluations are inconclusive and must be considered preliminary. Additional studies are planned to develop protocols that will facilitate the production of Kentucky lady’s slipper orchids on a scale that will allow significant reintroductions of the rare orchid to the Kisatchie National Forest.