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Botanical Art Worldwide: America's Flora

White Lady's Slipper Orchid 

Cypripedium candidum

This small lady’s slipper orchid is native to Illinois and grows in high quality prairies. Like many other orchids around the world, this small gem is not commonly seen any more. It is listed as rare, threatened, endangered or extirpated in 10 states in the USA.

White Lady’s Slipper Orchid is one of those plants that I fell in love with at the first glance. A few years ago, on a very hot summer day, I accompanied a biology professor who specializes in native orchids to his secret site, where he has been conducting experiments about naturalization of lab grown orchids. I visited the site several times in its blooming season and prepared for a watercolor painting by drawing the orchid from several perspectives and recording colors. However, I became more curious about the little pouch of the orchid, and wanted to see the hidden parts in it. When dealing with rare wildflowers, I know I should not damage the plant, or disclose its location. That rule didn’t hinder me from asking, though. I contacted the field ecologist of that site and went through the necessary process to get one flower for dissection. I got the permission and was given one precious flower. While driving for two hours on my way back home, I started to think of the root. What a devilish idea! Again, nature was on my side! I found the plant with root in the herbarium in the Chicago Botanic Garden science department. So, I got everything I needed for a full scientific illustration.

After finishing this ink illustration, I painted a large watercolor painting, too. It challenged me in varoius ways, but it has remained as one of my all time favorite flowers.  


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Read more about this artist’s work: 19th Annual


Cypripedium candidum

White Lady's Slipper Orchid

pen-and-ink on Bristol board

19.5 X 13

©2013 Heeyoung Kim

2024 ASBA - All rights reserved

All artwork copyrighted by the artist. Copying, saving, reposting, or republishing of artwork prohibited without express permission of the artist.

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