Fairyslipper – Calypso bulbosa

Orchid Family – Orchidaceae

Actual flower size: 1 inch across

Actual flower size: 1 inch across

Fairyslipper is also called Calypso Orchid.

Plant Description: Fairyslipper is a perennial with a flowering stem that is reddish in color, 2 to 8 inches tall, and has 2 or 3 papery bracts. The dark green, 2 inch long, parallel-veined, ovate leaf is produced in the fall and persists through the winter, but it dies during the summer. A showy, solitary, rose colored flower is held well above the solitary leaf.

Flower Description: The tepals are about 1 inch long. The central upper tepal appears a bit broader than the 4 others, which are narrow and twisted.  These five form a crown above the broader lower tepal. This lower tepal forms a lip with a pouch. The lip hangs down and is pale, streaked and spotted with purple. There is a cluster of yellow hairs at the edge of the pouch and two spurs beneath the petal. The magenta column of stamens and pistil hangs out over the opening.

Ecology: Fairyslippers grow in rich leaf-mold in forested lowlands to middle elevations. It sometimes forms large patches.


  • Fairyslippers have a delicate, sweet scent.
  • People are often tempted to pick Fairyslippers, but this is fatal to the plant as the bulb is usually pulled up when picking the flower. The bulb is attached by tiny hair-like roots to certain species of fungi and cannot survive when detached.


Fairyslipper Photo Gallery

Photo Information: #1386  was taken on May 20, 2004, on the Iron Goat Trail: Martin Creek, US 2, MP 55, Skykomish; #2799 and 2800 were taken on May 25 along the Yakima River, in the Easton area, I-90, Exit 71; #6913 was taken on April 28, 2007 along trails in Washington Park, Hwy 20, Anacortes, WA; #6190 and  #6197 wer taken on June 8, 2010, on the Chiwaukum Creek Trail, US 2, Leavenworth, WA;  #0861   was taken on May  15, 2012 on the Iron Goat Trail: Martin Creek, US 2, MP 55, Skykomish, WA


Actual flower size: 1 inch across