Native orchids are increasingly threatened by pressure from population growth and development but, nonetheless, still present a welcome surprise to observant hikers in every state and province. Compiled and illustrated by long-time orchid specialist Paul Martin Brown, these pocket guides to the lady's-slippers and ladies'-tresses are the first in a series that will cover all the wild orchids of the United States and Canada.Brown provides general distributional information, time of flowering, and habitat requirements for each species as well as a complete list of hybrids and the many different growth and color forms that can make identifying orchids so intriguing. For the lady's-slippers he includes information on 12 species, 2 additional varieties, and 6 hybrids; for the ladies'-tresses information on 26 species, 3 additional varieties, and 7 hybrids.Wild lady's-slippers grow from Alaska, with the spotted lady's-slipper, Cypripedium guttatum, to Texas, with the ivory-lipped lady's-slipper, C. kentuckiense; ladies'-tresses occur from British Columbia, with the hooded ladies'-tresses, Spiranthes romanzoffiana, to Florida, with Eaton's ladies'-tresses, S. eatonii.
The species newest to science, the starry ladies'-tresses, S. stellata, is featured. Most of these species are easy to identify based upon their general appearance, range, and time of flowering. Answer three simple questions - when, where, and how does it grow? Then compare the living plant with the striking photos in these backpack-friendly laminated guides and consult the keys that Brown has created. Following these steps should enable both professional and amateur naturalists to achieve the satisfaction of identifying specific orchids in their native environment.