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Useful Temperate Plants

Calypso bulbosa

(L.) Oakes

Orchidaceae

+ Synonyms

Calypso americana R.Br.

Calypso borealis (Sw.) Salisb.

Calypso occidentalis (Holz.) A.Heller

Calypso speciosa Schltr.

Calypsodium boreale (Sw.) Link

Cymbidium boreale Sw.

Cypripedium bulbosum L.

Cytherea borealis (Sw.) Salisb.

Cytherea bulbosa (L.) House

Cytherea occidentalis (Holz.) A.Heller

Cytherea speciosa (Schltr.) Makino

Limodorum boreale (Sw.) Sw.

Norna borealis (Sw.) Wahlenb.

Orchidium americanum (R.Br.) Steud.

Orchidium arcticum Sw.

Orchidium boreale (Sw.) Sw.

Common Name: Fairyslipper

Calypso bulbosa
Cluster of the flowering plants on the Winsor Trail, near the Santa Fe Ski Basin, Santa Fe County, New Mexico.
Photograph by: JerryFriedman
Creative Commons License
Calypso bulbosa Calypso bulbosa Calypso bulbosa Calypso bulbosa Calypso bulbosa

General Information

Calypso bulbosa is a herbaceous perennial plant producing a solitary, basal leaf 3 - 6cm long from an underground corm. It produces an erect flowering stem 5 - 20cm tall, usually with only one flower, occasionally two[
1050
Title
Fire Effects Information System
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.feis-crs.org/feis/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line information site with comprehensive information on over 1,100 species of plant. Mainly developed to supply information on the effects of fire on plants and animals, it also contains a wealth of other information on the plants
]
The plant was traditionally harvested from the wild for local use as a food and a medicine.
Although Calypso bulbosa has a very wide range, it is highly susceptible to even slight disturbances in its environment. Trampling and picking are the primary reasons for its rapid decline in some locations. Picking the flower inevitably kills the plant, because the delicate roots break at even the lightest pull on the stem. A decline in the frequency of the plant, due largely to a growing illegal international trade, caused the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources to list it as a species vulnerable to extinction on a global scale. Transplanting or cultivating the plant is rarely successful because of its need for specific soil fungi that are not usually present on transplant sites or in controlled environments[
1050
Title
Fire Effects Information System
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.feis-crs.org/feis/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line information site with comprehensive information on over 1,100 species of plant. Mainly developed to supply information on the effects of fire on plants and animals, it also contains a wealth of other information on the plants
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

50
Title
Flora Europaea
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1964
ISBN
-
Description
An immense work in 6 volumes (including the index). The standard reference flora for Europe, it is very terse though and with very little extra information. Not for the casual reader.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.

Range

Circumboreal through northern Europe and Asia. In N. America it extends southwards on the west coast to California and on the east to New York.

Habitat

Soils rich with decaying leaves and wood, in moist pine or spruce woods and by cool shady streams from sea level to the mid-montane zone[
60
Title
Vascular Plants of the Pacific Northwest.
Publication
 
Author
Hitchcock. C. L.
Publisher
University of Washington Press
Year
1955
ISBN
-
Description
A standard flora for Western N. America with lots of information on habitat etc. Five large volumes, it is not for the casual reader.
,
155
Title
Flowers of the Southwest Mountains.
Publication
 
Author
Arnberger. L. P.
Publisher
Southwestern Monuments Ass.
Year
1968
ISBN
-
Description
A lovely little pocket guide to wild plants in the southern Rockies of America.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
HabitCorm
Height0.10 m
PollinatorsInsects
Self-fertileNo
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details


Grows well in half shade in a light moist organic-rich soil[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
42
Title
Hardy Bulbs.
Publication
 
Author
Grey. C. H.
Publisher
Williams & Norgate.
Year
1938
ISBN
-
Description
Rather dated now, but an immense work on bulbs for temperate zones and how to grow them. Three large volumes.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Requires a lime-free soil, doing best in full shade[
42
Title
Hardy Bulbs.
Publication
 
Author
Grey. C. H.
Publisher
Williams & Norgate.
Year
1938
ISBN
-
Description
Rather dated now, but an immense work on bulbs for temperate zones and how to grow them. Three large volumes.
].
The plant comes into growth in the autumn and, although fairly hardy, is best grown in a frame or unheated greenhouse[
230
Title
Hardy Orchids. Orchids for the Garden and Frost-free Greenhouse.
Publication
 
Author
Cribb. P. & Bailes. C.
Publisher
Christopher Helm. London.
Year
1989
ISBN
0 7470 0416 1
Description
An excellent book looking at the orchids that can be grown outdoors in temperate climates and giving lots of information on how to grow them. Very lttle information on their uses.
].
Following flowering, the current year's corm gives rise to one shoot bud that forms a pair of root primordia. The root buds elongate as the shoot elongates and expands to form the new corm. The parent corm persists, and its leaf withers. By the end of the growing season, the new shoot has formed, and a leaf arises from its apex and overwinters[
1050
Title
Fire Effects Information System
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.feis-crs.org/feis/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line information site with comprehensive information on over 1,100 species of plant. Mainly developed to supply information on the effects of fire on plants and animals, it also contains a wealth of other information on the plants
].
Orchids are, in general, shallow-rooting plants of well-drained low-fertility soils. Their symbiotic relationship with a fungus in the soil allows them to obtain sufficient nutrients and be able to compete successfully with other plants. They are very sensitive to the addition of fertilizers or fungicides since these can harm the symbiotic fungus and thus kill the orchid[
230
Title
Hardy Orchids. Orchids for the Garden and Frost-free Greenhouse.
Publication
 
Author
Cribb. P. & Bailes. C.
Publisher
Christopher Helm. London.
Year
1989
ISBN
0 7470 0416 1
Description
An excellent book looking at the orchids that can be grown outdoors in temperate climates and giving lots of information on how to grow them. Very lttle information on their uses.
].
Plants can be naturalized in the woodland or bog garden[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Apply a good organic mulch in the winter[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
].
Plants do not always grow every year, the bulb can remain dormant in the soil for 2 years[
42
Title
Hardy Bulbs.
Publication
 
Author
Grey. C. H.
Publisher
Williams & Norgate.
Year
1938
ISBN
-
Description
Rather dated now, but an immense work on bulbs for temperate zones and how to grow them. Three large volumes.
].

Edible Uses

Corm - raw or cooked[
22
Title
Alternative Foods.
Publication
 
Author
Sholto-Douglas. J.
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Not very comprehensive, it seems more or less like a copy of earlier writings with little added.
,
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
61
Title
A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Publication
 
Author
Usher. G.
Publisher
Constable
Year
1974
ISBN
0094579202
Description
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
,
105
Title
Tanaka's Cyclopedia of Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Tanaka. T. & Nakao S.
Publisher
Keigaku Publishing; Tokyo
Year
1976
ISBN
-
Description
The most comprehensive list of edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
,
155
Title
Flowers of the Southwest Mountains.
Publication
 
Author
Arnberger. L. P.
Publisher
Southwestern Monuments Ass.
Year
1968
ISBN
-
Description
A lovely little pocket guide to wild plants in the southern Rockies of America.
]. Rather small[
161
Title
Food Plants of the N. American Indians. Publication no. 237.
Publication
 
Author
Yanovsky. E.
Publisher
U.S. Depf of Agriculture.
Year
 
ISBN
-
Description
A comprehensive but very terse guide. Not for the casual reader.
]. The corms have a rich, butter-like quality[
256
Title
Food Plants of Coastal First Peoples
Publication
 
Author
Turner. N. J.
Publisher
UBC Press. Vancouver.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7748-0533-1
Description
Excellent little handbook about the native food plants of Western Canada. Good descriptions of the plants and their uses with colour photos of most plants.
]. They were usually boiled by the North American Indians before being eaten, though young maidens would eat them raw as they were believed to increase the size of the bust[
256
Title
Food Plants of Coastal First Peoples
Publication
 
Author
Turner. N. J.
Publisher
UBC Press. Vancouver.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7748-0533-1
Description
Excellent little handbook about the native food plants of Western Canada. Good descriptions of the plants and their uses with colour photos of most plants.
].

Medicinal

The corms have been chewed or the flowers sucked in the treatment of mild epilepsy[
257
Title
Native American Ethnobotany
Publication
 
Author
Moerman. D.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-88192-453-9
Description
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.
].

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Seed - we have no information on this species but, like all members of the orchid family, the seed of this species is extremely simple, it has a minute embryo surrounded by a single layer of protective cells. It contains very little food reserves and depends upon a symbiotic relationship with a species of soil-dwelling fungus. The fungal hyphae invade the seed and enter the cells of the embryo. The orchid soon begins to digest the fungal tissue and this acts as a food supply for the plant until it is able to obtain nutrients from decaying material in the soil[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Surface sow the seed, preferably as soon as it is ripe, in the greenhouse and do not allow the compost to dry out. It is best to use some of the soil that is growing around established plants in order to introduce the fungus, or to sow the seed around a plant of the same species and allow the seedlings to grow on until they are large enough to move.
Division in autumn. Make sure that you keep plenty of soil with each plant. It is also said to be possible to transplant orchids after they have flowered but whilst they are still in leaf. Grow on for at least the first year before potting up and do not plant out until the plants are 2 - 4 years old.
Division of the tubers as the flowers fade[
230
Title
Hardy Orchids. Orchids for the Garden and Frost-free Greenhouse.
Publication
 
Author
Cribb. P. & Bailes. C.
Publisher
Christopher Helm. London.
Year
1989
ISBN
0 7470 0416 1
Description
An excellent book looking at the orchids that can be grown outdoors in temperate climates and giving lots of information on how to grow them. Very lttle information on their uses.
]. This species produces a new tuber towards the end of its growing season. If this is removed from the plant as its flowers are fading, the shock to the plant can stimulate new tubers to be formed. The tuber should be treated as being dormant, whilst the remaining plant should be encouraged to continue in growth in order to give it time to produce new tubers[
230
Title
Hardy Orchids. Orchids for the Garden and Frost-free Greenhouse.
Publication
 
Author
Cribb. P. & Bailes. C.
Publisher
Christopher Helm. London.
Year
1989
ISBN
0 7470 0416 1
Description
An excellent book looking at the orchids that can be grown outdoors in temperate climates and giving lots of information on how to grow them. Very lttle information on their uses.
].
Division can also be carried out when the plant has a fully developed rosette of leaves but before it comes into flower[
230
Title
Hardy Orchids. Orchids for the Garden and Frost-free Greenhouse.
Publication
 
Author
Cribb. P. & Bailes. C.
Publisher
Christopher Helm. London.
Year
1989
ISBN
0 7470 0416 1
Description
An excellent book looking at the orchids that can be grown outdoors in temperate climates and giving lots of information on how to grow them. Very lttle information on their uses.
]. The entire new growth is removed from the old tuber from which it has arisen and is potted up, the cut being made towards the bottom of the stem but leaving one or two roots still attached to the old tuber. This can often be done without digging up the plant. The old tuber should develop one or two new growths, whilst the new rosette should continue in growth and flower normally[
230
Title
Hardy Orchids. Orchids for the Garden and Frost-free Greenhouse.
Publication
 
Author
Cribb. P. & Bailes. C.
Publisher
Christopher Helm. London.
Year
1989
ISBN
0 7470 0416 1
Description
An excellent book looking at the orchids that can be grown outdoors in temperate climates and giving lots of information on how to grow them. Very lttle information on their uses.
].

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