Bluestem Farm photos and text by Scott Weber unless
otherwise noted. Use of
photos outside of this website must be by permission.
Cypripedium reginae at
When living in Maine in the mid 1980s, I tried sowing Cyp.
acaule without success. After moving back to Wisconsin, I
received a permit to collect Cyp. reginae seed from
a fen owned by The Nature Conservancy. In 1992 I collected
seed from a Nature Conservancy property with the
intention of founding my breeding stock and donating seedlings to the
Conservancy for planting near the original seed source. This
test to see whether laboratory propagated plants grow best in their
native soil or in a greenhouse; the assumption being that the fungi in
their native habitat are necessary for growth. The result of
study was that they grow faster in the
greenhouse. With the help
of the Wisconsin Conservation Corps, we planted two dozen Cyp.
reginae seedlings in the fen to increase their population.
They will be monitored for several years to measure their
growth. So far they have
transplanted well as long as the soil has the right pH and moisture
content. The amount of competition the seedlings have when young is a
big factor in how fast they grow, as well as protection from herbivores.
The seed germinated well on the
modified Knudson's medium described by William Ballard. When the
protocorms were large enough to transfer, I compared their growth on
three different media: Ballard's, Harvais's, and Svante Malmgren's.
Growth on Malmgren's medium was so strong that I now use it for all
It has a low salt concentration and no inorganic
nitrogen. All nitrogen comes from amino acids. Perhaps this form of
nitrogen is closest to that supplied by fungi. On this medium the roots
remain a healthy white color throughout the first year.
Wisconsin Conservation Corps setting out a chicken wire enclosure to