Cypripedium parviflorum 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Liliopsida Asparagales Orchidaceae

Scientific Name: Cypripedium parviflorum Salisb.
Common Name(s):
English American Yellow Lady's-slipper, Lesser Yellow Lady's Slipper
Cypripedium calceolus parviflorum var. L. (Salisb.) Fern.
Cypripedium calceolus parviflorum ssp. L. (Salisb.) Hulten

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2013-04-19
Assessor(s): Rankou, H.
Reviewer(s): Fay, M. & Sharma, J.

Cypripedium parviflorum is confined to North America with a large distribution area and abundant populations. There are currently between 81 and about 300 occurrences and a population trend decrease is suspected due to numerous threats. The extent of occurrence and area of occupancy of the species are greater than thresholds for any threatened categories and although there are threats to the species and its habitats these are unlikely to cause the population to decline quickly in the near future if we apply the conservation measures suggested, raise public awareness and keep the existing conservations measures in place. C. parviflorum is therefore assessed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

Cypripedium parviflorum is a taxonomically complex species, however it is treated here as a single species which is widespread across North America. The range of the species extends from Alaska in the west to Nova Scotia in the east, south to Nebraska and Georgia. The species occurs from British Columbia to Washington and Oregon, east of the Cascade crests, to Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New York, and to much of eastern Canada and the U.S. The extent of occurrence (EOO) is estimated at 11,849,400 km² and the area of occupancy (AOO) is estimated at 2,670 km². The species can be found up to 2,900 m altitude.

Sources: Arditti et al. 1979; Coleman 2002; Cribb 1997; Dorn 2001; Frosch and Cribb 2012; Kartesz 1994; Lesica 1986; Luer 1975; Meads et al. 2000; Mergen 2006, Sheviak 1974, 2002; Weber and Wittmann 2012; Welsh 1974.

Countries occurrence:
Canada (Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland I, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward I., Québec, Saskatchewan, Yukon); United States (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:2670
Upper elevation limit (metres):2900
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


There are currently between 81 and less than 300 total occurrences of Cypripedium parviflorum. Most of the occurrences are small and each one contains one suspected subpopulation. Some occurrences may have been extirpated.

Of the 46 occurrences in Colorado, 32 records fail to list land ownership; two are listed on private land; one is on land owned by Jefferson County; 11 are known from National Forest System lands, six are on the Pike-San Isabel National Forest, three are on the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest, and two are on the San Juan National Forest (Colorado Natural Heritage Program 2003).

There are 19 known occurrences in Kansas, 11 in Nebraska and 133 individual occurrences are listed in South Dakota; most of these are from the eastern part of each state. (Kansas Natural Heritage Inventory 2001, Nebraska Natural Heritage Program 2001).

As far as population trend is concerned, from historical accounts it is difficult to ascertain due to the lack of quantitative data but a decline can be suspected due to many threats and some occurrences have been destroyed such as the one near Woodland Park, Colorado.

Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

Cypripedium parviflorum occurs in a variety of habitats from mountain meadows, mesic places in Ponderosa Pine, mixed conifer, aspen forest communities, non-sphagnum bogs, marshes, wet prairies, rocky wooded hillsides and mixed woodlands commonly associated with oak, ash, and hazelnut woodlands. The species grows on moderately moist to dry substrates, confined to predominantly calcareous stony soils, rich in humus, with basic, neutral, to acidic pH soil. The species prefers shaded, cool, north-facing and well-drained slopes. Flowering takes place from late May to late June. 

Sources: Arditti et al. 1979; Coleman 2002; Cribb 1997; Dorn 2001; Frosch and Cribb 2012; Kartesz 1994; Lesica 1986; Luer 1975; Meads et al. 2000; Mergen 2006, Sheviak 1974, 2002; Weber and Wittmann 2012; Welsh 1974.

Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

An extract from the roots of this species was used historically as a sedative and treatment for nervous disorders and used as an official nerve stimulant.

The glandular hairs on the leaves and stems can cause a rash, similar to poison ivy rash and some part of these plants may be known to be mildly to severely toxic to either animals and/or humans. The species is also collected by garden lovers for its aesthetic appeal and beauty as a horticultural plant.

Sources: Medicinal Plant Working Group 2002, Plants For a Future 2010.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

Cypripedium parviflorum is under numerous anthropogenic threats especially plant collecting for research, personal garden use, illegal sale for horticultural or medicinal use, and botanical collections or voucher specimens; timber harvest; infrastructure development and road construction; grazing by livestock or wildlife, habitat loss due to some management activities such as recreation activities by direct effect (e.g., destruction of plants) and indirect effect (e.g., alteration of habitat); weed control as the amount of light and competition from other plants appear to have a negative influence in the number of species; fire suppression and mining which generally involves large-scale land disturbance to soil surface conditions and nearby plant communities. In addition, to the human interferences, environmental risks to this species include drought, flooding, climate change and wildfires are also considered major threats.

Sources: Arditti et al. 1979; Coleman 2002; Cribb 1997; Dorn 2001; Frosch and Cribb 2012; Kartesz 1994; Lesica 1986; Luer 1975; Meads et al. 2000; Mergen 2006, Sheviak 1974, 2002; Weber and Wittmann 2012; Welsh 1974.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

All orchid species are included under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Cypripedium parviflorum is listed by the U.S. Federal Government in Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Washington.

The following actions are recommended to protect Cypripedium parviflorum:

- Protection of the habitat, especially woodland from timber harvesting, infrastructure development and grazing.

- Fencing vulnerable sites to protect the species from collection.

- Prescribed fires can benefit Cypripedium parviflorum to some threshold but can pose negative impacts as the point at which this threshold is reached or exceeded is unknown.

- Management of habitat to reduce competition for resources (i.e., water, nutrients, light) may improve both the habitat and health of Cypripedium parviflorum occurrences.

- Further research on the life cycle and ecology of C. parviflorum will increase our knowledge about this species and help managers to develop effective approaches to its conservation.

- Management of protected areas and plant salvage could be considered as beneficial to Cypripedium parviflorum.

- Land protection and habitat diffuse management can be implemented to conserve habitat near or between occurrences.

- Increasing natural recruitment at a site by population reinforcement is a management method to enhance small natural populations.

- Successional management which involves the direct manipulation of seral stages within the existing community to produce the optimal habitat 

- Control and management of sedative production from the roots.

- Raise public awareness.

- Protection of the living individuals of the species through legislation and legal protection which ban the species not to be picked or dug up.

- Ex situ conservation: Artificial propagation, re-introduction, seed collections.

- Monitoring and surveillance of the existing populations and sites.

- Estimate population size and study population dynamics. 

Citation: Rankou, H. 2014. Cypripedium parviflorum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T43316816A43327704. . Downloaded on 14 August 2018.
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