Species Profile

Small White Lady's-slipper

Scientific Name: Cypripedium candidum
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
COSEWIC Range: Manitoba, Ontario
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: November 2014
COSEWIC Status: Threatened
COSEWIC Status Criteria: Does not clearly meet criteria, but designated Threatened because of small IAO, documented losses of subpopulations, declines in habitat quality, and life history characteristics.
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: This orchid is known in Canada from Manitoba and Ontario where it grows mainly in tallgrass and mixed grass prairies. These sites require management to prevent encroachment of woody vegetation and to remain suitable for the orchid. Increased search effort has uncovered previously unknown populations in Manitoba, but many populations are small, and some have been lost in recent years. The discovery of additional populations, increased habitat protection, and active management for this species resulted in a change in status from Endangered to Threatened. Because individuals are slow to mature and require a fungal partner, the species is especially vulnerable to local extirpations. In addition to encroachment, the species is threatened by invasive plant species, alteration of hydrology, residential and commercial development, roadside maintenance and illegal collecting.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Endangered in April 1981. Status re-examined and confirmed in April 1999 and in May 2000. Status re-examined and designated Threatened in November 2014.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Threatened
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2003-06-05

Please note that this information is provided for general information purposes only. For the most up to date and accurate list of species listed under the Species at Risk Act, please see the Justice Laws Website.

Go to advanced search

Quick Links: | Photo | Description | Distribution and Population | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | Other Protection or Status | Recovery Initiatives | National Recovery Program | Documents

Image of Small White Lady's-slipper

Small White Lady's-slipper Photo 1
Small White Lady's-slipper Photo 2

Top

Description

The Small White Lady's-slipper is a terrestrial perennial orchid which measures 20 to 36 cm in height. It grows from a rhizome and forms a bunch of 3 to 60 stems. About 3 or 4 long straight leaves grow from the center of the stem. The flower of this plant resembles a small slipper, hence its name. This small white flower is sometimes coloured by a delicate purple line; the opening and the interior of the flower are speckled with darker purple; the petals are twisted.

Top

Distribution and Population

The Small White Lady's-slipper is found in 15 states in the U.S.A. and in Manitoba and Ontario in Canada. In Manitoba, it is found in three widely separated areas: southeastern Manitoba, the southern Interlake district (between the southern ends of lakes Winnipeg and Manitoba), and the Brandon area in south-central Manitoba. While additional populations have been found in the province since the species was first designated by COSEWIC, four sites in south-central Manitoba appear to be extirpated. The Small White Lady's-slipper has disappeared from Saskatchewan and from the Bruce, Kent, Norfolk and Welland counties of Ontario; a few plants are still found in Lambton County and Hastings counties in Ontario. In Manitoba, aggregate populations occur in the Tolstoi-Gardenton (Tall Grass Prairie Preserve), Brandon, and St. Laurent areas. Single populations occur in the Lake Francis, Woodlands, Brandon Hills and Kleefeld areas. In the largest of these sites, part of the Tall-grass Prairie Preserve in southeastern Manitoba, up to 13,979 plants have been counted in a given year. In 1997, a total of 34,491 stems were counted in the Preserve, of which 16,899 were flowering stems. The Kleefeld population consisted of about 552 stems (68% flowering) in 1998. The Lake Francis and Woodlands populations each had about 80 stems in 1998. Of the six populations in the Brandon area, four are within fields and range from 100 to 984 stems, while the other two are along road allowances and range from 10 to 293 stems.

Top

Habitat

In the past, the Small White Lady's-slipper occurred in open tall grass prairies, dry-mesic hillsides, low calcareous prairies, and calcareous fens. Today, due to agricultural development and urbanization in the western provinces, it is found in prairie openings in wooded grasslands, or on more open sites with a southerly aspect and calcareous sandy loam soil. The few plants which survive in the eastern part of the country are found in marshes, in marshy limestone meadows, in prairie areas, and on the edges of brush.

Top

Biology

Several stems can grow from one rhizome, but each stem has only one flower. The Small White Lady's-slipper depends on insects, mainly bees, for pollination. It takes approximately 13 years for the Small White Lady's-slipper to flower. Flowering in Manitoba usually begins in late May or early June. Frost damage occurs during the flowering season at least once every five years, reducing the plants' ability to produce food and reproduce.

Top

Threats

In Manitoba, encroachment of woody vegetation into the prairie zone, possibly as a result of discontinued fire and grazing, threatens most Small White Lady's-slipper habitats. Late spring frosts negatively impact on flowers and subsequent seed production. Collection of plants by amateur, commercial and scientific collectors threatens roadside populations in particular. Shading and competition from invasive weed species such as leafy spurge Euphorbia esula and St. John's wort Hypericum perforatum are a threat to most sites. Isolated, small populations in the Interlake district may be at risk due to lack of genetic diversity.

Top

Protection

Federal Protection

The Small White Lady's-slipper is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.

The Small White Lady's-slipper is protected by the Manitoba and Ontario Endangered Species Acts. Under these Acts, it is prohibited to harm individuals of this species or its habitat. This plant occurs within the provincial Tall Grass Prairie Preserve in Manitoba.

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.

Top

Other Protection or Status

The Small White Lady's-slipper is included in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which sets controls on the international trade and movement of species that have been, or may be, threatened due to commercial exploitation.

Top

Recovery Initiatives

Status of Recovery Planning

Recovery Strategies :

Name Recovery Strategy for the Small White Lady's-slipper (Cypripedium candidum) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry

Top

Documents

PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

12 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Small White Lady's-slipper Cypripedium candidum in Canada (2015-12-11)

    Small White Lady’s-slipper is a perennial, clonal orchid. Each plant produces one to many stems that reach approximately 15 cm when in flower. Three or four simple clasping leaves alternate along each stem. Each flowering stem typically bears one white, pouch-shaped “slipper”. In Canada, flowers typically appear between mid-May and mid-June. Fruits are produced by late summer and contain many small seeds.

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Small White Lady's-slipper (2015-12-23)

    This orchid is known in Canada from Manitoba and Ontario where it grows mainly in tallgrass and mixed grass prairies. These sites require management to prevent encroachment of woody vegetation and to remain suitable for the orchid. Increased search effort has uncovered previously unknown populations in Manitoba, but many populations are small, and some have been lost in recent years. The discovery of additional populations, increased habitat protection, and active management for this species resulted in a change in status from Endangered to Threatened. Because individuals are slow to mature and require a fungal partner, the species is especially vulnerable to local extirpations. In addition to encroachment, the species is threatened by invasive plant species, alteration of hydrology, residential and commercial development, roadside maintenance and illegal collecting.

Recovery Strategies

  • Recovery Strategy for the Small White Lady’s-slipper (Cypripedium candidum) in Canada (2014-12-23)

    The Small White Lady’s-slipper belongs to the Orchid family and is characterized by a very small, white, slipper shaped flower. It was listed as Endangered in Canada under the Species at Risk Act. The Minister of the Environment is the competent minister for the recovery of the Small White Lady’s-slipper and has prepared this strategy, as per section 37 of SARA. It has been prepared in cooperation with the Government of Manitoba and the Government of Ontario.

Orders

  • Order Acknowledging Receipt of the Assessments Done Pursuant to Subsection 23(1) of the Act: SI/2018-40 (2018-06-13)

    Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, acknowledges receipt, on the making of this Order, of the assessments done pursuant to subsection 23(1) of the Species at Risk Act by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) with respect to the species set out in the annexed schedule.
  • Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act (Volume 153, Number 5, 2019) (2019-03-06)

    Biodiversity is rapidly declining worldwide as species become extinct. Today’s extinction rate is estimated to be between 1 000 and 10 000 times higher than the natural rate. Biodiversity is positively related to ecosystem productivity, health and resiliency (i.e. the ability of an ecosystem to respond to changes or disturbances), and, given the interdependency of species, a loss of biodiversity can lead to decreases in ecosystem function and services (e.g. natural processes such as pest control, pollination, coastal wave attenuation, temperature regulation and carbon fixing). These services are important to the health of Canadians, and also have important ties to Canada’s economy. Small changes within an ecosystem can lead to a loss of individuals and species resulting in adverse, irreversible and broad-ranging effects.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2014-2015 (2015-11-20)

    Under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA), the foremost function of COSEWIC is to "assess the status of each wildlife species considered by COSEWIC to be at risk and, as part of the assessment, identify existing and potential threats to the species". COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings in this reporting year (October, 2014 to September, 2015) from November 23 to November 28, 2014 and from April 27 to May 1, 2015. During the current reporting period, COSEWIC assessed the status or reviewed the classification of 56 wildlife species. The wildlife species assessment results for the 2014-2015 reporting period include the following: Extinct: 0 Extirpated: 1 Endangered: 21 Threatened: 11 Special Concern: 21 Data Deficient: 1 Not at Risk: 1 Total: 56 Of the 56 wildlife species examined, COSEWIC reviewed the classification of 40 that had been previously assessed. The review of classification for 24 of those wildlife species resulted in a confirmation of the same risk status as the previous assessment.

Permits and Related Agreements

  • Explanation for issuing permit(#19), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2006-06-01)

    Activities may include any of the following for any species: Collection of small amounts of seed (<1%) for propagation ex situ for the pupose of studying seed viability, germination condisions and rates. Collection of a mall proportion (<1%) of inflorescences or flowers for the purpose of determining fertility, seed predation rates, etc. Removal of a small number (<0.1%) of individuals of annual species (e.g. Agalinus spp.) for research on habitat and microsite requirements. Collection of seed for the purpose of propagation ex situ plants to provide material for research and/or for restoration projects. Mapping location, counting and setting up permanent study quadrats may sometime involve accidental trampling of some plants and portions of some habitat. This will be kept to a minimum. Some perturbation of habitat may occur during removal of invasive species. Some experimental purturbation of habitat for restoration purposes may be done in locations where species at risk are thought to be extirpated.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#SARA-OR-2008-0085), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2008-05-13)

    Activities will include census of populations of White Prairie Gentian, Showy Golden Rod, Pink Milkwort and Small White Ladies Slipper on Walpole Island First Nation; collection of sample leaves from White Prairie Gentian for genetic analysis; detailed measurements and collection of limited fruit capsules from Small White Ladies Slipper; and collection of small amounts of seeds from White Prairie Gentian, Showy Goldenrod, Pink Milkwort, Kentucky Coffee Tree and Common Hop Tree for propagation ex situ for the purpose studying seed viability, germination conditions and rates, and eventual planting of propagated plants to a protected tallgrass prairie / oak savanna / woodland restoration sites on the Walpole Island First Nation. Some experimental perturbation of habitat for restoration purposes may be done in locations where species at risk are thought to be extirpated.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#SARA-OR-2008-0088), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2008-05-14)

    The project is directed toward the study of hybridization as a threat to endangered species. Hybridization of Small White Lady's Slipper with Yellow Lady's Slipper occurs wherever the two species range overlaps. The WIFN population contains the largest known populations in Canada, therefore, plant monitoring and sampling is critical to understanding the genetic health of Small White Lady's Slipper elsewhere in Canada. A small portion of one leaf will be collected from 250 individual plants. These samples will be utilized to determine DNA structure. Morphological features will be measured in plants in situ -- this includes monitoring pollen removal, fruit set and seed production. There is no requirement to remove, take or kill plants.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#SARA-OR-2009-0119), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2009-09-16)

    Planned housing construction works involves the relocation of sod and subsoils where SARA listed plants occur. Said plants are to be relocated from the existing site to a protected tall grass prairie habitat located elsewhere on Walpole Island First Nation. Some plants located on the construction site will not be relocated however they will be protected by fencing and will be monitored for preservation and conservation purposes.

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act : Terrestrial Species - January 2016 (2016-01-08)

    The Government of Canada is committed to preventing the disappearance of wildlife species at risk from our lands. As part of its strategy for realizing that commitment, on June 5, 2003, the Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA). Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species provided for under SARA, also called the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. Extirpated, Endangered and Threatened species on Schedule 1 benefit from the protection of prohibitions and recovery planning requirements under SARA. Special Concern species benefit from its management planning requirements. Schedule 1 has grown from the original 233 to 521 wildlife species at risk. Please submit your comments byMay 4, 2016, for terrestrial species undergoing normal consultationsand byOctober 4, 2016, for terrestrial species undergoing extended consultations.For a description of the consultation paths these species will undergo, please see:Species at Risk Public Registry website

Related Information

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA) Listing Plan 2016 to 2018 (2017-09-29)

    The status of wildlife species is assessed by an independent panel of expert Canadian scientists, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). 149 terrestrial species were assessed as at-risk by COSEWIC between 2009 and 2016 and are eligible for listing under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) to be considered by the Governor-in-Council (GIC) on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment: 86 species would be new additions, 54 currently listed species would be reclassified and 9 species would be updated to reflect changes in their recognized designatable units. A three-year listing plan has been developed to address all 149 terrestrial species and listing decisions for most species are anticipated by the end of 2018. Making amendments to Schedule 1 of SARA is a two-step process. The first step is for the GIC to propose an amendment through an order in council published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, for a 30-day public comment period. The second step is for the GIC to make a final decision on whether or not to make amendments to Schedule 1 of SARA, taking into consideration comments received during the 30-day public comment period. The amendments are made through an order in council published in the Canada Gazette, Part II. Both orders are accompanied by a Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement (RIAS) which presents the implications of listing the species or changing their status. Publishing this plan on the Species at Risk Public Registry is intended to provide transparency about the Government of Canada’s plan to make listing decisions under the Species at Risk Act. NOTE: The information presented below is intended to provide openness and transparency with respect to when terrestrial species might be considered for listing under Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act. It is intended to assist anyone who may wish to provide comments on such listing considerations. Given any number of factors can affect the timing of a listing decision; the Plan is subject to change. Accordingly, the Plan will be periodically updated.
Date modified: