As Nature Saskatchewan’s Rare Plant Rescue (RPR) program gets ready for another season, their crew is once again on the hunt for one of the province’s most elusive plants.

According to the organization, the Small White Lady’s-slipper is likely one of the rarest plants in the province, with a provincial status of “possibly extirpated”, meaning provincially extinct. Within Canada, this species is listed as Endangered and can still be found in small pockets throughout Manitoba and Ontario.

For the second year, the RPR program will be assisting the Saskatchewan Conservation Data Centre in their surveys to hopefully locate this rare orchid in the province. They look to the assistance of Saskatchewan residents to help them do so by reporting any sightings. 

"These surveys are a bit of a treasure hunt," explains Ashley Vass, Program Coordinator for RPR, "not only is this species considered extremely rare within Canada, but in Saskatchewan the last time it was seen was in 1895 - over a century ago. We are following clues such as ‘near a spring by Indian Head’ to relocate the species.”

On the Canadian prairies, this small perennial orchid averages around 15 cm tall. Flowering from May to June, the Small White Lady’s-slipper relies on insects for pollination, with its flower shape facilitating cross-pollination. A few leaves sheath a single stem, and its single flower has a small modified petal pouch resembling a slipper. The pouch is about 2-3 cm long and is white with occasional purple veining or speckling. A more common orchid, Yellow Lady’s-slipper, has a yellow flower with a similar shape and will readily hybridize with this species to produce a cream coloured slipper. The Yellow Lady’s-slipper and the hybrid can be distinguished from the Small White Lady’s-slipper by their colour and larger size.

Suitable habitat for Small White Lady’s-slipper includes remnant moist native prairie, prairie sedge fens, and openings in woodlands. As this type of habitat has been greatly reduced in Canada over the past century, Small White Lady’s-slipper often grows in conjunction with other rare or at-risk species and its presence is an indicator of intact native prairie health.

To report a sighting of a rare species, if you think you may have suitable habitat, or if you are interested in more information on Rare Plant Rescue and its other target species, call Nature Saskatchewan at 1-800-667-4668, email [email protected], or visit their website

Small White Ladys Slipper Emily Putz 17Info and pictures courtesy of Nature Saskatchewan (photo credit: Emily Putz)

More Local News

SaskPower Creates Online Outage Map

Saskatchewan residents will now be more connected with power outage updates in their area thanks to an online map from SaskPower. The Crown corporation has officially launched their new map, offering…

Elrose Raises Money for Heart and Stroke

The Heart and Stroke Foundation's Big Bike made a stop in the town of Elrose this past Tuesday, to raise money and awareness for the cause. Patti Mills Smith is the daughter of Jim Mills, who was one…

Producers See Huge Jump in Seeding Progress Over Past Week

Thanks to the relatively good seeding conditions, many producers in the province were able to double their seeding progress over the past week. The weekly crop report shows that 70 percent of the…

Changes Coming to Eston’s Recycling Program

The Town of Eston's curbside recycle pickup will soon be conducted by Loraas Environmental. Rollout cart delivery will begin in the community on May 31st. Pickup will still occur on Mondays. Staring…

Theft of Grain Auger in Landis

Unity/Wilkie/Macklin RCMP received a complaint yesterday about a grain auger which was stolen in Landis. The auger is blue and is a Brandt SL 10x70. The auger has some modifications made to the frame…

Rosetown Tea-house Looking for Volunteer Bakers This Summer

Volunteers involved with operation at the tea house on the Rosetown Museum grounds are planning re-opening in early June this summer. While hours of operation at the facility will remain the same…

2018 Kindersley Indoor Rodeo Begins Today

One of the biggest rodeos this year in Saskatchewan will be hosted in the West Central Region. The 2018 Kindersley Indoor Rodeo kicks off tonight from the West Central Events Centre, and it's…

Multiple Vehicle Collisions Included in Macklin, Unity, Wilkie RCMP Weekly Update

Unity RCMP Reports The Unity RCMP Detachment had several things to report in their weekly update for May 15th - 21st. Members of the detachment executed a warrant during a traffic stop, at the…

Kindersley Regional Airport Receiving Government Funding

The Kindersley Regional Airport will be receiving $4,000 in funding from the provincial government. The money will go towards runway asphalt preservation through the Community Airport Partnership…

Rosetown Communities in Bloom Dissolving Committee

Rosetown will no longer have a Communities in Bloom Committee. Organizer, Dawn Coulter, said it's due to a lack of volunteers. "We've tried. Two years ago we had two or three meetings... but there's… is Westman's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.

Search the Biz Guide