I am very sad and angry. Last year while walking my dog on Cousins Island, I discovered a pink lady’s slipper growing a little ways off the road. I was thrilled. I have rarely seen this plant on the island. Pink lady’s slipper, also known as Cypripedium acaule, is one of our largest orchids, a delicate beauty native to sandy woods and mountainous areas. There used to be hundreds of them growing in our woods. But unscrupulous people dug them and sold them for pennies. They died. Pink lady’s slippers do not transplant well, they have very special soil needs and usually die when dug from the wild. Gone forever. There are some nursery owners who are legitimately growing lady’s slippers; these do better in the home garden, and is the only way one should have them in their garden.

Today, I discovered someone had dug the lady’s slipper I so enjoyed seeing on my walk. Most likely it will die. It makes me so angry, but I have to believe it is ignorance, that people just don’t realize what they’re doing. We all enjoy nature, but it should be left for all to enjoy. Please do not dig from the wild, it is wrong.

Lynne Eldridge