Calypso bulbosa



INTRODUCTORY


 
  Dave Powell, USDA Forest Service, www.forestryimages.org

AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION:
Reeves, Sonja L. 2005. Calypso bulbosa. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/ [].

FEIS ABBREVIATION:
CALBUL

SYNONYMS:
Cytherea bulbosa (L.) House [42]

NRCS PLANT CODE [71]:
CABU
CABUA
CABUO
 

COMMON NAMES:
fairy slipper
Venus' slipper
Calypso orchid
angel slipper

TAXONOMY:
The scientific name of fairy slipper is Calypso bulbosa (L.) Oakes (Orchidaceae) [20,21,26,30,39,42,43,47,73]. Calypso is a monotypic genus [31]. Accepted North American varieties are [26,42]:

Calypso bulbosa var. americana (R. Br. ex Ait. f.) Luer
Calypso bulbosa var. occidentalis (Holz.) Boivin

LIFE FORM:
Forb

FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS:
None

OTHER STATUS:
Fairy slipper is ranked as follows:

State Protection status
Arizona Salvage restricted
Michigan Threatened
New Hampshire Endangered
New York Endangered
Vermont Threatened
Wisconsin Threatened

DISTRIBUTION AND OCCURRENCE

SPECIES: Calypso bulbosa
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION:
Fairy slipper has a circumboreal distribution. In North America, it occurs extensively across the United States and Canada, ranging from Alaska east to Newfoundland and south to California, New Mexico, and Michigan. Historic populations in New York and New Hampshire have been extirpated [42]. The Flora of North America. provides a distributional map for fairy slipper.

Calypso bulbosa var. americana occurs throughout most of the general distribution of the species, except in Idaho, Oregon, and California. Calypso bulbosa var. occidentalis occurs in Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, and British Columbia [26].

ECOSYSTEMS [29]:
FRES10 White-red-jack pine
FRES11 Spruce-fir
FRES19 Aspen-birch
FRES20 Douglas-fir
FRES21 Ponderosa pine
FRES22 Western white pine
FRES23 Fir-spruce
FRES24 Hemlock-Sitka spruce
FRES25 Larch
FRES26 Lodgepole pine
FRES27 Redwood
FRES29 Sagebrush

STATES/PROVINCES: (key to state/province abbreviations)
UNITED STATES

AK AZ CA CO ID ME MI MN MT NM OR
SD UT VT WA WI WY

CANADA
AB BC MB NB NF NT NS NU ON PE PQ
SK YK

BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS [11]:
1 Northern Pacific Border
2 Cascade Mountains
3 Southern Pacific Border
4 Sierra Mountains
5 Columbia Plateau
8 Northern Rocky Mountains
9 Middle Rocky Mountains
11 Southern Rocky Mountains
12 Colorado Plateau
15 Black Hills Uplift

KUCHLER [46] PLANT ASSOCIATIONS:
K001 Spruce-cedar-hemlock forest
K002 Cedar-hemlock-Douglas-fir forest
K003 Silver fir-Douglas-fir forest
K004 Fir-hemlock forest
K005 Mixed conifer forest
K006 Redwood forest
K008 Lodgepole pine-subalpine forest
K011 Western ponderosa forest
K012 Douglas-fir forest
K013 Cedar-hemlock-pine forest
K014 Grand fir-Douglas-fir forest
K015 Western spruce-fir forest
K017 Black Hills pine forest
K018 Pine-Douglas-fir forest
K020 Spruce-fir-Douglas-fir forest
K021 Southwestern spruce-fir forest
K029 California mixed evergreen forest
K093 Great Lakes spruce-fir forest
K094 Conifer bog
K096 Northeastern spruce-fir forest

SAF COVER TYPES [23]:
5 Balsam fir
12 Black spruce
13 Black spruce-tamarack
16 Aspen
30 Red spruce-yellow birch
32 Red spruce
33 Red spruce-balsam fir
37 Northern white-cedar
38 Tamarack
39 Black ash-American elm-red maple
107 White spruce
108 Red maple
201 White spruce
203 Balsam poplar
204 Black spruce
205 Mountain hemlock
206 Engelmann spruce-subalpine fir
210 Interior Douglas-fir
211 White fir
212 Western larch
213 Grand fir
215 Western white pine
218 Lodgepole pine
223 Sitka spruce
224 Western hemlock
225 Western hemlock-Sitka spruce
226 Coastal true fir-hemlock
227 Western redcedar-western hemlock
228 Western redcedar
229 Pacific Douglas-fir
230 Douglas-fir-western hemlock
232 Redwood
234 Douglas-fir-tanoak-Pacific madrone
237 Interior ponderosa pine
243 Sierra Nevada mixed conifer
244 Pacific ponderosa pine-Douglas-fir
253 Black spruce-white spruce

SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES [66]:
409 Tall forb
411 Aspen woodland
ALASKAN RANGELANDS
920 White spruce-paper birch

HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES:
The fairy slipper is not documented as a dominant or an indicator species in vegetation types for the United States and Canada. Vegetation classifications describing plant communities where fairy slipper a component species follow:

AZ and NM: Fir-spruce (Abies-Picea spp.) and mixed-conifer forests [53]
ID: Western larch-Douglas-fir (Larix occidentalis-Pseudotsuga menziesii) forests, Priest River Experimental Forest [48]
MT: Engelmann spruce/sweet-scented bedstraw (Picea engelmannii/Galium triflorum) and
       subalpine fir/red baneberry (Abies lasiocarpa/Actaea rubra) habitat types [32]
WY: Jackson Hole Wildlife Park Fir-spruce and lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) habitats [62]
WA: Mt. Rainier National Park: Pacific silver fir/dwarf Oregon-grape (Abies amabilis/Berberis nervosa) habitat type
       Pacific silver fir/devil's club (Oplopanax horridus) habitat type [28]
       Olympic National Park: coniferous forest plant associations [36]
OR: Cascade Range white fir (Abies concolor) series with constancy values ranging from 3%-50%
       western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) Cascade Range series at 2% constancy [6]
       Siskiyou Mountain Province: Tanoak (Lithocarpus densiflorus) associations [7]
       Willamette and Siuslaw National Forests: western hemlock series [34,35].
       Grand fir (Abies grandis) series
        Douglas-fir associations on the Willamette National Forest [35].
       Willamette Valley Douglas-fir forests [27]

Common understory associates of fairy slipper include western yarrow (Achillea millefolium), red besseya (Besseya rubra), wild hyacinth (Triteleia hyacinthina), glacier lily (Erythronium grandiflorum), wild strawberry (Fragaria spp.), queencup beadlily (Clintonia uniflora), northern bedstraw (Galium boreal), sweet-scented bedstraw (Galium triflorum), heartleaf arnica (Arnica cordifolia), American trailplant (Adenocaulon bicolor), Piper's anemone (Anemone piperi), large-leaf sandwort (Moehringia macrophylla), Idaho goldthread (Coptis occidentalis), Oregon fairybell (Disporum spp.), rattlesnake plantain (Goodyera oblongifolia), western starflower (Trientalis sp.), twinflower (Linnaea borealis), and starry Solomon-seal (Maianthemum stellatum) [6,18].


BOTANICAL AND ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS

SPECIES: Calypso bulbosa
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
This description provides characteristics of the fairy slipper that may be relevant to its fire ecology, and is not meant for identification. Keys for identification are available [20,21,30,37,39,43,56,73].

Fairy slipper is a native, perennial forb. It has a single, basal green leaf that is 1 to 2 inches (3-6 cm) long. The flower is usually solitary (rarely with 2 flowers), with a long, scoop-shaped lip tufted, 3 erect-spreading sepals, and 2 petals that are narrow, pointed and twisted. The fruits are erect capsules. The erect stem stands between 2 to 8 inches (5-20 cm) tall, extending from a bulb-like corm [26,57,59]. Fibrous roots are typically produced at the base of a single corm [17].

RAUNKIAER [61] LIFE FORM:
Geophyte

REGENERATION PROCESSES:
Fairy slipper reproduces by seed and vegetative means [55].

Breeding system: Fairy slipper is monoecious and cannot self-pollinate [55].

Pollination: Proctor and Harder [60] suggest that the natural unit of fairy slipper pollen deposition (the pollinium flake) contains sufficient pollen to fertilize most ovules. They also suggest that the pollen load affects the seed number. Pollination requires assistance of bumblebees [55].

Seed production: The seed production of fairy slipper is directly affected by the amount of pollen deposited on the stigma. Seed production is greater when there is more pollen deposited [60]. An average seed count per capsule ranges between 10 and 20,000 [45].

Seed dispersal: No information is available on this topic.

Seed banking has not been documented in fairy slipper. Maryland field and greenhouse studies documented a seed bank in 7 other orchid genera, however. Soil-stored seed remained viable for 3 to 7 years of the 7-year study period at germination rates ranging from 30.5% to 74.9%. In greenhouse trials, orchids growing in soil inoculated with mycorrhizal fungi showed greatly increased germination rates compared to orchids in uninoculated soil [75]. Although fairy slipper was not tested, these results suggest that fairy slipper may have a seed bank and require mycorrhizaal associates for best germination. Further research is needed on fairy slipper's life history.

Germination: Most fairy slippers require one of a number of different mycorrhizal fungi in the protocorm (1st stage of seed germination) tissue for germination to take place [17]. Arditti and others [1] report that in the greenhouse, seeds from ripe capsules germinated very poorly or not at all, while 80% of immature seed in green capsules germinated. This suggests that fairy slipper seeds become less viable over time.

Seedling establishment/growth: Seedlings are rare in the Great Lakes region, but are "much more common" in mountainous regions of the West [13].

Asexual regeneration: Fairy slipper sprouts from underground corms. Following anthesis the nodal region of the corm gives rise to a new shoot bud, which will become the new corm. The previous year's corms remain in sequence, attached to the younger corms for 2 to 4 years [17].

SITE CHARACTERISTICS:
Fairy slipper is found beneath moist soils rich with decaying leaves and wood [40,41,50,55]. . Populations in south-central Montana were recorded on north and north-east aspects where it is cool and moist [52]. It typically occurs in cool, shady areas, from sea level to mid-montane elevations [40,41,50,55], and tolerates boreal climates north of the Great Lakes region [13]. The following table provides elevations where fairy slipper has been collected.

State/Region/Province

Elevation
Arizona 8,500 to 10,000 feet (2,590-3,048 m) [43]
California <5,900 feet  (<1,800 m) [37]
Colorado 7,000 to 10,000 feet (2,134-3,048 m) [33]
New Mexico 7,000 to 10,000 feet (2,134-3,048 m) [51]
Utah 8,900 to 10,500 feet (2,700-3,200 m) [74]
Pacific Northwest (including British Columbia and Alaska) sea level to mid-montane elevations [39,59]
Pryor Mountains (south-central Montana) 5,900 to 8,500 feet (1,800-2,600 m) [52]
Alberta 1,600 to 5,200 feet (500-1,600 m) [15]

SUCCESSIONAL STATUS:
Fairy slipper occurs in all stages of succession. It is listed as a "preclimax" species found in streambottoms of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness of Idaho and Montana [44]. In the boreal forests of central Alaska, fairy slipper is found in mature successional stages starting in Stage 7 (as described by Van Cleve and Viereck [72]), which is predominantly mature balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera spp. balsamifera) and young white spruce (Picea glauca), and ending in Stage 8,which is mature white spruce. In an overview of plant habitat associations of Douglas-fir forests of the Pacific Northwest, Ruggiero and others [64] report that fairy slipper was present in young Douglas-fir age classes (35-79 years), but was much more common in mature (80 to 195 years) and old-growth (200 to 730 years) age classes. Case [13] reports that fairy slipper usually grows in shade and does not occur on mineral soils, suggesting a preference for late succession.

SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT:
Following anthesis, the current year's corm gives rise to one shoot bud that forms a pair of root primordia. The root buds elongate as the shoot elongates and expands to form the new corm. The parent corm persists, and its leaf withers. By the end of the growing season, the new shoot has formed, and a leaf arises from its apex and overwinters [16,17,38,59].

The following table shows anthesis periods for fairy slipper:

State/Region Flowers
Arizona June-August [43]
California March-July [56]
Maine and Vermont May and June [65]
Michigan late May-early June; fruit ripens from June-July [38]
New Mexico June-August [51]
Great Plains late May-June [31]
Intermountain west May-July [16]
Pacific northwest March-June [40]
Rocky Mountains late May-June [45]
Willamette, Mt. Hood, and Siuslaw National Forests, Oregon March-June [70]
New England and adjacent Canada May and June [30]
Great Lakes early May-early June [13]

FIRE ECOLOGY

SPECIES: Calypso bulbosa
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS:
Fire adaptations: To date (2006), published information on fairy slipper response to fire is lacking. Given that the perennating part of the fairy slipper is a corm and that corms are generally well protected, fairy slipper is probably well adapted to survive most fires [14]. Its ability to regenerate from seed after fire is undocumented. Case's [13] anecdotal statement that fairy slipper does not occur on mineral soil suggests that fairy slipper does not occur in early postfire succession; however, is it possible that fairy slipper has a seed bank [1,75] and establishes from seed in later postfire succession. Research is needed on fairy slipper's fire ecology.

Fire regimes: Fairy slipper occurs in a wide range of fire regimes, varying from very infrequent, stand-replacement fire in eastern spruce-fir communities [22] to short-return interval surface fire in ponderosa pine forests of the western United States [2]. The cool and moist site characteristics of communities where fairy slipper is most frequent, such as western hemlock, Pacific silver fir, white fir, and high-elevation subalpine fir, suggest that infrequent, stand-replacing fires are most common in fairy slipper habitats.

The following table provides fire return intervals for plant communities and ecosystems where fairy slipper is important. It may not be inclusive. For further information, see the complete FEIS fire regime table.

Community or Ecosystem Dominant Species Fire Return Interval Range (years)
silver fir-Douglas-fir Abies amabilis-Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii >200
grand fir Abies grandis 35-200 [2]
tamarack Larix laricina 35-200 [58]
western larch Larix occidentalis 25-350 [3,10,19]
Great Lakes spruce-fir Picea-Abies spp. 35 to >200
northeastern spruce-fir Picea-Abies spp. 35-200 [22]
Engelmann spruce-subalpine fir Picea engelmannii-Abies lasiocarpa 35 to >200 [2]
black spruce Picea mariana 35-200
conifer bog* Picea mariana-Larix laricina 35-200
red spruce* Picea rubens 35-200 [22]
Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine* Pinus contorta var. latifolia 25-340 [9,10,69]
Sierra lodgepole pine* Pinus contorta var. murrayana 35-200
western white pine* Pinus monticola 50-200
Pacific ponderosa pine* Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa 1-47 [2]
interior ponderosa pine* Pinus ponderosa var. scopulorum 2-30 [2,8,49]
Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir* Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca 25-100 [2,4,5]
coastal Douglas-fir* Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii 40-240 [2,54,63]
California mixed evergreen Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii-Lithocarpus densiflorus-Arbutus menziesii <35 [2]
redwood Sequoia sempervirens 5-200 [2,24,68]
western redcedar-western hemlock Thuja plicata-Tsuga heterophylla >200
western hemlock-Sitka spruce Tsuga heterophylla-Picea sitchensis >200
mountain hemlock* Tsuga mertensiana 35 to >200 [2]
*fire return interval varies widely; trends in variation are noted in the species review

POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY [67]:
Geophyte, growing points deep in soil

FIRE EFFECTS

SPECIES: Calypso bulbosa
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT:
Fairy slipper is probably top-killed by fire. Underground organs such as corms are usually protected from even severe overstory fires [14,44]. However, there are no data to date (2006) on burial depth of fairy slipper corms. Fire may damage shallowly buried corms.

DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT:
No additional information is available on this topic.

PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE:
Fairy slipper probably sprouts from the corm after top-kill. Corms are generally well protected from fire, so fairy slipper's response to fire is likely similar to that of other geophytes: sprouting after minimal fire damage [14]. The postfire response, however, is largely dependent on the depth of the corm in the soil, the soil temperatures reached during the fire, and temperature duration [12]. Sustained, severe ground fire may damage or kill fairy slipper. Postfire response may also depend on the degree in which the habitat of fairy slipper changes. Since fairy slipper does best in shady, moist conditions, it may not be able to thrive on early successional sites where shade and litter have been removed by fire.

DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE:
A broad analysis of vegetative responses to fire compiled for "Fire Management in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, Moose Creek Ranger District, Nez Perce NF" [44] notes that after the 1977 Pattee Canyon Fire in Missoula, Montana, fairy slipper survived only the "lightest" burning treatment. Even then, there was probably a reduction in the fairy slipper population [44].

FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS:
To date (2006), there is no research providing management recommendations regarding fairy slipper. Prescribed fire should be used cautiously when protecting or promoting fairy slipper is a fire management objective. Small-scale burning, fuel evaluation, and population monitoring after prescribed and wildfires can help manager access effects of fire to fairy slippers in their area.

MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS

SPECIES: Calypso bulbosa
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE:
Information on fairy slipper's value to animals, including use as food and as cover to arthropods, is lacking (as of 2006).

VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES:
No information is available on this topic.

OTHER USES:
The Haida peoples ate fairy slipper corms in small quantities; the corms are said to have a rich butter-like flavor. This practice is discouraged today because the fairy slipper is considered rare in some locations [59].

OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS:
Fairy slipper is highly susceptible to even slight disturbances in its environment [17]. Trampling and picking are the primary reasons for its rapid decline in some locations [59]. Picking the flower inevitably kills the plant, because the delicate roots break at even the lightest pull on the stem [45,59]. A decline in the frequency of fairy slipper, due largely to a growing illegal international trade, caused the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources to list fairy slipper as a species vulnerable to extinction on a global scale [17].  Transplanting or cultivating fairy slipper is rarely successful because of fairy slipper's need for specific soil fungi that are not usually present on transplant sites or in controlled environments [17,45]. Although the fairy slipper is widespread in its distribution, population extermination is conceivable if plants are not considered within a management plan.

Calypso bulbosa: REFERENCES


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