Did You Know It’s Illegal to Pick Minnesota’s State Flower?
Because of its rarity, Minnesota's state flower has been protected since 1925.
Chances are you've seen or heard Minnesota's state bird -- the Common Loon. You've likely doused a warm chocolate chip cookie in Minnesota's state drink -- milk. You've probably enjoyed Minnesota's state fish -- walleye -- fresh off the grill. You've surely bitten into Minnesota's state fruit -- the Honeycrisp Apple.
But have you actually ever seen Minnesota's state flower, the Pink Lady's Slipper?
It occurred to me recently that I've never actually seen a Pink Lady's Slipper myself, at least not in person. According to the Minnesota Office of the Secretary of State, the pink and white lady's slipper -- also known as the showy lady’s slipper or queen’s lady slipper -- was adopted as the state flower in 1902. It tends to grow in wet places with plenty of light like open fens, bogs, swamps and damp woods. It also grows slowly, taking up to 16 years to produce its first flower. It can live to a total of 50 years, grow up to four feet tall and blooms in late June or early July. One hundred years ago, lady's slippers used to be popular pulpit adornments in rural Minnesota churches. Today, however, the wildflower is rare and -- since 1925 -- has been protected by state law; "it is illegal to pick the flowers or to uproot or unearth the plants," reads the SOS website.
So where can you find Minnesota's state flower?
According to a Minnesota reddit thread, lady's slippers are currently blooming in the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden in Minneapolis. They can also be seen, according to others on reddit, at Fort Snelling State Park, Hyland Park (Bloomington), Minnesota Arboretum, the Boundary Waters, the Lady Slipper Scenic Byway and Kohls (get it? lady's slippers).
Have you ever seen a lady slipper wildflower or know where they can be seen in Central Minnesota?