Chestertown, MD — Some people call it camel's foot, squirrel foot, moccasin flower, nerve root, American valerian, Venus' shoes and whippoorwill shoes. But don't be fooled. They're all common names for Cypripedium: Lady's slipper orchids, and the plants are found in pockets as far north as the Arctic Circle in Alaska and occur as far south as the Himalayas in the Old World.
The pink lady's slipper, a particularly flamboyant orchid growing naturally right here in Chestertown, is the subject of a colorful lecture and slide show by Dr. Douglas E. Gill on Thursday, November 6, at 7:30 p.m. at Litrenta Lecture Hall in the John S. Toll Science Building at Washington College.
Dr. Gill, professor of biology at the University of Maryland, College Park, has diligently followed the fates of 1,000 rare flowers for more than 30 years. His specialties include: ecology, tropical biology, conservation biology, population biology, evolutionary biology, fire ecology, ornithology and botany. Research interests include birds, protozoa, red-spotted newts, frogs and salamanders, parasites, plant genetics, Pink Lady-Slippers, orchids, fire, grassland restoration and Grasshopper Sparrows. He also serves as Scientific Director of the Chester River Field Research Center at Chino Farms in Chestertown.
"The Mysterious Biology of Orchids: The Case of the Pink Lady's Slipper" is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Center for Environment & Society at Washington College. For more information, visit ces.washcoll.edu or call 410-810-7161.
October 27, 2008