Designated by Manitoba as Endangered in 1992, the small white lady’s-slipper is an orchid found in unbroken prairies and wet meadows. COSEWIC designated this plant as nationally Endangered in 1981. Its status was reviewed and confirmed in 1999 and 2000.
The small white lady’s-slipper occurs in three areas in Manitoba: in southeastern Manitoba, near Kleefeld and the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve; in southwestern Manitoba, near Brandon; and in the Interlake region, near St. Laurent. The largest site in the province is at the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve (TGPP), where as many as 24 patches, ranging in size from 4 square metres to 4.5 hectares, are monitored annually. Two sites in Ontario are the only other places in Canada where the small white lady’s-slipper can be found.
The decline of this species can be attributed in part to agricultural activities, including habitat conversion, draining, and intensive grazing. Illegal picking or transplanting, invasion of weedy species, and hybridization with yellow lady’s-slippers also threaten this species. Small white lady’s-slippers require an abundance of light to bloom and flourish. Management practices on the TGPP include burning, light rotational grazing and mowing, with the purpose of clearing away dead vegetation and woody growth that blocks sunlight. Small white lady’s-slippers bloom in late May to early June, and can be damaged by late spring frost.
For more information on the small white lady's-slipper view the Manitoba's Species at Risk brochure (PDF document, 195 KB).