Saturday 25 May
Lady's slipper (Calceolaria fothergillii)
What’s the World’s Favourite Species?Find out here.
Lady's slipper fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Lady's slipper description
With beautiful red and yellow slipper-shaped flowers, the lady’s slipper (Calceolaria fothergillii) is one of the more colourful and distinctive members of the Falklands Islands’ flora (2) (3). The upper, narrow end of the ‘slipper’ (the large lower petal of the flower) is surrounded by grey-green sepals, which appear to hold the flower vertically. There is a broad red stripe on the outer lip of the slipper, and it is usually streaked with red, although it may be entirely red, or yellow with small red spots. A white bar is visible on the inside. Each individual flower is borne on a short, reddish, hairy stalk that rises from the centre of a rosette of hairy, spoon-shaped leaves (2).
- Height: up to 10 cm (2)
Lady's slipper biology
The perennial lady’s slipper flowers between November and February (2) (4). Most species in the genus Calceolaria have a specialised plant-pollinator relationship, as the flowers of Calceolaria species produce a type of oil, a ‘floral reward’, which attracts particular solitary oil-collecting bees. However, the lady’s slipper has evolved to lose the oil-producing glands, and instead has a juicy food body associated with bird pollination. It has been suggested that this may have arisen because the lady’s slipper is found in an area where the specialised oil-collecting bees are scarce (5).Top
Lady's slipper rangeTop
Lady's slipper habitat
Commonly found in association with coastal diddle-dee (Empetrum rubrum), the lady’s slipper forms small colonies on open, well-drained, sandy soils and heathland habitat (2) (3) (4). It is most often found on coastal slopes and sheltered cliffs, and has been recorded up to elevations of 150 metres (3).Top
Lady's slipper status
The lady's slipper is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).Top
Lady's slipper threats
Although the lady’s slipper is still widespread across the Falkland Islands, it is fairly scarce where there is substantial grazing pressure from livestock. Its primary habitat among coastal diddle-dee is threatened by over-grazing, as well as burning and ploughing to improve the land for agriculture. In addition, introduced and invasive species, together with increasing levels of tourism, are placing further pressure on the Falkland Islands’ endemic floral species (6) (7).Top
Lady's slipper conservation
Despite having relatively low diversity, the plant communities on the Falkland Islands include a high proportion of threatened species and a number of endemic species. Of the islands’ 172 native plant species, some 13 species, including the lady’s slipper, are found no where else in the world and 5 are threatened with extinction (4) (8).
The lady’s slipper will no doubt benefit from conservation programmes which are currently focusing on protecting plant species on the Falkland Islands and mitigating the threats to their survival (8). The Falklands Islands Plant Conservation Project, with assistance from Falklands Conservation, is developing a strategy for the long-term conservation of the islands’ threatened flora, with plans for sustainable land management and protection. Public education projects are also aiming to tackle human disturbances to natural environments (9).Top
Find out more
More information on conservation in the Falkland Islands:
Procter, D. and Fleming, L.V. (1999) Biodiversity: the UK Overseas Territories. Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Peterborough, UK. Available at:
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew - Falklands:
This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
- A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
- A category used in taxonomy, which is below ‘family’ and above ‘species’. A genus tends to contain species that have characteristics in common. The genus forms the first part of a ‘binomial’ Latin species name; the second part is the specific name.
- An organ that makes and secretes substances used by the body.
- A plant that normally lives for more than two seasons. After an initial period, the plant produces flowers once a year.
- The transfer of pollen grains from the stamen (male part of a flower) to the stigma (female part of a flower) of a flowering plant. This usually leads to fertilisation, the development of seeds and, eventually, a new plant.
- An animal that in the act of visiting a plant’s flowers transfers pollen grains from the stamen (male part of a flower) to the stigma (female part of a flower) of a flowering plant. This usually leads to fertilisation, the development of seeds and, eventually, a new plant.
- A floral leaf (collectively comprising the calyx of the flower) that forms the protective outer layer of a flower bud.
IUCN Red List (February, 2013)
- Woods, R.W. (2000) Flowering Plants of the Falkland Islands. Falklands Conservation, The Falkland Islands.
Falklands Islands Philatelic Bureau (February, 2011)
Falklands Conservation (February, 2011)
- Cosacov, A., Sérsic, A.N., Sosa, V., Arturo De-Nova, J., Nylinder, S. and Cocucci, A.A. (2009) New insights into the phylogenetic relationships, character evolution, and phytogeographic patterns of Calceolaria (Calceolariaceae). American Journal of Botany, 96(12): 2240-2255.
- Broughton, D.A. and McAdam, J.H. (2005) A checklist of the native vascular flora of the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas): new information on the species present, their ecology, status and distribution. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society, 132: 115-148.
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. (2004) Samara: The International Newsletter of the Partners of the Millenium Seedbank Project. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Available at:
- Broughton, D.A. and McAdam, J.H. (2002) A red data list for the Falkland Island vascular flora. Oryx, 36: 279-287.
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (February, 2011)
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.