The greatest threats to the rams-head lady’s slipper are habitat alteration, habitat destruction, and over-collection by orchid enthusiasts (5).
While light selective harvesting of forests may actually benefit the rams-head lady’s-slipper, modern clear-cutting using heavy equipment can subject this species to increased light intensity and changes in soil moisture, to which it is intolerant (2) (5). Such activities may also alter the diversity of soil microorganisms, including the fungi that form beneficial associations with this orchid’s roots. In the Great Lakes region, increasing shoreline development and recreation pressures also threaten the habitat of the rams-head lady’s slipper’s (5).
Orchids are popular among speciality gardeners, and populations of the rams-head lady’s slipper are vulnerable to over-harvesting by unscrupulous collectors. Plants taken from the wild rarely survive, and since it has never been successfully propagated, plants for sale have certainly been taken from the wild (6).
In addition, some populations of the rams-head lady’s slipper in Nova Scotia, Canada, have been lost to gypsum mining and cattle grazing (2).