Cypripedium calceolus germination in situ: seed longevity, and dormancy breakage by long incubation and cold winters

  • Hanne N. Rasmussen
  • Henrik Æ. Pedersen


A successful in situ germination experiment with Cypripedium calceolus, the European Lady’s slipper, is reported here for the first time. The seeds originated from controlled pollinations within and between two closely related Danish populations. The seeds were sown ripe in seed packets in proximity of mother plants. Germination was first observed after 4.5 y in the ground, following two successive cold and snowy winters, and only in one population. Seedlings expanded through the sides of the broken testa and were hair-less. A corresponding set of seeds, germinated in vitro as asymbiotic controls, responded positively to repeated cold stratifications after long incubation, suggesting that time (leaching?) and chilling are dormancy breakage factors.