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Lady's Slipper

One of the most tender flowers of Patagonia

Lady's Slipper in Patagonia - Best Time
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© Ruth Palsson

Lady's Slipper is also known as Calceolaria uniflora or Darwin's slipper. There is also a "sister" flower—Calceolaria biflora, also yellow and tender. Calceolaria means "little shoe" as the flowers resemble slippers. These unusual flowers appear when the temperatures rise. It was discovered by Charles Darwin during his trip around South America. The flowers have a unique shape looking like little orange penguins on the rocks.

Lady's Slipper in Patagonia - Best Season
Calceolaria biflora, genus Calceolaria
Calceolaria biflora, genus Calceolaria

This perennial plant originates from Tierra del Fuego and feels great in a cool Patagonian climate. You might have to look hard to find it in Tierra del Fuego though. Meanwhile, it's really abundant in Torres del Paine National park during late spring or early summer.

Calceolaria uniflora
Calceolaria uniflora

Lady's slipper is a mountain plant growing only to 10 cm in height. The flowers are a mix of yellow, white and brownish red. They commonly add a burst of colour along the hiking trails of Torres del Paine sometimes growing to a small colony. Local birds often eat the lower white part of the flower—that's how it gets pollinated!

Lady's Slipper seen while hiking to Grey Glacier in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
Lady's Slipper seen while hiking to Grey Glacier in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
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