Purdon Conservation Area — Lady Slipper Orchids
Want to See Thousands of Orchid Blooms?
Spend A Day At Purdon
Visiting the Purdon Conservation Area is a great way to improve your mental and physical health: take your kids on self-guided hikes through an uplands forest and see a real Canadian beaver pond. Enjoy a stroll along the boardwalk of a rare fen wetland and see endangered species regenerating such as the Showy Lady Slipper.
For three weeks in June, the Showy Lady Slipper orchids are in full blossom. The orchids are a shining example of stewardship, made possible by Joe Purdon. Mr. Purdon discovered a small cluster of native orchids in the 1930’s and grew the colony to over 16,000 blooms. The colony is now under the care of the MVCA, who continues to preserve Joe Purdon’s legacy.
From the end of spring to the beginning of fall, the Purdon Conservation Area is open dawn till dusk, seven days a week.
Admission by donation.
Fully accessible boardwalk, washroom, parking and picnic area.Check out the complete list of amenities or get an overview of Purdon’s terrain and trails with this printable Purdon Conservation Area Trail Map.
Printable Brochures for Self Guided Tours (at the website noted below)
Wetland Ecology and Plant Guide
Self-Guiding Interpretive Trail
Orchid Colony Management
MVCA manages the colony based on recommendations outlined in the Purdon Conservation Area management plan most recently updated in 2006, A New Management Plan for the Showy Lady’s Slipper Orchid (Ted Mosquin, Liz Brown 2006).
The active management of the site consists of some tree clearing to allow more light into the fen, water level management through beaver pond also known as Purdon Lake, and hand pollination. These orchids don’t attract insects like other flowers; hand pollination helps ensure the seeds are propagated.
It can take up to 15 years for new plants to bloom so measuring of progress can be a slow process. Every five years a group of orchid specialists undertake a full census of the fen to record the number of blooms for the season. This is done to track bloom success on the site.