Lady's slipper missing from Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Pink and white Showy Lady's Slipper. Photo courtesy of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. 

A visitor to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska, Minn. last weekend left with more than just photos and memories – they also made off with a rare and endangered wildflower.

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum announced Monday that a pink and white Showy Lady’s Slipper, Minnesota’s state flower, was removed from the natural area near the arboretum’s Green Heron Trail sometime over the weekend.

Lady's slippers grow in swamps, bogs and damp woods and can take between four and 16 years to produce their first flower, according to the Department of Natural Resources. The Showy Lady's Slipper has been protected by state law since 1925, meaning it is illegal to pick, uproot or unearth one of the plants.

“Please be aware of people around you when visiting the Arboretum, especially near rare or endangered plants,” the arboretum’s interim director Peter Moe said in a statement. “The Arboretum is here for the enjoyment of all visitors. Let's all keep it as pristine as possible.”

Anyone with information on the missing flower is asked to call 952-443-1400.