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Endangered state flower vanishes from Minnesota Arboretum; Showy Lady's Slipper was illegal to pick

Photo from the Minnesota Secretary of State's website. http://www.sos.state.mn.us/about-minnesota/state-symbols/state-flower-pink-ladys-slipper/

CHANHASSEN, Minn. -- Minnesota Landscape Arboretum officials are investigating after a rare Showy Lady’s Slipper orchid disappeared over the weekend.

The endangered wildflower variety has been protected under Minnesota law since 1925, according to the arboretum. It is also Minnesota’s state flower. The plant, last seen Saturday, was growing along the center’s Green Heron Trail.

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

The arboretum, located in Chanhassen and operated by the University of Minnesota, features more than 1,100 acres of garden and tree collections. It is illegal for visitors to pick flowers from the gardens or uproot plants on the grounds.

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