Last updated on April 6th, 2021 at 01:41 am
Last Updated on April 6, 2021 Posted by Colonial Acres Coins
The Royal Canadian Mint has released the newest coin in the Floral Emblems of Canada series. It features the provincial flower of Prince Edward Island, the pink lady’s slipper. Like the other coins in the series, this design mimics the look of vintage jewellery with its Victorian-style portrait of the flower surrounded by a detailed border in a matte proof finish.
Brief History of Prince Edward Island
Known as “Abegweit” in the Mi’kmaq language, Prince Edward Island became a British colony in the 1700s. It was named for Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, who was also Queen Victoria’s father. With a land area of 5,686 square kilometres and a population of 158,717, Prince Edward Island is both the smallest Canadian province and the most densely populated. Despite being the seventh province to join the Confederation in 1873, it is sometimes called the “Cradle of Confederation” because of the “Charlottetown Conference” that took place in the provincial capital in 1864.
Prince Edward Island is renowned throughout Canada and the world for the natural beauty of its distinctive red soil, sandy beaches, and rolling hills. Provincial laws have been passed to try to preserve its pastoral landscape. The pink lady’s slipper is both a contributor to that natural beauty and a symbol of why its conservation is important.
Vital Information About the Pink Lady’s Slipper
The pink lady’s slipper gets its name from the resemblance of the blossom to a foot wearing a slipper or moccasin. It is one of three related species of orchids that also call PEI home, the other two being the showy lady’s slipper and the yellow lady’s slipper. In 1947, the lady’s slipper, with no particular species denoted, became the official provincial flower of Prince Edward Island. Perhaps because the pink lady’s slipper is the most abundant on PEI, it was singled out as the official floral emblem for the province in 1965.
It is not always possible to identify a pink lady’s slipper by its colour alone. There is also a form that produces white flowers, although this is less common, and showy lady’s slippers also have a tinge of pink. While other species of lady’s slipper have leaves along the stem, the pink lady’s slipper has only two leaves at the base. Pink lady’s slippers grow in shady woodland areas and bloom from late May into June.
Once located, the pink lady’s slipper should be admired from a distance. The flowers can cause rashes and skin irritation in people who try to pick them. Furthermore, once cut, they do not last very long. Picking the flowers also damages the potential for the year’s seed crop, and the propagation of the pink lady’s slipper is difficult enough to begin with.
Unlike other plants, the seeds of the pink lady’s slipper lack a self-contained source of food. Therefore, to germinate and grow, they need to receive the necessary nutrients from a beneficial fungus. Even after the plants grow, it may be another 10 to 15 years before they start producing flowers.
With the hope of eventually transplanting some specimens, there is research underway in a Charlottetown laboratory to cultivate pink lady’s slippers under sterile conditions. Though prominent in Prince Edward Island and adjoining provinces, the plant is considered endangered in other parts of the continent, including several U.S. states. For these reasons, conservation and cultivation efforts in PEI and beyond are extremely important.
Purchase the Coin From the Royal Canadian Mint Featuring the Pink Lady’s Slipper
Whether alone or as part of the complete Floral Emblems series, the pink lady’s slipper coin representing Prince Edward Island makes a fantastic addition to any collection. It would also be a thoughtful gift for someone in your life with strong ties to the Island. Find the PEI coin and the rest of the Floral Emblems series at Colonial Acres.