Found in areas of gypsum and limestone outcrops, this habitat with its alkaline soil supports lush ground flora, including many native orchids, in dappled shade under an open canopy.  The divas of this setting are lady’s-slippers, native orchids that brighten the forest with their elegant flowers every spring. The Acadian Forest is home to five species of lady’s-slippers, most of which can be found in the Calcareous Woodland, and two of these species are considered at risk due to habitat loss. Essential to these orchids’ survival are their associations with fungi in the soil called mycorrhizae. Mycorrhizae (myco=fungus, rhizae=root) are a specific group of fungi that colonize a plant’s root system, enhancing the plants’ absorption of water and nutrients. In return, the mycorrhizae siphon sugars from the plant’s roots. This interaction is so crucial for the lady’s-slipper that the plant’s seeds cannot germinate without mycorrhizal association.