Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Some Wild Flowers in Bloom in the Bruce Peninsula

The Bruce Peninsula, where Roche Fleurie is located, is well-known for its flora and fauna.  Because there are few people and no industry, and because agriculture is very marginal the soil being thin and poor in most places, plants and animals that are rare in other areas of Ontario are relatively common here. Some of our wild flowers, like the Trillium grandiflorum below,  are to be found in many parts of eastern North America. But some others, scarce in most places, are abundant here.

Indian paintbrush (Castilleja ssp.) is a plant associated with western North America. You see it in British Columbia and more south, for example, in Colorado.  There are many different varieties. However the scarlet indian paintbrush (Castilleja coccinea) is quite common in the Bruce Peninsula where it usually grows on road embankments or on alvars where there is too little soil and few things survive. It cannot be transplanted, because it is semi-parasitic and requires some specific mycorrhizae.

Castilleja coccinea
Indian Paintbrush

 With 41 different species, the Bruce Peninsula has the largest number of orchids in Canada. One of the larger, the yellow lady’s slipper (Cypripedium parviflorum), grows in profusion, filling many ditches along the roads. The picture below was taken just outside the garden. Hopefully some day it will decide to move in and hop the wall. It is another plant that relies on mycorrhizae. The Bruce also has showy pink lady's slippers (Cypripedium reginae), but it does not grow around Roche Fleurie. It is a much rarer plant, found in fens and boggy areas.

Cypripedium parviflorum
Yellow Lady Slipper

Here are a few other natives.
Coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sp.), a climber.

Lonicera sp.
Coral Honeysucle

Aqueligia canadensis is also very common. Here it grows among dandelions by the side of the road.

Aqueligia canadensis
Aqueligia canadensis
Close-up of Aqueligia canadensis

The Canada Mayflower (Maianthemum canadense).

Maianthemum canadense
Canada Mayflower

All of these were in bloom this last weekend. The trillium was just about over, and the columbines had only been open for a day or two. The last few pictures were taken on the edge of the following road, where the maple and ash trees make a green tunnel.


  1. I have trillium envy! When we lived in Wisconsin we drove past a wooded area where it seemed that acres of trillium were blooming. It was enchanting!

    1. Actually, this one picture in the post was taken in the garden of a friend. They do grow wild here but these were over by the time I got around to taking my pictures. Fortunately, we do not have a great many deer (they are fond of them).


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