This afternoon we stopped for a few minutes at a beach on Lake Huron. There were families with dogs, kites and beach chairs, swimmers - everything that you would expect on a hot day by the water in August. However, in the sand dunes leading to the water there were also interesting plants that are not very obvious, although they are very attractive.
|Singing Sands, Dorcas Bay on Lake Huron, Ontario|
It was rather windy close to the water, so pictures were difficult to take. The most spectacular plant in bloom on the beach just now is the Smaller Fringed Gentian (Gentianopsis virgata). It sometimes grows singly, but usually it is in drifts.
|Smaller Fringed Gentian|
|Smaller Fringed Gentian|
And another very attractive plant which has been in bloom for several weeks now is the Grass of Parnassus (Parnassia palustris). It grows in small clumps here and there on the dunes.
|Grass of Parnassus |
Much of the area around the beach is a fen, so the plants are those common to alkaline marshes. However some areas must be acidic since you see a lot of two carnivorous plant associated with bogs - sundews and pitcher plants.
The sundews (Drosera intermedia) are on the left and top of the picture, and the red pitcher plant (Sarracenia purpurea) is in the middle. The latter was named after Michel Sarrazin (1659 - 1734), an early Quebec City surgeon.
|Pitcher plant and sundews on the left and above|
One garden plant we are familiar with that grows on that beach is Helenium autumnale. However, seen in this natural but poor soil environment, it looks much more humble than its garden cousins.
| Sneezeweed growing in the wild|
I spare you the invasive aliens and the numerous asters and goldenrods also in bloom to end with a little charmer. A diminutive plant that blooms most of the summer which I have not identified. Perhaps some of you might know what it is.
All these pictures were taken the afternoon of the 25th of August - one of the few hot days in a rather coolish summer.
Your pictures bring back wonderful memories of Dorcas. I was there first in 1964, shortly after it was purchased by the Federation of Ontario Naturalists. I think the little blue flower you found is Kalm's Lobelia.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much. I looked it up and you are obviously right, my mystery plant is Kalm's Lobelia. It is nice to ask a question and get an answer right away!ReplyDelete
When I was a child and the family camped, my father was a chigger magnet. My mother carried a small bottle of "gentian blue" to treat the bites. I see they are totally unrelated, except for the color. As your photos show, it is striking.ReplyDelete
Despite of the wind your pictures are lovely Alain. The first plant reminds my dianthus in our wild and the second white one is so pretty!ReplyDelete
Wonderful little plants near the lake!
You met the challenge of photographing plants on windy beaches brilliantly! The Gentian is gorgeous and Parnassia palustris is simply beautiful. Isn't it interesting to observe pockets of acid soil amidst all that alkalinity? I'm pleased you found out the name of the mystery plant. Hooray for the blogosphere!ReplyDelete
You are quite right. It is strange that we are on dolomite limestone but in some places you find acid loving plants! It must be produced by acid rain and I suppose the acidic layer is rather thin.Delete
The Gentian is stunning, seeing it in drifts like that. We had Grass of Parnassus back where we used to live 25 years ago, it was by a local lake just 100yds inland from the sea, in a very wet spot, a super little plant. Lovely to see your wild flowers, many thanks.ReplyDelete
It is a beautiful little thing. I thought of getting seeds when they are ripe but there is not much point as I don't have the type of conditions they grow in.Delete
The pitcher plant is bizarre. Presumably it feeds off insects? The Gentian is beautiful.ReplyDelete
Sundews and Pitcher Plants are both carnivorous plants, RD. Sundews have sticky "dew drops" to hold hapless insects, while Pitcher Plants lure bugs down one-way tubes. Who wants healthy soil when you can have steak? :)Delete
The gentians are lovely. It's certainly not beach weather here. Our beaches are mainly coastal and so not as hospitable to plants. They have to cope with the saltiness.ReplyDelete
As you know some cope quite well with salty sand. The very best rugosa roses I have ever seen grow on sandy dunes on the gulf of St-Lawrence (which is like the sea with tides and salt water).Delete
Hello Alain : )ReplyDelete
It would take a gardener to hunt for pretty little gems like these in among the grasses.
The gentian shows off it's blue colour beautifully.
The deep almost bloody red of the pitcher plant is amazing!
So many little treasures to see there .. you did a great job with the pictures : )
You commented on how neat my garden is .. we had a good summer of cool temps and lots of rain ... other wise it would look sad I am sure ! LOL
What wild treasures you have there. I love the gentian. I thought the little flower looked like some sort of lobelia. Beautiful, thank you for showing them to us.ReplyDelete
I will have to do a post about the same place next Spring as the Spring flowers are just as impressive.Delete
Particularly taken with the Gentian Alain, it is really interesting to see these plants in their natural habitat.ReplyDelete
You don't associate gentians with beaches but that is where this gentian grows.Delete
The gentians are beautiful! Always a treat to see. A rewarding but unexpected spot to look for wildflowers.ReplyDelete
You would not think a beach would be the place to look for rare plants. However this is not an ordinary beach. As Stew (1st comment) mentions, it belongs to the Federation of Ontario Naturalists. They bought it because of its very significant flora. They let people use the beach though.Delete
What a beautiful place.It's always lovely to see a flower where you least expect it. The Grass of Parnassus is very pretty.ReplyDelete
Hello Alain, the last time I went to the beach I was more interested in sand castles and ice cream. I couldn't imagine there being so many different plants and flowers. The cloud of gentians is particularly lovely and I can't believe there are carnivorous plants there too!ReplyDelete
Wonderful! The Gentainopsis is really beautiful and meeting an Helenium autumnale in he wild is a dream fo me!ReplyDelete
It is a wonder that these plants survive on a public beach. You sometimes see someone making a bouquet of Gentainopsis (which is illegal as this is a botanical reserve) but it must not happen often as they are still going strong.ReplyDelete