Charlotte Lake, Renfrew County, Ontario July 2017 #3
What a biologically/ecodiverse/splendiferous region I live in. These qualities caused me to join the Board of Directors of the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust that purchases and creates easement agreements with landowners in the titled watersheds. Yes my American friends, Canada has its own Mississippi River.
The various land-forming processes (glaciers, huge rivers and even a salt water sea) have given shape to the surroundings, with a variety of wet/rich and not-so-rich habitats. This results in one of the most diverse collections of Odonate species (dragonflies and damselflies) on our continent.
Red Columbine, Aquilegia canadensis. This lovely wild flower grows, sometimes in large numbers, around wettish areas in the Ottawa Valley. If you get a chance, find a local grower and add it to your garden. What a splash of colour and form!
Spreading Dogbane, Apocynum androsaemifolium, note recurved lobes, distinguishes from Intermediate A. medium. Compare to Indian Hemp and Intermediate Dogbane.
I need to take better notes! I mis-identified this uncommon plant (above) in a previous version of this edition. This is not the common Cornus rugosa (which I like very much!). It is the very UNcommon Aralia racemosa, or Spikenard. Spikenard is a very large round-leaved relative of the very common Aralia nudicaulis, or Sarsapirilla. You may have heard of a soft drink called Sarsapirilla, mispronounced in the US, sometimes, as Saspirilla. Strangely, the soft drink is not made from this plant! It is derived from Smilax ornata, a very different unrelated plant.
Both Aralia plants are in the Ginseng family. The size, leaves and cluster of flowers just emerging at the top of the plant are all indicative.
My fingers are clutching one of the newly developed fertile fronds which will bear spores later in the summer.
A favourite woodland maroon 6-petaled flower (April-May), Blue Cohosh, Caulophyllum thalictroides, is shown above. The flowers have already been replaced by developing fruits, which do turn a spectacular blue. Caution: these pretty fruits are poisonous.
woods. The berries do look like very large raspberries. These are only palatable to wildlife, so don't be trying one!
I had not encountered this very large wood fern before, and I took home a piece of a frond to help with the identification. It is now dried within the pages of my fern field guide. Even though it is more than a year since I collected the specimen, it rests within the field guide at the page for Goldie's Fern, Dryopteris goldiana. After review at my desk, I am sticking to this identification!
Flowers and new creatures when we return for instalment 4 of Charlotte Lake soon!