Macrocentra's blog

Searching for Plant Species in Southwestern Ontario *Updated May 16
Posted on Apr 10, 2021 8:23 PM

* Note - Species names may not be accurate here. I'm not an expert at identification, though I did my best. Any corrections are appreciated!

I recently made a goal to go hiking on a regular basis. One of the local Conservation Authorities manages several areas nearby that are available for hiking, and I've taken to exploring one of them almost daily. For something else to keep me occupied, I decided to attempt to catalogue as many species as possible in the area. Gives me another goal to work on, keeps me outside, and gives me a chance to practice my identification skills. I intend to use this post as a catalogue of the species I come across (mainly focusing on plants), and will aim to update it regularly as I find more species.

One of the areas I've been exploring runs through a valley, and consists of protected Carolinian forests, and the Authority's wetland restoration project. Ontario's Carolinian forests are highly threatened, to a point of being considered the province's most threatened ecological region. The Carolinian Zone consists of primarily deciduous forest, tallgrass prairies, wetlands and streams. The 'Old Growth' region is entirely forested, while the 'Wetland' region consists of the restored wetland, first built in 2006, surrounded by more Carolinian forest, and a pine forest in the hills.

* May 16 Update - I started exploring some more areas, including areas owned by another local Conservation Authority. While I intended this post to be for one area, I've decided to include multiple areas, as they're all in close proximity with similar habitat-types.

[1] Below: These are Tussilago farfara, or more commonly known as Coltsfoot. These were introduced to my area, most likely by travelers as a medicinal plant. Tussilago has been used in herbal medicine for a variety of ailments, but later turned out to be harmful due to toxic alkaloids in the plant.
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[2] Below: Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot), is a herbaceous, perennial plant native to eastern North America. These are quickly becoming abundant in the area, and are cropping up in large groups.
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[3] Below: Erythronium americanum (Yellow trout lily). These are also native to North America, and are quite widespread. They're also abundant in this area, growing in large groups. This one had some beetle pollinators.
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[3] Below: More Erythronium americanum emerging.
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[4] Below: I think these are Claytonia virginica (Virginia springbeauty)? Also native to eastern North America. I haven't come across a lot of these yet, and the few I did find, are all growing very close to the base of a tree.
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[5] Below: Erigenia bulbosa (Pepper-and-Salt). These are also called Harbinger-of-Spring because they're one of the earliest blooming wildflowers in eastern North America. Another native here.
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[6] Below: Cardamine concatenata (Cutleaved toothwort). A perennial woodland wildflower native to eastern North America.
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[7] Below: Having trouble identifying this one. I believe it's in the genus Anemone, or a relative. Just haven't narrowed it down to an exact species. All the ones I've found so far, consistently have white blooms with six petals. There are native Anemone species, so this will likely be a native species as well.
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[8] Below: I think this is Fragaria vesca (Wild strawberry / Woodland strawberry)? Only found a few small specimens in one area. I'll be keeping an eye on these for blooms or fruits later in the season, in hopes of confirming the ID. There are two other native species that could also be a match.
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[9] Below: I believe this is Erodium cicutarium (Common stork's bill).
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[10] Below: No ID on this one yet. They're very abundant in this area. Possibly in the Plantago genus? May need to wait for blooms to get a better idea of what these could be.
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[11] Below: No ID. Only found one of these, growing on a decaying tree. Looks like something from the mint family.
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[12] Below: There's some lovely mosses in the area. I have zero experience identifying moss species, so these could be a challenge.
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* NEW - May 16 UPDATE

[13] Below: Anemone quinquefolia (commonly called Wood Anemone or Windflower).
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[14] Below: Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-in-the-Pulpit). I was excited about this find. I haven't actually seen them around before, but suddenly, this particular forest I've been exploring lately exploded with them. They're everywhere!
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[15] Below: Phlox divaricata (Wild Blue Phlox, or Woodland Phlox).
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[16] Below: Viola rostrata (Long-Spurred Violet). A native species in the violet family.
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[17] Below: Viola pubescens (Downy Yellow Violet). Another native in the violet family.
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[18] Below: Taraxacum campylodes (Common Dandelion).
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[19] Below: Geranium maculatum? (Wild Geranium, or Wood Geranium).
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[20] Below: Trillium grandiflorum (Great White Trillium). Not sure why I didn't post these earlier, given they're everywhere right now. They're also our Provincial flower in Ontario!
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[20] Below: You can find Trillium grandiflorum in pink too!
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[21] Below: Trillium erectum (Red Trillium).
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[22] Below: Mitchella repens (Partridge berry).
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[23] Below: Sambucus nigra? (Elderberry). I'm not super confident in this ID, as there's a few close lookalikes.
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[24] Below: No ID on these little guys yet. I'll have to get a closer picture to help with identification.
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[25] Below: Maianthemum racemosum.
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[26] Below: Galium odoratum (Sweetscented Bedstraw).
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[27] Below: No ID. I'm no good at identifying ferns or fern-like plants. There's quite a few different ones beginning to emerge in the area, so I may need to do some research.
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[28] Below: Petasites japonicus? (Great Butterbur). Found a large group of these near a marsh area. If the ID is correct, then it isn't native and was introduced.
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[29] Below: Caltha palustris (Marsh Marigold). Native to marshes. I only found them growing right in the water.
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[30] Below: Vinca minor (Common Periwinkle). Invasive species in my region.
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[31] Below: Prunus spinosa? (Blackthorn). May also be Prunus cerasifera (Cherry Plum), but it sounds like P. spinosa is more likely to be found in my area.
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[32] Below: Hydrophyllum virginianum (Virginia Waterleaf). A native species that sometimes spreads through rhizomes to form large colonies.
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[33] Below: Caulophyllum thalictroides (Blue Cohosh).
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New Pollinator Garden
Posted on Mar 27, 2021 1:19 PM

I finally decided where to begin construction of a new pollinator garden. This project originally came from wanting to provide more resources for the many carpenter bees I often find on my property. My raspberry bushes are often swarming with carpenter bees, honeybees, bumblebees, and a variety of other pollinators during the summer, so I've decided to build the new garden near the bushes. I'll be digging out a corner of the yard around my small maple tree, and along the cedar hedges a bit. I'll post updates here as the project progresses.

March 27:
This week, I obtained a decent sized log from one of the trees that was recently cut down in a nearby park by construction workers. The logs were discarded by the gully, so I retrieved one to use for housing. I'll be drilling several 6" deep tunnels into the log to provide nesting sites for solitary bees. This will likely be tucked under the raspberries. I'm hoping I can retrieve one or two more to provide more nesting sites, and maybe some of the branches that were discarded.
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The workers destroyed a neighbor's fence that was also built out of unfinished logs. Instead of rebuilding it, she offered if I wanted any of the materials, so I retrieved some of the thicker pieces for the project. The logs have a few tunnels through them, and are well weathered. I intend to use them as a border for the garden, and am hoping the variety of natural pits and contours will provide more shelter for insects.
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This is also the same corner of the yard that I intend to dig out for the garden.

I've already seen some early honeybees in the yard, so I picked up some common hyacinths (Hyacinthus orientalis) as a food source while the garden project is in-progress. There's a pink one currently in-bloom, and a selection of blues, purples and whites that are approaching blooms. Hopefully the garden construction doesn't take too long, and these can be moved in soon. I'll be keeping an eye on the nurseries over the next while for more additions. (Thank you to everyone in the pollinator forum for their plant recommendations!)

First hyacinth purchase. Only paid $2.50 because it was already in bloom:
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Purples nearing bloom:
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Blues nearing bloom:
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The full selection. There's some whites in there as well:
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$4.99 each for the smaller pots with a single plant. $7.99 for the larger pots, which had 3 plants per pot, and therefore was a much better deal.

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Seed Projects for 2021
Posted on Mar 9, 2021 2:18 PM

This is a log for seed projects intended for 2021. Many of these are new for me, so this will serve as a progress report, and resource for future reference.

March 27 - several seeds germinated


Chinese Radish Watermelon | 'McKenzie Seeds'
- First time growing

Cucamelon (Melothria scabra) | 'West Coast Seeds'
- First time growing
- Sown March 21
- Germinated March 26

Lemon Cucumber | 'OSC Seeds' | Heirloom
- First time growing. Never heard of these. Look kind of interesting for something a bit different.
- Sown March 21
- Germinated March 24 (currently the largest, and fastest growing seedlings)

Long Island Improved Brussels Sprouts | 'OSC Seeds' | Heirloom
- First time growing from seed.
- Sown March 21
- Germinated March 24
- May restart these. Seedlings are a bit leggier than I'd prefer.

Early Purple Sprouting Broccoli | 'International Garden Seeds - Aimers'
- First time growing.
- Sown March 21
- Germinated March 24

Sunburst Scallopini (Curcubita pepo) | 'West Coast Seeds'
- First time growing

Total Eclipse Hybrid Squash | 'OSC Seeds' |
- First time growing

Sweet Dumpling Squash | 'OSC Seeds'
- First time growing

Indigo Rose Tomatoes | 'West Coast Seeds'
- First time growing. Really looking forward to these ones.
- Sown March 21
- Germinated March 26

Chocolate Cherry Tomatoes | 'McKenzie Seeds'
- First time growing
- Sown March 21

Sunrise Bumble Bee Tomatoes | 'McKenzie Seeds'
- First time growing
- Sown March 21
- Germinated March 25 and 26

Zucchini Squash | 'OSC Seeds' | Heirloom
- First time growing

Lunar White Carrot | 'OSC Seeds' | Heirloom
- Trying to grow in pots this year

Buttercrunch Lettuce | 'McKenzie Seeds'
- Sown March 21

Microgreens | 'McKenzie Seeds' | Hot Mix
- First time growing
- Contains: Purple Wave Mustard, Mizuna Lime Streaked Mustard, Tatsoi Mustard, Red Ursa Kale, Purple Vienna Kohlrabi

Microgreens | 'McKenzie Seeds' | Mild Mix
- First time growing
- Contains: Red Express Cabbage, Lacinato Kale, Tatsoi Black Knight Mustard, Pak Choi Cabbage, Mizuna Mustard

Soya Bean | 'OSC Seeds' | BeSweet Soya #292
- First time growing

Windsor Broad Beans | 'West Coast Seeds'
- First time growing

Aunt Molly's Ground Cherry (Physalis pruinosa) | 'McKenzie Seeds'
- First time growing
- Sown March 21


Sage | 'OSC Seeds' | Heirloom
- Sown March 21

Lemon Balm | 'OSC Seeds'
- Sown March 21

Lemon Basil | 'OSC Seeds'
- Sown March 21
- Germinated March 26

Fennel | 'OSC Seeds' | Heirloom
- Sown March 21

Chamomile | 'OSC Seeds' | Heirloom
- Sown March 21

Catnip | 'OSC Seeds' | Heirloom
- Sown March 21

Lavender | 'McKenzie Seeds'
- Sown March 21

Peppermint | 'McKenzie Seeds'
- Sown March 21

Mystery Mint | 'McKenzie Seeds'
- Just labelled as "Mint". Not sure what kind.
- Sown March 21

Bee Pollinator Mix | 'OSC Seeds' | Perennial + Annual Mix
- Contains: New England Aster, Black Eyed Susan, Borage, Butterfly Weed, Corn poppy, Eastern Columbine, Forget-Me-Not, Perennial Gaillardia, Lance Leaf Coreopsis, Lemon Mint, Partridge Pea, Lupines, Purple Coneflower, Sweet Mignoette and Wild Bergamot.
- First time growing
- I'm hoping these will be of interest to the large number of carpenter bees and honeybees I have on my property in the spring and summer. They like to swarm around my raspberry bushes and milkweeds, so these will likely be planted nearby.

Butterfly Mixture | 'OSC Seeds' | OSC Special Mix, Perennials
- Contains: Alyssum, Daisy, Bachelor Buttons, Butterfly Weed, Candytuft, Columbine, Coneflowers, Coreopsis, Cosmos, Scarlet Flax, Marigold, Poppy and Wallflower.
- First time growing

Butterfly Milkweed | 'McKenzie Seeds'
- First time growing
- Intending to cut back some of my current milkweeds and adding these in for some diversity to increase pollinator interest.

March 27:

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