Fleabane on the Alvar at Singing SandsPosted: July 22, 2013 Filed under: Mineral World, Ontario, Plant Life | Tags: alvar, Bruce Peninsula National Park, erigeron philadelphicus, Fleabane, flowers, nature photography, Ontario, Philadelphia Fleabane, Singing Sands, wildflowers Leave a comment
While I was on the Bruce Peninsula, I saw many patches of lovely pink/white and yellow flowering Fleabane. The flowers are 1/2 – 1″ wide on a plant 6 – 36″ high. Fleabane is in the aster family. It got its name from the belief that the dried flower heads would get rid of fleas, according to the Audubon Field Guide to Wildflowers. This particular type is, I believe, Philadelphia Fleabane, Erigeron philadelphicus. A similar plant called Robin’s Plantain, Erigeron pulchellus seems to have fewer white/pink ray petals. If I’ve gotten this wrong, do let me know.
These shown above are at Singing Sands, on the alvar, the pitted rocks. I learned that alvars only exist in Estonia, Sweden and the Great Lakes Basin. Water from rain or melting snow collects in the rocks’ small depressions along with silt and sand. These provide growing places for plants that are able to live in harsh conditions.
Singing SandsPosted: July 15, 2013 Filed under: Ontario, Water | Tags: birds, Bruce Peninsula, Bruce Peninsula National Park, Canada, dorcas bay, Lake Huron, nature, Ontario, sand, Singing Sands Leave a comment
Last month, on the Bruce Peninsula, we went to Singing Sands twice. As I’ve mentioned, it’s part of Bruce Peninsula National Park, off of Dorcas Bay Road on the Lake Huron side of the Peninsula. I loved walking on the beach among the rocks and footprints of the birds, seeing the tenacious plants that grow there, the patterns of water on sand, hearing the gulls and terns. In past years, I’ve seen killdeer and sandpipers, but none this time. I wondered if there were fewer of them or whether I was there at the wrong time of day for them.
Northern Pitcher PlantPosted: July 11, 2013 Filed under: Ontario, Plant Life, Uncategorized | Tags: Bruce Peninsula National Park, Canada, dorcas bay, Dorcas Bay Fen, fen, flowers, insect eating plants, insects, Lake Huron, leaves, nature, northern pitcher plant, Ontario, pitcher plant, plants, Singing Sands, wildflowers Leave a comment
When I was on the Bruce Peninsula in June, we went to Singing Sands, part of Bruce Peninsula National Park. The Sands are on the Lake Huron side of the peninsula with an expanse of beach and waters that remain very shallow far out. Bordering the Sands are a woodland and fen where I took a short walk on a raised boardwalk and photographed some of the plants growing there.
The National Park signs say that a fen is a wetland with some drainage, often a stream. The Dorcas Bay Fen has much calcium in it, but is low in nitrogen. This makes it a good habitat for plants that get their nitrogen from insects. The pitcher plant is one of those. Insects that are attracted to their flowers may fall into their pitcher shaped leaves or they may be attracted to the coloured lips of the leaves. There, among downward pointing hairs, they are trapped, fall into collected water and drown. Their nutrients are then absorbed by the plant, both by enzymes it secretes and by bacteria breaking down the animal. Adventures of life and death at all levels in nature!
The Northern Pitcher Plant’s Latin name is Sarracenia purpurea. Its sci-fi looking flowers are around 2″ wide and the pitcher leaves can be 4 – 12″ long. The plant ranges in height from 8 – 24″. (Thanks again for these details to my copy of the Audubon Wildflower Field Guide.)