The Carden Plain is part of the “Land Between,” an area bordered by the Canadian Shield and Great Lakes Lowlands. An alvar is characterized by a limestone base with a small or no amount of soil. The birding in this area is world renowned and it is recognized as an Important Birding Area. Also, it supports unique plants that adapt to the harsh conditions of wet springs and very dry summer conditions. An open alvar vista in bloom will take your breath away with its delicate, harsh beauty.
On the Carden Alvar, a different form of sumac takes over where the thin soils over limestone bedrock create more difficult growing conditions. Fragrant sumac, as its name suggests, releases a pleasant citrus-like aroma when its young leaves are crushed. This species turns red in the autumn as well, but a somewhat softer, rosier shade than its staghorn cousin.