Forested areas in our region contain a wide variety of majestic deciduous and coniferous trees. As you travel further north in Simcoe County, the forest type shifts as you get closer to the Canadian Shield. You will begin to notice that there are more conifer trees, especially the common, yet important, balsam fir.
There has been much emphasis lately on plants that benefit wildlife, especially pollinators such as bees. Most people think of native wildflowers for this purpose but there are many helpful, and beautiful, native shrubs that are important to wildlife.
The name tamarack comes from an Algonkian word meaning “wood to make snowshoes”, telling us just how important this tree species was to the First Nation community.
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.
There are four species of trilliums growing in our area; white trilliums, red trillium, which are both widespread, while the painted trillium and nodding trillium are both rare and uncommon.
White trilliums bloom in early spring in forested areas before the trees above them leaf out and block the sunlight. Spring forest flowers take advantage of the time between the thawing of the soil and the unfurling of tree leaves when the forest floor is warm enabling the flowers to grow very rapidly.
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