Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Rondeau Flora

Rondeau is awash with flower colour in spring, and I was happy to find that the same is true in the fall. I had never visited in the fall previously.

There were a couple of late-blooming orchids I wanted to see at Rondeau. Great Plains Ladies' Tresses (Spiranthes magnicamporum) is quite local in Ontario, and I was glad to see quite a few individuals in full flower. This species is quite fragrant unlike the related Nodding Ladies' Tresses (Spiranthes cernua).

Autumn Coralroot (Corallorhiza odontorhiza is another very local Ontario orchid, and also a very unobtrusive one. I would never have found these plants without help! Most of the stems are less than 10 cm tall!

Large patches of Woodland Sunflower (Helianthus divaricatus) brighten up the trails of Rondeau.

Most Goldenrods are found in sunny open habitats, but some prefer woodland, including two very distinctive species. Zigzag Goldenrod (Solidago flexicaulis) is easily recognized by its broad leaves and zigzagging stem.

Unlike most goldenrods, most of the flowers of Blue-stemmed (Solidago caesia) grow in the leaf axils.

Great Lobelia has impressive spikes of inch-long blue flowers.

Although it looks like a tropical exotic, Swamp Rose Mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos) is native, and considered a species of special concern by the Ontario government.

Flowers are not the only attraction when casting your eyes towards the ground. Although ferns don't dominate the forest floor like the often do further north, a variety of interesting species are found at Rondeau.

Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides) may be named for its evergreen fronds, still bright at Christmas.

Northern Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum pedatum) is extremely distinctive with its curving fronds.

The Broad Beech Fern (Phegopteris hexagonoptera) is considered a species of special concern in Ontario, being found primarily only in Carolinian forests.

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