11th August: Despite threatening weather, we set off at 6.30 pm from the Heath St entrance last Wednesday 8th August under the guidance of our intrepid leader, Karen Sun, from Parks, Forestry and Recreation:
There were 19 of us at the start. Here is the other half of the crowd:
Karen said that her favourite flower book is Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide, because it uses drawings rather than photos, making identification easier. We set off down the path, stopping frequently to identify plants. This is Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia). a native plant:
Nearby was Daisy Fleabane (Erigeron annuus), a non-native plant (Karen later kindly checked all my plant names and gave me the Latin name and whether native/non-native):
Here we have White Vervain (Verbena urticifolia), a native plant:
We have a lot of this particular plant, Giant Ragweed (Ambrosia trifida), another native one:
Here Karen is talking about all the non-native trees and plants, some invasive, that have increasingly colonized our ravines:
This is one of them – the delightfully descriptive Dog Strangling Vine (DSV) (Vincetoxicum rossicum), a non-native and invasive plant (see below). Karen said that a natural control for DSV, a moth, is being worked on. Another one in this same location that is unfortunately quite prevalent in Cedarvale is Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata). I observed this plant on my trip to England in its native habitat, where it is kept under control by competition from many other plants such as nettles, docks, thistles etc.
Another import – the yellow flower below – is Yellow Toadflax/Butter and Eggs (Linaria vulgaris):
And two more non-native flowers are Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare), the yellow flower, and Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), the purple flower:
Here is Purple loosestrife again, with Comfrey (the white flower, non-native) (Symphytum officinale) in the centre:
Yet another non-native and invasive plant is Sweet white clover (Melilotus albus):
Here is a native plant which rejoices in the lovely name of White snake root (Ageratina altissima):
The last one Karen pointed out is one of the first to appear in spring, with its yellow flower that is easy to mistake for the dandelion. At this time of year, the flower has gone and there are only leaves to identify it – Coltsfoot (tussilago farfara):
At some point in our walk, lightning flashed and thunder rumbled, so we turned back before even reaching the cat-tail wetland and the Bathurst St bridge. Demonstrating the power of water, here is Ivor standing beside the enormous crevices created in the path by the torrential deluge on the night of the previous Tuesday 7th August. By today they had all been filled in:
Many thanks once again to Karen for giving up her off-work time to help us understand the ecology of our beloved park.