Nature Close to Home

We have been instructed not to travel far from home. Fortunately, in the Grand River Watershed there are many trails that are open and easily accessible. We need only to look a little more closely to see the natural world all around us. Instead of running around to a different activity every weekend, when we walk the same trail repeatedly we can see the succession of spring flowers unfolding over time in the same location.

Trout lilies are common in the forests of Southern Ontario. However, the woods beside the Health Valley Trail were carpeted in unfamiliar white trout lilies. I thought that perhaps they were an unusual variety of the yellow species, but they are actually a separate species, Erythronium albidum. A few days later, Ontario’s provincial flower, Trillium grandiflorum, was in full bloom.

Jack-in-the-pulpit, Arisaema triphyllum, are less conspicuous but no less interesting (see if you can spot one hiding with the trilliums above). Although they look like the carnivorous pitcher plant, they don’t consume the insects that are attracted to their flower, but merely use them as pollinators.

Marsh marigolds, Caltha palustris, are another common woodland plant tha tis blooming prolifically in local wetlands.

Of course, with spring come insects. The first mosquitos have appeared in the last few days and given our wet spring they are likely to be plentiful. Staying even closer to home, this native common eastern bumble bee, Bombus impatiens, was busy visiting all the blossoms on a non-native azalea in our suburban garden.

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