You may not remember all the words to The Maple Leaf Forever, but that doesn’t mean you can’t observe Canada Day, on July 1 of every year, in the garden. From Cape Race to Nootka Sound, Canadians will be spending the day watching picnicking and enjoying the first statutory holiday of summer in the flourishing green.
While The Maple Leaf Forever described the Dominion of Canada as a place where “thistle, shamrock and rose entwine,” our 13 official provincial and territorial flowers and plants show a far more complicated – and more beautiful — picture of our country’s biodiversity from East to West and North to South.
Plants and Flowers of Canadian Provinces
Pitcher Plants are found in bogs and other marshy wetlands throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. The flame-coloured blossom heads aren’t just pretty petals. This provincial plant is a carnivore that feeds on insects.
The woodlands of Prince Edward Island host the fragile pink blooms of the Lady’s Slipper that must be enjoyed where spotted. It is just too delicate to transplant.
The May Flowers of Nova Scotia are over by Canada Day, but its legacy of spring hope in the receding snow is still celebrated.
The Purple Violets of New Brunswick do bloom early and stay for the fireworks. Interestingly, syrups made from the petals of this provincial flower are said to be good for digestion.
Quebec has an official tree, the Yellow Birch. The bark peels from the tree have always been important to human survival because, even when wet, they can be used to start a fire.
The official flower of Ontario is the Trillium and, one of sub-species, The Drooping Trillium is not just a metaphor for the state of the economy, but an endangered species. If you spot one in the woods, please report your sighting to the province at the link provided.
Manitoba has both an official flower, the Crocus, and an official tree, the White Spruce. The White Spruce is favoured by some as a Christmas tree because it holds its needles longer than many other varieties.
The Western Red Lily is Saskatchewan’s official flower and looks almost tropical on the green background of the provincial flag.
The Wild Rose of Alberta cannot be contained by any one political party’s efforts to adopt it as its own. In a country known for exporting so many comedians, there is no joke too thorny for Canada Day.
The Pacific Dogwood is the floral emblem of British Columbia. The white blossoms of spring give way to red berries in autumn.
The 8-petal Mountain Avens of the Northwest Territories, a dwarf member of the rose family, blooms for a short time every spring throughout the arctic region.
The Purple Saxifrage is the official flower of Nunavut and the first sign of the arctic spring. It grows on rock, where little else can root.
Even in July, Canadians never forget, the fleeting beauty of seasons changing through the breath-taking foliage of our home.