Outing: Orchid tour of Grey & Bruce Counties

With Joan Crowe

On June 12, 2010 Joan and Walter Crowe led our group of 9 eager participants on a wildflower tour of Grey and Bruce Counties. The weather looked far from promising with heavy showers in south Grey County when we left for our rendezvous at Inglis Falls for 9:30 a.m. On this occasion however the weather cooperated for the full day – the cloudy skies held off rain for our entire trip!

We headed for the Sauble Beach area just in time to meet up with one of our sister clubs (Stratford Field Naturalists) who led us to our first orchid of the day – Hooker’s Orchid (a “life” orchid for many in the group). Further hiking in the area revealed a number of interesting plants and flowers including: Blue Bead Lily in fruit (aka Clintonia), Rattlesnake Fern, King Devil (aka Yellow Hawkweed), Mouse Ear Hawkweed, Goat’s Beard (aka “Jack Go To Bed By Noon” for the tendency of the flower to close by noon), Bush Honeysuckle, Bladder Campion, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Common Blackberry, False Solomon’s Seal and our second orchid of the day – Long Bracted Green Orchid (aka Frog Orchid) – another “life” orchid for many in the group.

Our group then headed north to explore some of the side roads. We found along the roadside ditches many beautiful species (that would rival many gardens) including: Kalm’s Lobelia (aka Brook Lobelia), Pink Pyrola, Indian Paintbrush (aka Painted Cup), Wood Lily, Showy or Queen Lady’s Slipper, Royal Fern, Marsh Fern, Philadelphia Fleabane and Golden Ragwort. Closer to Red Bay we stopped once more and sharp-eyed Luke Reaume was the first to spot the European Common Twayblade – another life orchid for many of us again!

A well earned lunch at Red Bay was followed by a visit to Petrel Point. Here we were happy to see many Indian Plantain, a threatened species, doing quite well this year. The fen had many other wonderful species including: Water Cress, Round Leaved Sundew, Linear Leaved Sundew, Horned Bladderwort, Common Buttercup, many Pitcher Plants, one sedge that was easy to identify – the Bog Cotton was plentiful as was the Cow Vetch along the roadside. The treasures of the fen were the orchids of course. We saw Grass Pink, Yellow Lady’s Slipper, Bog Candles (aka Tall White Bog Orchid), Rose Pogonia (aka Snake Mouth) and another orchid new to the group – Loesel’s or Bog Twayblade!

We finished off our hike with a trip to the Oliphant Fen. Here we saw Yarrow, Wormwood, Ox Eye Daisy, Yellow Sweet Clover, Heal All (aka Selfheal), Wild Columbine, Early Meadow Rue, Shrubby Cinquefoil (not yet in bloom), Bluets, Blue Flag, Common Blue Eyed Grass and the Slender Blue Eyed Grass.

All in all we came up with (at least the ones I could remember to record) 48 species of flower of which 9 were orchids. Joan and Walter were enthusiastic, knowledgeable and made wonderful leaders for this enjoyable outing.

John Reaume

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