Experience the Flora in the Mountain Parks
As you explore one of Canada’s most spectacular landscapes, you’ll often be staring toward immense ramparts. At other times, you’ll be squinting to spot some of an area’s amazing animals. Just remember to look down to appreciate some of the unique wild flowers that line the trails and roadsides.
To many locals, the crocus is the official harbinger of spring. Its delicate pinkishpurple flowers announce the start of the wild-flower season.
As the spring gives way to summer, the calypso orchid or fairy slipper emerges from carpets of needles lying beneath towering forests of lodgepole pine.
An Amazing Diversity
As you learn to recognize wildflowers, take note of where you encounter them. Was the area in the open sun or more shaded? Were the plants protected from the elements or subjected to high winds? Was the soil moist or dry? Learning to recognize the landscape within which the flowers live will help you anticipate which flowers to expect as you head out on future wildflower walks.
Flowers of the Montane
The valley bottom plays host to most of the early season wildflowers. Watch for the tiny bloom of the blue violet and the creamy flowers of the yellow locoweed. Try to find the star flowered Solomon’s seal, bunchberry, wild strawberry, bearberry, twinflower or a prickly rose.
Flowers of the High Country
This season is short so the flowers need to bloom as soon as conditions allow. Watch for red and purple flowers, like the common red paintbrush, alpine forgetme- not, and the tiny moss campion. Other high elevation flowers include the cow parsnip and the club like flower clusters of the bear grass.
This summer, get to know a few of the wild flowers. They’ll be your constant roadside and trailside companions as you roll your way through the mountains and unlike bears, they don’t run away as soon as you try to get a good look at them. But remember: look, don’t pick!