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Field, Forest, Hedgerow: A hikers wildflower guide for Prince Edward County by Court Noxon

Court NoxonIt has been my good fortune to spend much of the last 20 years exploring the wildflowers of Prince Edward County. I have used them in my own garden to cope successfully with challenging soil and a rigorous climate. As a Loyalist Parkway Association member, I persuaded the Ontario Ministry of Transportation to create an experimental wildflower plot in Prince Edward County and subsequently to seed four acres of wildflowers along the Parkway.

For 200 years, Prince Edward County has been an agricultural community protected from industrial and urban development. Our proximity to Lake Ontario gives us a moderate climate, but also a tendency toward drought. Our soils vary from arid sand dunes and limestone alvars to rich alluvial pockets. We enjoy inland lakes, sand beaches and pebbled ones, deep ports and shallow reefs. Our expansive wetlands and marshes offer shelter to a significant bird migration. And our history of family farming has left many mature woodlots. Our many conservation areas offer a wide variety of protected sites. Together, these factors yield an impressive assembly of plant life.

But an influx of people seeking recreation and retirement threatens these assets. Our woodlots are being cut for fuel and lumber, our wetlands filled or excavated, our shorelines reshaped, hedgerows destroyed, roadsides leveled and gravel deposits exploited.

In creating this website and identifying the wonders at our doorstep, I hope to heighten interest in our natural world. Perhaps this inventory of native plants and flowers will help County residents and visitors to recognize in them a treasure worth protecting in the face of changes still to come.

Court Noxon

All flowers in this database were photographed in Prince Edward County by the author.

Occurrence ratings (common, unusual, rare) are based on observations in Prince Edward County, rather than on regional or national values.

Scientific names (genus, specie) can be difficult to verify, and some are disputed by experts. In those cases, only the genus may be given.

Common names are those I have heard used locally. Who can resist names like Cowslip, Pig's Ear, Hoary Puccoon or Pipsissewa?

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