Ottawa’s botanists have completed a new book; Official Plant Emblems of Canada, A Biodiversity Treasure that explores our provincial flowers in a funny, intriguing and sometimes gross way!
Biology and politics also met back in 1999 when Quebec replaced it’s first official flower, the white lily. They switched to the blue flag iris which is natural in Quebec, whereas the white lily is not a native.
Though written by members of Canada’s agriculture staff this book is not the dry, boring stuff of biology text books. Instead it’s written in plain English and stuffed full of interesting facts of each provinces native plants and trees. Sometimes funny, sometimes intriguing and yes, sometimes just plain gross!
A must have for all plant enthusiasts you will find many tidbits of information such as:
- The Alberta Rose has a 2nd official name “the Wild Prickly Rose” (no political joke intended!)
- Nova Scotias provincial berry, the blue berry won’t ripen after being picked
- Nunavut’s emblem the saxifrage is used by the Inuit for upset stomachs, but use to much and diarrhea will set in
- Prince Edward Island chose the lady’s-slipper orchid as its official flower without realizing there are different species of it. In 1965 the legislature chose the pink lady’s-slipper and put an end to this political crisis!
- Newfoundland & Labrador is home to the pitcher plant, it eats insects & there aren’t too many flesh-eating plants around
Of course along with the fun facts there is genetic information, loads of pictures & it covers the entire country from coast to coast. Ernest Small, one of the authors said “We felt it was hard to ask voters to protect biodiversity unless they know what lives in our country in the first place” so they decided to start with the provinces & territories official flowers and trees and cover the whole country that way.
The large, hardcover book sells for $49.95 and is published by Public Works and Government Services Canada, Agriculture Canada will market it. The Authors are: Ernest Small, Paul M Catling & Brenda Brookes.