The flowers of many of Ontario's native plants are small and inconspicuous. Their form is natural; a result of an evolutionary process called natural selection. Most of our common (and non-native) garden plants have larger, showy flowers because they've been transformed by artificial selection -- a process of selective breeding by humans. The subtle beauty of native plants often requires a careful, observant eye, and a good lens! But the role of native plants in ecosystem food webs is essential -- they feed the native animals they coevolved with. See below for the latest additions to our favourite native plants.
Black chokeberry, or "Nina's favourite jam plant", a gorgeous native shrub in the rose family, 16 May 2015 (Photo NM Zitani)
Aronia melanocarpa (family Rosaceae) has a hideous common name, "black chokeberry", so I've renamed it "Nina's favourite jam plant". The fruits make the most delicious jam, and they're loaded with antioxidants. Read more on the Wikipedia page on Aronia. Bloodroot, pictured below, is a member of the Papaveraceae, or poppy family. It has medicinal properties, and a fascinating evolutionary relationship with harvester ants. Bloodroot seeds have a structure called an elaiosome that provides nutrition for the ants. The ants in turn disperse and germinate the seeds. See incredible photography of the bloodroot-ant association by Alexander Wild.
Bloodroot, "Sanguinaria canadensis" has a symbiotic relationship with harvester ants, 14 March 2015 (photo NM Zitani).
Last updated 16 May 2015
All materials contained on this website are protected under United States and Canadian Copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, or published without the prior written permission of the author(s).