Monday, February 25, 2013

Provincial Post - Saskatchewan

 Lilium philadelphicum andinum or the Western Red Lily has been recognized as Saskatchewan's provincial floral emblem since 1941. It is displayed on the flag of Saskatchewan and the flower is protected under the Provincial Emblems and Honours Act, meaning it cannot be picked, uprooted or destroyed in any way.
The lily is widely distributed across North America. In Canada, it is found in all provinces except those of the maritimes, and is found in many of the eastern states in the U.S.A.

Distribution map of L. philadelphicum Photo Credit:

 With such a wide distribution the Western Red Lily tolerates a wide range of different habitats. Its preferred habitat is the low grassy vegetation found in grass prairies and mountain meadows. It can also be found in open woods, thickets, roadsides, and by barrens and dunes.

The plant also varies quite a bit in height, leaf size and arrangement, flower colour and the length of its fruit. This variation accounts for its many names: Wood Lily, Philadelphia Lily, Prairie Lily or Western Red Lily not to mention the lily's many scientific names, although Lilium philadelphicum is used the most. The spotted flowers hold themselves erect on the stem and can vary from deep reds to orange-red to (very rarely) yellow.  The Western Red Lily blooms in June and July and grows typically to a height of one to two feet tall. Being a prairie plant it loves the sun and does fine in dry soil. That said, it is a fairly adaptable plant.

Western Red Lily is pollinated by large swallowtail butterflies; in the west by the pale swallowtail  and western tiger swallowtail, in the east by the eastern tiger swallowtail. Hummingbirds are also attracted to the flowers. 

 According to the EFlora website, the Cree, Meskwaki, and Blackfoot used Lilium philadelphicum bulbs as food, while other tribes used bulbs medicinally and in witchcraft. The Malecite mixed the roots with those of Rubus species and staghorn sumac to treat coughs and fevers. The Chippewa made a poultice that was applied to dog bites and caused the dog’s fangs to drop out. The Iroquois made a decoction of the whole plant to shed the placenta after childbirth, women used a decoction of the roots as a wash if the husband was unfaithful, and the whole plant was used as a romantic aid: if sun-dried plants twisted together, they signified a wife’s infidelity. The bulbs are said to have very good flavor and have been used in cooking.

Where is Saskatchewan located?

It is the province in yellow gold.
Imagine golden wheat fields blowing in the prairie wind

Friday, February 15, 2013

Birds of a Feather

Mourning Doves. They are not the most desired birds for the bird feeder, however I don't want them to starve either.

At one point I counted 10 Mourning doves in the front yard. Four of them were sitting on the roof of my car before I managed to snap this photo.

Other regulars are the Juncos. During the storm last week I managed to capture a male make numerous attempts to get to the suet feeder.

Hard to tell, but he was eyeing that feeder from every angle in between attempts.

And then yesterday I caught a glimpse of a bird I did not recognize right away at the feeder. Why are they always on the opposite side from the camera??

Close up

I wish there was more to see, sorry. Anyways it turns out this is a Carolina Wren. I have seen them occasionally in the summer but was not aware that they have been staying north more frequently than in the past. Must be our warm winters.
Other winter regulars at the feeder are the cardinal, nuthatches, and downy woodpecker.
All these photos were taken from my bedroom window where it is nice and warm.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Let it Snow

They called it - a snow storm to pass into southern Ontario - and they were right. An  Alberta clipper, combined with moisture from a Texas low made its way into the province.
According to our weather station, an Alberta clipper is classified as a fast-moving winter storm that originates east of the Rockies and sweeps south and eastward across southern Canada and the Upper Midwest States.  It is usually weaker than most winter storms and because it moves so quickly that it doesn't tend to drop much snow.   This combination Alberta clipper and Texas low is slow moving but potent, bringing a lot of snow as it moves across Eastern Canada.

The first two photos were taken from my bedroom at 8 AM today. You can see the wind was blowing snow as the window is wet.

The front of the house at the same time in the morning.

At 5 PM I took these photos


As I write it is still snowing. They expect another one or two centimeters as it moves off by early evening.
Hubby and I just came in from shoveling our long drive, the front steps and the walk to the shed where the shovels are kept no longer in hibernation. It took an hour and half which isn't bad timing. One day we will hire someone take away our snow like many others in the neighborhood but our gravel drive doesn't take to machines well. Besides, I still enjoy shoveling. Except for the sore shoulders I have right how. Doesn't matter, I am inside, warm, safe and with a cup of hot rooibos tea.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Provincial Post - Prince Edward Island

    Prince Edward Island (PEI) is a small island tucked in between three other provinces on the Atlantic side. The orchid Cypripedium acaule is the provincial flower for our smallest province and is probably one of the prettiest native orchids we have. It is more familiarly known as the Pink Lady's Slipper. It is a pink flowering orchid but there is also a white version out there in the wild.

    The Pink Lady's Slipper stands about six to fifteen inches with two oval shaped basal leaves. Each stalk carries a single flower. The pouch of the C. acaule opens in a slit that runs down the front of the labellum rather than a round opening and is the only orchid known to do this. The sepals vary from yellow-brown to maroon and the pouch colour ranges from deep rose to white. The Pink Lady's Slipper blooms between April and June preferably in a naturally wet habitat. It can be found in dry to wet forests, bogs, brushy barrens, heath, and roadsides in highly acidic soil. Because of a fungus  needed for growth, and  high acid requirements, C. acaule is difficult to grow in the average garden and is unlikely to survive attempts at transplantation. If the plant's blossom does not cycle through, it will not regenerate; for this reason, it is recommended that the flower not be picked.

    C. acaule can be found in the eastern third of the United States and north into Canada, coming very close to the Arctic circle. It is considered endangered in Illinois and Tennessee, Vulnerable in New York, and Unusual in Georgia.

    Pink Lady's Slipper was used by the various Indian tribes for male disorders which may mean urinary tract problems. It has also been used for love potions and sedatives.

    Pink Lady's Slipper is also known as Moccasin Flower, Two-leaved Lady's Slipper, and the Stemless Lady's-slipper.

    photos from wikipedia

    Where is Prince Edward Island?

    PEI is that small island above New Brunswick (green) and Nova Scotia (orange).