Wild About Native Plants

  • Downhome Magazine
  • Posted: Mar 22, 2010 5:01 PM
By Ross Traverse

Every spring our lawns, meadows and even roadside ditches begin another season of changing colours and eye-catching blooms as our wildflowers begin to blossom. It makes one envious of Mother Nature, knowing we couldn't make our flower gardens so beautiful as these wild ones, even if we planted them on purpose. But that doesn't mean we can't try to coax such beauty out of our backyards. We just need to know what to look for and what each plant needs to be content.

We should begin with recognizing the beauty in wild flowers that many "fussy" gardeners consider to be pesky plants. Take the notorious dandelion, Taraxacum officinale, for example. For many gardeners it is a major weed problem, even though it can be quite enjoyable. Not only is it one of the surest signs of spring, laying carpets of sunny yellow, the plant is edible. The leaves are used as early spring greens. The yellow flowers can be used to make a unique white wine, and the root can be dried and used as the coffee substitute. The dandelion is not native to our province, but was introduced from Europe many, many years ago.

Some native plants like fireweed, Chamerion angustifolium, are also easily recognized when they are in flower along our highways. They create swaths of pink that sway in the breeze. The native wild rose, Rosa nitida, is another plant that most of us recognize when it is in flower.

To read more about wildflowers and native plants, check out the April issue of Downhome, on stands now!

Wildflower Recipes

Click the link below to discover recipes using wildflowers, such as fireweed honey and jelly:


Find out how to make dandelion wine, and much more, by checking out these links:





Wildlife Photography

Close-up (macro) photography opens up a whole new world for plant enthusiasts. You do not need an expensive camera, but you do need to know a little bit about photography. In addition to being pretty, wildflower photos are a great help in getting a plant identified. If you find a flower you don't recognize, take a portrait and a panoramic view of it, then email the photos to an expert botanist for identification. In this province, the Newfoundland and Labrador Wildflower Society holds meetings where members present their photos and discuss the plants.

For more information on the Wildflower Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, contact Howard Clase at hclase@morgan.ucs.mun.ca.

Click the links below for self-help photography tips:




Wild About Wildflowers

For more information about wildflowers in Newfoundland, check out the following links: