The total flora of Kejimkujik
National Park consists of 544 vascular plants
including 23 species of ferns, 15 of orchids,
about 37 aquatic and at least 90 woody plants.
Although frequent fires have resulted in areas
of bare rock and barrenlands, the bogs and meadows,
as well as the coniferous and hardwood forests,
are rich in plant life due to the high level
of rainfall. The park forest is of the Atlantic
Upland variety of the Acadia type. In the lowest
poorly drained marshlands, the growth is black
spruce, tamarack and balsam fir.
Bogs in spring are covered
in rhodora, bog rosemary, pale laurel and cranberry.
About 1/5 of the forest are mixed stands of
softwood and hardwood - the result of disturbance
such as fire or logging, which opened up old
growth stands, giving white birch and balsam
fir a foot hold. Mixed woods host wildflower
species such as bunchberry, clintonia, twinflower,
painted trillium and goldthread. Softwood forests
of red spruce, balsam fir and the occasional
large white pine, the most sought-after for
lumber, are found in the high drier areas that
make up 20% of the park. On the forest floor,
ground cover consists of bracken ferns, blueberry,
sheeps laurel and bunchberry.
Few old-growth hardwood stands
remain but on sites such as drumlin hills, where
the soil is deeper and better drained, hardwood
such as birch, oak and red maple are typical.
Because more light penetrates the leafy canopy
of these woods, the understory is lusher and
tends to be dominated by ferns. Wildflowers
in the hardwood forests feature blue violet,
starflower, rose twisted-stalk and cancer-root.
Towering groves of 300-year old eastern hemlock
can still be found on well-drained slopes with
a few mosses for understory. In the open softwoods,
in hemlock stands and along riverbanks and lakeshores,
families of orchids such as common ladys
slipper, rattlesnake plantain, and coralroot
bloom in May and June. The water pennywort,
a coastal plain plant that occurs in Canada
only in southwestern Nova Scotia, has been identified
as endangered. In all, about 20 coastal plain
plant species protected by the park are not
found elsewhere in Canada.