Great Canadian Parks / Nova Scotia

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The Parks / Nova Scotia / Kejimkujik National Park


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, sheep’s 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 lady’s 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.

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