Late May Walk Through Bridgeview Park, Petrolia

It was a beautiful morning; still cool enough with a gentle breeze. During my morning walk with Maya, I decided to bring along my camera and take some photographs of spring flowers we came across. On the drive through the park we had a small Swallowtail butterfly guiding us to our trail.

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Road into Bridgeview Conservation Area.

The trails at the north side of the Bridgeview Conservation Area aren’t exactly named or marked but we took one just passed the dog run that winds up through the fields and forest and then loops back along the road.

The path in is very welcoming, or spooking, depending on who you ask.

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Welcoming or spooking?

Here are some of the spring flowers and other interesting things I photographed on the trail.

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Snail taking cover or foraging?

Red Clover (non-native)

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Red clover.

The red clover is an interesting, non-native species with a long bloom time: May to September. Introduced as a hay and pasture crop, this flower is often found in yards and fields.

Dame’s Rocket (non-native)

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Dames Rocket

This bright purple/pink flower, known as Dame’s Rocket, was everywhere. It is another introduced species from Europe.

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Dames Rocket

This flowers used to be called ‘Mother-of-the-evening’ because its fragrance is more pronounced at the end of the day.

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Dames Rocket

Almost everywhere you look on this trail you will see Dame’s Rockets right now.

Common Wintercress (non-native)

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Common Wintercress

This is Common Wintercress, another import from Eurasia. The young leaves and cluster of flower buds can be used in salads.

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Common Wintercress.

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Common Wintercress

The Common Wintercress is definitely very common at Bridgeview Conservation Area this spring.

Daisy Fleabane (native)

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Daisy Fleabane

Daisy Fleabane is one of few native wildflowers spotted on this hike. The buds are usually light pink and then the open flower is predominately white.

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Daisy Fleabane

This plant was named ‘fleabane’ because people used to believe that the dried flower heads would get rid of fleas in their homes.

Common Buttercup (non-native)

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Common Buttercup

Another introduced species, Common Buttercup, is easily distinguished by its shiny, waxy leaves. This shine can make it very difficult to photograph, especially in direct sunlight.

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Common Buttercup

The Common Buttercup is somewhat poisonous, because the sap is acrid, which protects the plant from being eaten.

Yellow Hawkweed (non-native)

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Yellow Hawkweed

Yellow Hawkweed, or King Devil, is from Europe and is similar to the Orange Hawkweed.

Yellow Wood Sorrel (native)

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Yellow Wood Sorrel

The second native species spotted on the walk is Yellow Wood Sorrel or Sour Grass, as it is also known. It is a low spreading plant with clover like leaves. If you taste the leaves you’ll find them sour-tasting.

Oxeye Daisy (non-native)

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Oxeye Daisy

The Oxeye Daisy (non-native) is very common with is a pretty, showy flower.

Did you know that if dairy cows eat Oxeye daisies it will cause their milk to have a ‘funny’, unwanted flavour?

Virginia Waterleaf (native)

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Virginia Waterleaf

My third native flower spotted during the hike! This is the Virginia Waterleaf and its flowers can be white or dark violet, like these are.

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Virginia Waterleaf

There was a nice, concentrated area of Virginia Waterleaf at the top of the trail. This was the first time I’ve photographed them.

Birdsfoot Trefoil (non-native)

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Birdsfoot Trefoil

One of my favourite flowers, even though it isn’t native – Birdsfoot Trefoil. I love the cluster of flowers and even the name!

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Birdsfoot Trefoil

A delicate and cute little flower.

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Maya is always looking for interesting things to photograph… or to eat (not necessarily in that order).

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She was also very patient with me while I was photographing during her walk.

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Common Dandelion

No walk would be complete without a shot of a dandelion stage.

As you can see it can be quite difficult to find native species in urban areas. All of the introduced species are thriving and competing with what was once a native habitat. Unfortunately, native plants are too often referred to as “weeds” which makes people wary to plant them in their gardens. Some native plants are definitely best left in meadows, fields and forests but there are many “well-behaved” plants that produce beautiful flowers while being beneficial to insects, birds and pollinators. Native plants require less watering, no pesticides and increase the overall diversity in an area. Next time you’re thinking of adding new plants to your garden, think about choosing native species.

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