Tundra Blooms: Part 1

Last summer I didn’t start my field season until early July.  The tundra was lovely and green when I arrived, but unfortunately I missed seeing most of the wildflowers bloom. This year I was lucky enough to start my adventure in late May and I got to enjoy the bulk of the flowering season.

I thought I’d put together a recap of all the flowers I’ve seen.  Here is part one.

ERICACEAE: The heath family

Alpine Azalea – The first blooms appeared in the first week of June.  Alpine Azalea grows in large patches on rocky, south-facing esker slopes and heath tundra.

Alpine Bear Berry – Alpine Bear Berry blooms are quite subtle and easy to mistake for new leaves.  These flowers appeared in the first week of June.  Bear Berry coats the esker tops and also occurs in heath tundra.

Alpine Bilberry – Bilberry blooms first appeared in the second week of June.  Alpine Bilberry can be found growing tall in shrub tundra or crawling along the ground on exposed esker faces.

 

Lapland Rosebay – I found Lapland Rosebay flowers in the second week of June.  These plants cultivate  bare, rocky esker faces.

Labrador Tea – Labrador Tea began to bloom in the third week of June.  It is a widely distributed plant, occurring prominently in most vegetation communities with the exception of the fens and gravel-faced esker tops.

Bog Laurel – I found Bog Laurel blooms in the third week of June.  One group was found in a wet area that was once the location of a small pond.  The second group was found in a riparian area near our stream research site.

Bog Rosemary – Bog Rosemary began to bloom in the second week of June.  It most abundantly occurs in wet areas dominated by Sphagnum mosses but can also be found in dry tundra communities.

Arctic White Heather – I found a patch of blooming Arctic White Heather on the last day of June.  This plant can be found on steep north-facing esker slopes.

Dry Ground Cranberry – Dry Ground Cranberry began to bloom around the last week of June.  This plant is probably the most widely distributed plant at Daring Lake (in competition with Betula glandulosa).  It occurs in wet and dry conditions, on the eskers and throughout the valleys.

Bog Cranberry – I found the first blooms in the first week of July.  Bog cranberry is not as widely distributed as Dry Ground Cranberry. It occurs in patches of Sphagnum mosses in wet areas.

Mountain Heather – Mountain Heather blooms were found in the first week of July.  This plant was found in the riparian area near our stream research site.