146/150: Engelmann’s Quillwort is under threat! Only 2000 left in Canada

Plantae: Lycopodiophyta: Isoetopsida: Isoetales: Isoetaceae: Isoetes: Isoetes engelmannii (A.Braun.)

The Engelmann’s Quillwort (Isoetes engelmannii), also known as Appalachian Quillwort, is an aquatic plant found along shallow ponds, temporary shallow pools, roadside ditches and marshes. It is small fern that is 20-40 cm in height but can grow up to 90 cm. It has long, thin, hollow green leaves. It is uncommon but widespread throughout eastern North America. In Canada, it is native but only found in two locations in Ontario restricted to two rivers. For this reason, it is considered endangered in Canada. Habitat destruction, recreational activities, and pollution contribute to the threat to its population. #Canada150 #Biodiversity150

Specimen CCDB-23395-A02 – Ontario, Canada – 13-Sep-1989. Photo Credit: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Engelmann’s quillwort at the edge of a shallow pond. Photo Credit: W. Carl Taylor, hosted by the USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / USDA NRCS. 1995. Northeast wetland flora: Field office guide to plant species. Northeast National Technical Center, Chester.
Engelmann’s quillwort found in a river valley. Photo Credit: Alan Cressler goo.gl/t34fqJ

Here’s the barcode sequence information for this species:

Process ID: VASCB002-15

nucleotide sequence


amino acid sequence


Visual representation of DNA barcode sequence for Engelmann's Quillwort

141/150: Oh, Oh, Oh, Sweet Serviceberry of Mine!

Plantae: Magnoliophyta: Magnoliopsida: Rosales: Rosaceae: Amelanchier: Amelanchier alnifolia (Thomas Nuttall)

The Amelanchier alnifolia or commonly known as the Saskatoon serviceberry is found widely across the Americas. Its name is derived from the Cree word “misaskwatomina” meaning “fruit of the tree with many branches”. This hardy plant requires little attention with plenty of sunlight and mulch, similar to your old pet rock that you forgot about. In autumn, the colours of the leaves turn a radiant reddish-purple and yellowish-gold. Additionally, the Saskatoon serviceberry is a food of the past! Travelers and early settlers ate its berries as a sweet alternative to their everyday meals. Humans are not the only ones to value its gifts, some pest species such as aphids and thrips feed on the serviceberry as well. This species is represented with 18 records on BOLD. #Biodiversity150 #Canada150

Specimen ERM457 – Vancouver Island, British Columbia – 6-Jun-2011. Photo Credit: UBC Herbarium
The flower of Saskatoon serviceberry. Photo Credit: Hansen’s Northwest Native Plant Database goo.gl/b3V9Gw

Here’s the barcode sequence information for this species:

Process ID: BBYUK1576-12

nucleotide sequence


amino acid sequence


Visual representation of DNA barcode sequence for Saskatoon serviceberry

112/150: Autumn is here and the Tamarack Tree loses its needles

Plantae: Pinophyta: Pinidae: Pinales: Pinaceae: Larix: Larix laricina (Du Roi) K. Koch

From the Algonquin word “akemantak” meaning “wood used for snowshoes”, tamarack is a native larch to Canada with a country-wide range. Tamarack are deciduous conifers, meaning they lose their needles in the autumn! Continue reading “112/150: Autumn is here and the Tamarack Tree loses its needles”

101/150: Not a banana, not a mango, it’s a pawpaw fruit!

Plantae: Magnoliophyta: Magnoliopsida: Magnoliales: Annonaceae: Asimina: Asimina triloba Linnaeus, Dunal

What do you get when you cross the taste of a banana with the look and texture of a mango? A pawpaw fruit! Believe it or not, the tropical-looking pawpaw tree, which is native to North America, gives the largest tree berry in all of North America. When blossoming, the common pawpaw (Asimina tribola) can give off an unpleasant odour. Continue reading “101/150: Not a banana, not a mango, it’s a pawpaw fruit!”

96/150: Surprisingly the butterwort lacks both butter and warts, but it does eat insects!

Plantae: Magnoliophyta: Magnoliopsida: Lamiales: Pinguicula vulgaris (Linnaeus)

The common butterwort is an insectivorous plant that has some special basal leaves. The bright green leaves have glandular hairs that produce a sticky substance to trap insects and enzymes to break them down. Once an insect has been trapped, the plant curls its leaves in and digests it. Continue reading “96/150: Surprisingly the butterwort lacks both butter and warts, but it does eat insects!”

90/150: Rattlesnake Plantains – orchids used for traditional cures

Plantae: Magnoliophyta: Liliopsida: Asparagales: Orchidaceae: Goodyera (robert brown)

Rattlesnake plantains are not nearly as scary as their names make them out to be. There are 4 species in North America belonging to the Goodyera genus and all known as rattlesnake plantains. They look like fleshy weeds, but are actually a type of orchid with signature veins on their leaves. Continue reading “90/150: Rattlesnake Plantains – orchids used for traditional cures”

85/150: Common Milkweed is bitter and milky, perfect for the Monarch Butterfly

Plantae: Spermatophyta: Angiospermae: Dicotyledonae: Gentianales: Asclepiadaceae: Asclepias: Asclepias syriaca (Blanco, 1837)

Asclepias syriaca or Common Milkweed is native to eastern North America and receives its name from the milky sap excreted from the stem and leaves when damaged. This full sun, drought tolerant plant blooms in early to mid-summer attracting a variety of insects including bumblebees, monarch butterflies and hummingbird moths. Continue reading “85/150: Common Milkweed is bitter and milky, perfect for the Monarch Butterfly”

70/150: When you think of Ginseng do you think of Canada? You will after reading this!

Plantae: Magnoliophyta: Magnoliopsida: Apiales: Araliaceae: Panax quinquefolius (Linneaus)

Ginseng is a perennial herb whose root is highly prized and commonly refers to one of two varieties, American Ginseng (P. quinquefolius) or Asian Ginseng (P. ginseng). Both contain ginsenosides, which are the compounds thought to give ginseng its medicinal properties. Continue reading “70/150: When you think of Ginseng do you think of Canada? You will after reading this!”

66/150: Well, that is just dumb luck

Plantae: Pteridophyta: Pteridopsida: Hydropteridales: Marsileaceae: Marsilea vestita (Linnaeus)

Don’t be fooled, Hairy waterclover (Marsilea vestita) may LOOK like something that could give you a lifetime of good luck, but in reality are just four-leaf clover wannabes. Hairy waterclover, also known as Hairy pepperwort, is a type of aquatic fern that you can find in damp areas such as vernal pools, ponds and muddy banks. Continue reading “66/150: Well, that is just dumb luck”

55/150: Canadian Goldenrod, not the reason for your sneezin’

Plantae: Magnoliophyta: Magnoliopsida: Asterales: Solidago canadensis (Linneaus)

While you’re reading this, an unknown number of people are blaming their allergies on the misunderstood Canadian Goldenrod. For about 30 seconds of your day, we can provide you with some interesting knowledge about our very own Canadian Goldenrod so you can see its importance and beauty. Continue reading “55/150: Canadian Goldenrod, not the reason for your sneezin’”