Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 10/06/2015


Photo taken on July 18, 2015


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Keywords

pink
Anne Elliott
Pipsissewa
Chimaphila umbellata
Family: Ericaceae
southern Alberta
S of Calgary
Red Rock Parkway
Prince's Pine
Calgary to Waterton 264 km
FZ200#3
159 miles
18 July 2015
driving time roughly 3 hr
Blakiston Falls Trail
annkelliott
FZ200
Waterton Lakes National Park
nature
flora
flower
plant
outdoor
leaves
summer
forest
native
foliage
wildflower
Canada
Alberta
toothed
Umbellate Wintergreen


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Prince's Pine / Chimaphila umbellata

Prince's Pine / Chimaphila umbellata
A poor photo of this plant, but it was a new species for me. Really wish I could have got a better photo, but I'm no longer able to get down on my knees to take macro shots, I do have a photo showing the open flower from the underside - a pretty little thing. Seen along the Blakiston Falls Trail in Waterton Lakes National Park on 18 July 2015.

"Umbellate Wintergreen, Pipsissewa, or Prince's pine is a small perennial flowering plant found in dry woodlands, or sandy soils. It is native throughout the cool temperate Northern Hemisphere.

It grows 10–35 cm tall, and has evergreen shiny, bright green, toothed leaves arranged in opposite pairs or whorls of 3-4 along the stem. Leaves have a shallowly toothed margin, where the teeth have fine hairs at their ends. The flowers are white or pink, produced in a small umbel of 4-8 together.

Although it has green leaves year-round, it receives a significant portion of its nutrition from fungi in the soil (that is, it is a partial myco-heterotroph, which is not surprising as related plants, such as Pyrola, are partial or full myco-heterotrophs).

It is used as a flavoring in candy and soft drinks, particularly root beer."

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimaphila_umbellata

To have the chance to visit Waterton Lakes National Park in June of 2015 was such an absolute treat, but to be able to visit this beautiful region again one month later was just incredible. I think I've only ever been maybe five or so very brief times in the 37 years that I've lived here, so you can imagine my delight to get two chances in one year!! Actually, I signed up for the July trip (17-19 July) first and, though there were some aspects of the three-day trip that I wasn't particularly keen on, I knew this was a wonderful chance to go down south. Then, some time later, friend Sandy asked if I wanted to go down to Waterton in June for the Botany Alberta weekend. So, lucky, lucky me!!

It was wonderful to again be surrounded by such magnificent scenery, go on a few pleasantly slow walks with plenty of time to look for, and photograph, wildflowers, insects, and a few birds. Lots of great company with people I already knew and lots of new faces, too. The trip was organized by Nature Calgary. Everyone was free to go wherever they wanted each day, but for the two nights, we stayed at the very basic Canyon Church Camp, off the Red Rock Parkway. Dorm-style cabins (about which I will say nothing, lol!), but they do have showers and even flush toilets at the camp. We were fed so well - lots of variety and good food. We were given two breakfasts and two suppers, plus a packed lunch for the two days. Our thanks go out to the lady (can't remember her name, sorry) who cooked and prepared these meals for us! They were so much enjoyed and greatly appreciated!

Our first day, which included the long, 3-hour drive from Calgary, it rained all day long. Thankfully, the remaining two days were beautiful and sunny, and appreciated even more because of the first rainy day. The first day, we drove around Waterton town, calling in at Cameron Falls and then driving to Red Rock Canyon. We did the short walk along both sides of the canyon, in the rain, so it was pretty much useless as far as taking photos was concerned. I was happy to see a Swainson's Thrush there, the first time I had seen one close.

On the second day, 18 July, some of us went to Cameron Lake. This is a beautiful lake and I love the small jetty and the colourful canoes lined up. Our walk took us along the right hand side of the lake, through the forest. One of my favourite plants that we saw there was Water Hemlock - though I had seen it before, I had never seen it this close and in such detail. The bees and other insects love it, too, with several insects on many of the flower heads. This attractive plant is one of the most deadly poisonous plants in North America. Two other plants that I was thrilled to see were Pink Monkeyflower and Yellow-flowered Monkeyflower. I had never seen these wildflowers before. Pearly Everlasting, False Helebore, Fringed Grass-of-Parnassus, Foam Flower, and Thimbleberry were just a few of the other plants we found. We were amazed at how many orchids there were - everywhere.

Later on the second day, a few of us called in at Red Rock Canyon again and, because it was absolutely packed with people, we decided to do the nearby Blakiston Falls Trail. Along this trail, I was thrilled to see a few Pinedrops plants in flower - I had only ever seen them once before (at Cypress Hills), and they were in seed. Thanks so much, Debbie, for the heads-up about these plants that you had found earlier! We also saw a couple of Prince's Pine plants along this trail - a first for me. They look rather like Pink Pyrola, so could easily be overlooked.

Later, in the evening on this day, our leader, Andrew Hart, took us to look at a wetland for Sandhill Cranes. He knew they can be seen there and, with the help of a spotting scope, he found a total of 7 seen from two lookouts in the Maskinonge area. Barely visible with the naked eye, they were so far away. I just managed to get a 48x zoomed shot that was kind of fit to post : ) Andrew had also timed it so that we could drive along Chief Mountain Parkway afterwards, stop at the lookout and watch the sunset over the mountain peaks.

The following morning, our last, some of us visited Cameron Lake again and then walked along the very short Akamina Lake trail (only 1 km return) that starts from the Cameron Lake parking lot. A beautiful little trail, where we found two Bear Grass plants still in flower, but well past their prime. Also watched a rather skinny deer making her way along the edge of the lake. A lovely walk to end our stay in Waterton Lakes National Park. Thanks so much, Darlene, for letting us do this, knowing that we needed to start on the three-hour drive north to Calgary. Thank you SO much, too, for driving three of us to and from Calgary and around the park some of the time, too. To say that we appreciated it is a huge understatement!! Our thanks, too, to Andrew for organizing this trip so brilliantly! A great time was had by all.

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