Botanical Gallery

  • Summerhouse ShorelineAll of the plants in the Botanical Gallery may be found between the Summerhouse and the Shoreline from June to September.
  • BearberryArctostaphylos uva-ursi. Family: Ericaceae. Other names: Kinnikinnick, Uva ursi. A low lying evergreen shrub with bright red berries and deep green, glossy leaves. Special notes: This plant is also referred to by the name 'kinnikinnik' because the dried leaves are a common addition to First Nations pipe mixture. Medicinal uses: Bearberry is well known for its medicinal use as a urinary antiseptic herb used to treat common badder infections.
  • Birdsfoot TrefoilLotus corniculatus. Family: Fabiaceae or Pea family. Other name: Grandmothers slippers. Special notes: Trefoil refers to the French for 'three leaves'. The name birds foot refers to the appearance of the flower bracts especially after they have gone to seed.
  • Wild ColumbineAquilegia canadensis. Family: Ranunculaceae. Other names: Wild red columbine, Eastern red columbine. Special notes: The name Aquilegia is derived from the Latin aquila—an eagle—because the flower spurs resemble eagle talons. This striking wild flower is no longer used medicinally, though it has a history of use as an astringent wound healing herb. Importance to wildlife: Hummingbirds are attracted to columbine and enjoy sipping the nectar. Folklore: Columbine is often associated with foolish play due to the flowers resemblance to a court jester's hat.
  • FleabaneErigeron canadensis. Family: Asteraceae. Other names: Canada fleabane. Special notes: Fleabane's small rayed flowers are often mistaken for the daisy. However, fleabane is taller and more branched than a true daisy. The dried stems can be used to start friction fires. The name fleabane or flea 'poison' is derived from its historical use in deterring fleas. The smoke was used to drive them away. People used to make simple mattresses called tick mattresses out of large cloth sacks which were stuffed with straw and herbs which repelled insects including fleabane.
  • HarebellCampanula rotundifolia. Family: Campanulaceae or Bellflower family. Other names: Harebells, Bluebells of Scotland. Special notes: The pretty, sky-blue flowers are often photographed and illustrated. Harebells can thrive in rough environments and can even grow in the cracks of rocks. Faeries are said to like to make hats out of the flowers. Harebells are believed to tinkle a warning to hares when danger is near. Importance to wildlife: Although they are scentless they attract bees, hoverflys and other insects.
  • Greater Lady's Slipper
Cyprepedium parviflorum.Family: Orchidaceae or orchid family. Other names: Yellow lady's slipper, Moccasin flower. Lady's slipper is a dramatically showy wild flower and therefore often photographed and widely illustrated. Note the two gently curling 'tresses' on either side of the flower head. This wild orchid’s lower lip resembles a slipper, hence the name. Medicinal uses: The root has a long history of use as a calming, nervine herb. Importance to wildlife: Many types of insects are drawn to visit lady's slipper. White-tailed deer feed upon it.
  • Orange HawkweedOrange Hawkweed Hieracium aurantiacum. Family: Asteraceae or sunflower family. Other names: Orange paintbrush. This hawkweed is characterized by intensely orange, daisy-like flowers on tall stems. Folklore: The name hawkweed is derived from the myth that hawks would feed upon the flowers to improve their eyesight.
  • Red Osier DogwoodCornus sericea. Family: Cornaceae. Other names: Also named Red Willow and Red Twig in reference to the shrubs distinctive red bark. Special notes: The Algonquin people use the inner bark in a traditional smoking mixture. The inner bark was also used to make a dye. The species name sericea is Latin for silky, in reference to the shrubs silky leaves.
  • RagwortSenecio jacobeae. Family: Asteraceae. Other name: Stinking Willy. Special notes: This common golden wildflower is an herb to respect. Ragwort can be toxic to animals including cows and horses who are hungry enough to graze upon them freely. Rag wort is steeped in folklore. Country people believe that it is such an important 'faery magic' plant that if you pull it you need to apologize to the faeries. In Irish folklore, faeries are believed to ride around on ragwort especially around Halloween. Importance to wildlife: The Cinnabar moth feeds entirely on ragwort. The Northern Metalmark moth larva also lives in and feeds off ragwort.
  • Wild Geranium 1Geranium maculatum. Family: Geraniaceae. Other names: Geranium, Red legs, Spotted Geranium. Special notes: Geranium has a pungent 'metallic' scent. It is sometimes used to flavour Scottish sausage. The name Red Legs refers to the distinct red coloured stems. Medicinal use: Astringent, digestive tonic and a wound healer when used topically, or as a simple gargle. (cont...)
  • Wild Geranium 2All of the plants in the Botanical Gallery may be found between the Summerhouse and the Shoreline from June to September.
Summerhouse Shoreline1 Bearberry2 Birdsfoot Trefoil3 Wild Columbine4 Fleabane5 Harebell6 Greater Lady's Slipper
7 Orange Hawkweed8 Red Osier Dogwood9 Ragwort10 Wild Geranium 111 Wild Geranium 212
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All text by Celina Ainsworth, Clinical Herbal Therapist and medicinal and wild flower identification enthusiast.  To see enlarged images of the herbs in the slideshow, click on the thumbnails below.

For the enjoyment of all, and for the sake of the Summerhouse ecosystem, please do not pick the plants.