lists the botanical name (genus and species) for each of the plants listed.
Common Name lists the common name or names for each plant. Please note that common names often vary from region to region. An effort was made to include as many of the common names as possible for each plant.
Native Province lists all Canadian provinces and territories for which the plant is considered a native component of the flora. Please note that the listing of a plant as native to a particular province does not necessarily indicate that the plant is native to all areas of that province. To find out if a particular plant is native to your local area please consult regional native plant guides or contact local naturalist groups, horticultural groups or native plant societies. We encourage the use of plants native to your specific area.
In some cases a qualifier has been added to indicate the limitations of a plants range within a province. For example, sAB would indicate the plant is found only in the southern part of Alberta.
Zone gives the hardiness zone listing for each plant where available. This information is gathered from a variety of different sources and is meant only as a rough guide. Each garden is different and many factors can affect the survival of a plant. Therefore, use this field for reference only and refer to your local supplier for information on the plants hardiness in your area. Or better yet, choose plants native to your local area to be sure of their ability to thrive in the local climate.
Please note that:
- “woodlands” are interchangeable with forests
- “banks” include riverbanks, streambanks and floodplains - environments that experience periodic flooding
- “fields” include open man-made areas, waste places, disturbed areas, pastures, recently burned areas and abandoned lands
- “cliffs” include bluffs and ledges
- “slopes” include hillsides
- “quiet waters” include ponds, slow moving, still and stagnant waters
- “sandy areas” include any habitats with sand like beaches or sand dunes
- “limy areas” include any areas with a good supply of limestone
- “roadsides” include any areas off the side of a road, including ditches
- “valleys” include ravines and gullies
- “hilly areas” include hills, foothills and ridges
Height at Maturity gives the approximate height of the plant at full size. Please note that this can vary according to the suitability of the site. Some native plants can reach greater heights in a garden situation than in the wild due to less competition and more available nutrients.
Light indicates the amount of sunlight the plant should ideally receive. Some plants thrive in a range of light situations while others require more specific conditions. Consult their habitat description for a better idea of the kinds of sites they prefer.
- Sun indicates the plant prefers a location which receives direct sun for most of the day or approximately 6 hours or more of direct sun.
- Partial shade can indicate an area with only filtered sunlight most of the day or one which receives direct sun for only 2 to 4 hours of the day.
- Full shade indicates an area which receives less than 2 hours of direct sun each day.
Bloom Time lists the time of year the plant flowers. Due to the variability of bloom time across the country and in different locations this is given by season instead of by month. There may be some yearly shifts in bloom times due to variations in the weather.
Wildlife Benefit gives the possible use of the plant by various forms of wildlife. This information is gathered from a wide variety of sources and, therefore, the appeal to various wildlife will vary among the plants listed.
You can assume that any plant will provide shelter for wildlife. From tall trees which support birds and mammals to tiny ground covering plants that shield insects from the sun. This is why shelter is not specified as a wildlife benefit.
You can also assume that when we say a particular plant “attracts” a group of animals, in most cases, they are using that plant as a food source.
The caution "can be toxic" indicates that part or all of the plant may be toxic to humans or animals if eaten. Again, this is only listed for those plants where this information is known and the absence of this caution does not indicate that any plant is safe for consumption.
The caution "ensure not wild collected" is listed for certain plants which have a history of being wild collected, are considered species at risk in some or all of their native range, or which are difficult and time-consuming to propagate (so more likely to be wild collected for sale). If purchasing these plants please take extra care to ensure that they are nursery propagated and not collected from the wild.
The caution "need both male and female plants" refers to plants which have male and female flowers on different plants so that both are needed for the production of fruit.
The caution “can be susceptible to fungus” does not necessarily mean that the plant will incur fungus. For plants with this warning, you’ll want to watch for certain conditions. Typically, excess moisture, crowded plants and poor air flow are conducive to fungus and mildew.
Please be careful with plants that "can spread easily" if your garden is adjacent to any natural areas to prevent their spread to and invasion of these areas. For more aggressive spreaders, try growing them in contained areas and use root guards and dead-heading to prevent their spread through root or seed.
Please note that the attribute "deer resistant" only indicates those plants which are least likely to be damaged by deer. Selection of food plants by deer can vary greatly between different regions and at various times of year. Plants unappealing to deer at one time may seem more appealing during times of food scarcity.
"Drought tolerant" refers to established plants. Many plants require sufficient moisture to become established but can tolerate drought later in the season.
“Fragrant” can describe any part of a plant including the bloom, leaves, twigs or buds when crushed.
Fruit type is divided into 6 categories to help describe the different types of fruit out there. Since all flowering plants have fruit which contain seeds, we’ve avoided calling any of the categories ‘fruit’ or ‘seed’. Although our last category is called ‘seed-like’ because it provides the best visual so you instantly get the right idea and will know what to look for in your garden!
To get through the breakdown of our categories, you’ll first need to get your head out of the kitchen and put aside what you know about fruits, vegetables, berries, nuts and seeds because the botanical classification is different from the culinary terms we’re familiar with. Second, it is useful to know that a carpel is the collective term for the female parts of a flower. These parts once fertilized turn into a fruit. A fruit can be made up of one or many carpels. You can think of each carpel as a little chamber and when there is more than one, picture many chambers fused together.
1. Berry this category includes:
- berries (fleshy fruit with one or more carpels and seeds)
2. Berry-like this category includes:
- pepos (fruit with a hard rind)
- hesperidiums (fruit with a leathery rind)
- drupes (fruit with a stony center, surrounded by a fleshy portion with a thin, protective outer layer)
- pomes (fruit with several carpels and seeds found at the fruit core with a fleshy outer portion including a papery layer)
3. Pod this category includes:
- legumes (fruit with one carpel that splits along two edges)
4. Pod-like this category includes:
- follicles (fruit with one carpel that splits along one edge)
- capsules (fruit with many seeds within two or more carpels that split open when mature; there are four different manners in which a capsule can split)
- siliques (fruit with many seeds within two or more carpels that split when mature, leaving the dry fruit walls intact)
5. Nut this category includes:
- nuts (large fruit with a stony outer wall)
6. Seed-like this category includes:
- samaras (fruit with a wing-like growth)
- schizocarps (a fruit with two or more fused carpels which split apart at maturity)
- caryopses (fruit where the seed is inseparable from the outer portion of the fruit)
- achenes (small fruit within a thin wall)