Bois des Esprit, Plant List

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The following information was put together for a botanical walk done for Nature Manitoba on June 17, 2010.

The Bois des Esprit is a ~47 hectare (117 acre) riparian woodland located primarily on the east shore of the Seine River, Winnipeg, between John Bruce road and Shorehill drive. This forest represents the longest continuous protected riverbank woodland in Winnipeg. With little in the way of invasive species and only minimal distrubance it is a showcase terrace and river bottom forest that also includes several diverse oxbow wetlands. A protection plan was started in 2001/2 with the area identified as a 'park' in 2004. In 2007 a trail and sustainable development plan was proposed in collaboration with the City of Winnipeg, Save our Seine, and other groups. The current crushed limestone trail was completed in 2009 as part of the ongoing plan. spirit carving

When walking the path look for the forest 'spirits' or sculptures carved into the dead stems or trunks of many of the trees.

This forest hosts five broad plant communities: river bottom, wetland, oak forest, aspen forest, and grassland. It is home to over 100 plant species, 24 mammals, 149 birds and water fowl, 5 amphibian and 6 fish species. The area is well represented by Oaks and Trembling Aspen, with some Maples, Cottonwood, Ash, and Elms in the mix near the river and wetlands. The mature trees (Oaks) found in several long term monitoring plots are fairly uniform in size and age (~75 years); the forest is fairly young. Within the forest there are 10 heritage trees with more, including Winnipeg's largest tree, found elsewhere along the river. Although the forest appears to be pristine, and for an urban area it is, things are not always as they appear. There are relatively few Elm trees in the river bottom forest due to the removal from Dutch Elm disease. If you look closely at the bark of the Oak trees in the upland forest you will see many small orange and yellow lichens - more pristine forests also have many larger green and grey shield lichens which are not found here.

Fast Facts:

Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa Michx.)

  • Largest acorns of all the oaks, starts producing seed around 35 years with optimum production 75-150 years, drought and fire resistant, can live as long as 300+ years, predominates on the terraces on the edge of flood plains, often grows in almost pure stands or alone, it is a pioneer species, widest range for oaks found growing across most of eastern North America, can grow up to 25m tall (usually less in Manitoba where it can be scrubby), it is quite tolerant of pollution, high in tannins.

    Trembling Aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.)

  • Clonal species, leaves tremble in the breeze due to flat petiole (stem), most widely distributed tree in North America, in southern MB it is usually a small scrubby tree but can be much larger - up to 30m tall, clones recover quickly after fire with as many as 100,000 stems/ha, favourite food of beavers and forest tent caterpiller, source of salicin, oldest clone is ~10,000 years, largest organism might be an Aspen clone in Wasatch Mountain Utah with 47,000 stems and weighing over 6 millon killograms.

    Species list:

    The following species were seen June 11, 2010 during a preliminary 3 hour scouting walk. There are a number of species missing since they were not yet in flower or identification was not possible. In particular I did not identify all of the grass or sedge species seen. There are probably a number of aquatic and emergent wetland species not identified since I didn't want to go wading to look. There had been a considerable amount of rain over the prior several weeks inundating parts of the trail and filling the oxbow areas full of water. I did see a few typical domestic garden flowers blooming that were not recorded; a clump of Peonys for example. I mostly limited this list to native, naturalized, and invasive species. There was a small clump of Lythrum salicaria (Purple loosestrife) seen in one of the oxbows but it disappeared... The species names (both Latin and common) were primarily derived from Budd's Flora of the Canadian Prairie Provinces with some modifications or additions from other sources.

    Acer negundo L. - Manitoba Maple
    Achillea millefolium L. - Yarrow
    Actaea rubra (Ait.) Willd. - Red Baneberry.  The white forma is also expected.
    Agropyron repens (L.) Beauv.
    Alnus crispa (Ait.) Pursh. - Green Alder** 
    Amelanchier alnifolia Nutt. - Saskatoon
    Amorpha futicosa L. - False indigo
    Amphicarpa bracteata (L.) Fern. - Hog-peanut
    Anemone canadensis L. - Canada anemone
    Anemone multifida Poir. - Cut-leaved anemone
    Apocynum cannabinum L.- Indian-Hemp.  Also see A. androsaemifolium L. or Spreading dogbane.
    Aralia nudicaulis L. - Wild sarsaparilla
    Arenaria lateriflora L. - Blunt-leaved sandwort
    Artemisia frigida Willd. - Pasture sage
    Artemisia ludoviciana Nutt. - Prairie Sage
    Asclepias speciosa Torr. - Showy milkweed. Also look for A. ovalifolia.  
    Aster spp (syn Symphyotrichium) There are several but none were flowering on the survey date.
            Possible/Likely: A. laevis, A. ciliolatus, A. ericoides, A. lateriflorus,
                Aster novae-angliae, A. simplex.
    Bidens frondosa L. - Common beggarticks
    Bromus inermis Leyss. - Smooth Brome
    Campanula rapunculoides L. - Creeping Bellflower
    Carex assiniboinensis Boott - Assiniboia sedge
    Carex atherodes Spreng. - Awned sedge
    Carex bebbii - Bebb's sedge
    Carex canescens - Short sedge
    Carex disperma Dewey - Two-seeded sedge
    Carex lanuginosa Michx. - Woolly sedge
    Carex retrorsa Schw. - Turned sedge
    Carex spp - Sedge.  I got tired of keying sedges there are at least four more
    Cirsium arvense (L.) Scop. - Canada Thistle
    Cornus stonlonifera L. - Redosier dogwood
    Convolvulus sepium L. - Hedge bindweed
    Corylus americana Walt. - American hazelnut
               Corylus cornuta Marsh. (Beaked hazelnut) is also expected.
    Crataegus rotundifolia Moench - Round-Leaved Hawthorn
    Elaeagnus angustifolia L. - Russian olive*
    Elymus sp. L. - Wild Rye (probably E. canadensis but didn't key)
    Equisetum arvense L. - Common horsetail
    Erigeron canadensis L. - Canada fleabane
    Erigeron philadelphicus L. - Philadelphia fleabane (probably but didn't key)
    Fragaria virginiana Dcne. - Wild strawberry
    Fraxinus pennsylvanica Marsh. - Green Ash
    Galium boreale L. - Northern bedstraw
    Galium triflorum Michx - Sweet-scented bedstraw
    Geranium bicknellii Britt. - Geranium
    Geum alleppicum Jacq. - Yellow avens
    Glechoma hederacea L. - Creeping Charlie
    Glyceria sp. - Tall Manna Grass (probably G. grandis but didn't key)
    Glycyrrhiza lepidota (nutt.) Pursh - Wild Licorice
    Helenium autumnale L. var. montanum (Nutt.) Fernald - Mountain sneezeweed*
    Helianthus maximiliani Schrad. - Maximilian sunflower*
    Hordeum jubatum L. - Wild barley
    Lappula deflexa (Wahl.) Garcke - Nodding stickseed
    Lathyrus ochroleucus Hook. - Cream colored vetchling
    Lathyrus venosus Muhl. - Wild peavine
    Lemna minor L. - Duckweed.  Also expect Spirodelia polyrhiza (L.) Schleid. Larger duckweed
                Wolffia columbiana Karst. (Columbian watermeal) was collected near Bishop Grandin
                   so it might be found here as well.
    Lemna trisulca L. - ivy-leaved duckweed
    Lonicera dioica L. - Twining honeysuckle
    Lonicera tatarica L. - Tartarian honeysuckle
    Lycopus americanus Muhl. - Water-horehound
    Lysimachia ciliata L. - Fringed loosestrife
    Lysimachia thyrsiflora L. - Tufted loosestrife
    Maianthemum canadense Desf. - Wild lily-of-the-valley
    Medicago sativa L. - Alfalfa.
    Melilotus officinalis (L.) Pall - Yellow sweet clover
            Expect to see: Melilotus alba Medic. (White sweet clover) &
                  Lotus corniculatus L. (bird's-foot trefoil)
    Menispermum canadense L. - Moonseed
    Mentha arvensis L. - Mint
    Mertensia paniculata (Ait.) G. Don - Tall Lungwort
    Nuphar variegatum Engelm. - Yellow pond lily
    Oxalis stricta L. - Yellow wood-sorrel
    Osmorhiza aristata (Thunb.) Mak. & Yabe -  Smooth sweet cicely* 
    Panicum virgatum L. - Switch Grass (questionable)
    Parthenocissus quinquefolia (L.) Planch. - Virginia creeper
    Phleum pratense L. -  Timothy
    Phalaris arundinacea L. - Reed Canary grass
    Picea glauca (Moench) Voss - White Spruce - only a few small plants.
    Plantago major L. - Common plaintain
    Poa pratensis L. - Kentucky blue grass.
    Polygonum amphibium L. - Swamp persicaria. Look for other Polygonum species as well.
    Populus balsamifera L. - Balsam Popular*
    Populus deltoides Marsh. - Cottonwood
    Populus tremuloides Michx. - Aspen Poplar or Trembling Aspen
    Potentilla anserina L. - Silverweed
    Prunus virginiana L. - Choke Cherry
    Pyrola spp. - Wintergreen*
    Quercus macrocarpa Michx. - Bur Oak
    Ranunculus spp. - Buttercup* I did see several but did not collect.
            Expect Ranunculus abortivus L. (Smooth-Leaved buttercup) and
                Ranunculus macounii Britt. (Macoun's buttercup) 
    Ribes americanum Mill - Black current.  Check also for R. rubrum & R. glandulosum
    Ribes oxyacanthoides L. - Gooseberry
    Rosa acicularis Lindl. - Prickly Rose
    Rosa blanda Ait - Smooth Rose.  R. woodsia is expected but not seen.
    Rubus idaeus L. - Wild Raspberry
    Rubus pubescens Raf. Dew berry
    Rumex crispus L. - Curled Dock. Look for other Rumex species as well.
    Salix amygdaloides Anderss. - Peach-leaved Willow.  Other willows will probably be found as well.
    Sanicula marilandica L. - Snakeroot
    Senecio vulgaris - Common groundsel (expect other Senecio species).
    Sisyrinchium montanum Greene - Blue-eyed grass
    Sium suave Walt. - Water-parsnip
    Smilacina stellata (L.) Desf. - False solomon's seal
    Smilax herbacea L. - Carrion Flower
    Solidago canadensis L. - Graceful goldenrod. 
    Sonchus arvens L. - Sow-thistle
    Stachys palustris L. - Marsh Hedge-Nettle
    Stellaria longifolia L. - Long leaved stitchwort.  Stellaria media (Chickweed) is expected.
    Symphoricarpos occidentalis Hook. - Snowberry
    Taraxacum officinale F.H. Wigg. - Dandelion
    Thalictrum dasycarpum Fisch. & Lall. - Tall meadow-rue
    Thalictrum venulosum Trel. - Veiny meadow-rue
    Toxicodendron rydbergii (Small ex Rydb.) Greene - Poison Ivy
            syn: Rhus radicans L. var. rydbergii (small) Rehder
    Tragopogon pratensis L. Goat's beard
    Trifolium repens L. - White Clover also expect Trifolium pratense L. Red Clover
    Trillium cernuum L. - Nodding Trillium
    Typha latifolia L. - Common cattail
    Ulmus americana L. - American Elm.  A Siberian elm seedling (or two) was also seen
    Viburnum lentago L. - Nannyberry.
    Viburnum opulus or Viburnum edule (Michx.) Raf. - High bush cranberry
    Viburnum rafinesquianum Schultes - Downy Arrowwood.
    Vicia americana Muhl. - American vetch
    Viola spp. There are a number of species likely but none blooming.
         Expect: V. adunca, V. rugulosa
    Viola pubescens Ait. - Downy Yellow Violet*
    Vitis riparia Michx. - Riverbank Grape
    Zizia aurea (L.) Koch - Golden Alexanders
    Zizia aptera (A. Gray) Fernald - Heart-leaved alexanders*
       *These species were listed on City of Winnipeg Naturalist site but not seen in this survey.
       **Reported on information sign at trail head but not seen at site.


    This is only a short list - there were no crustose lichens identified and not all of the expected lichens were noted. Only a few of the mosses seen were identified. Lichens were identified using primarily Lichens of North America. Mosses identification was done using a variety of sources including how to know the mosses and liverworts, Moss Flora of the Maritime Provinces, Illustrated Guide to some Hornworts, Liverworts and Mosses of Eastern Canada, and Mosses Lichens & Ferns of Northwest North America.

    Candelaria concolor - Candleflame lichen/lemon lichen
    Cladonia chlorophaea - Pixie Cup
    Cladonia phyllophora - Felt cladonia
    Flavoparmelia caperata - Common greenshield lichen
    Parmelia sulcata - Hammered shiled lichen
    Peltigera canina - Dog-lichen
    Peltigera malacea - Veinless pelt
    Peltigera neckeri - Black saddle lichen
    Phaeophysicia cernohorskyi - Hairy shadow lichen
    Physcia stellaris - Star rosette lichen
    Physciella chloantha - Cryptic rosette lichen
    Physconia detersa - Frost lichen
    Punctelia subrudecta - Powedered speckled shield lichen
    Xanthoria fallax - Hooded sunburst lichen
    Xanthoria hasseana - Poplar sunburst lichen
    Xanthoria sp. - I expect X. elegans also appears
    Brachythecium acuminatum (Hedw.) Aust.
    Brachythecium salebrosum (Web & Mohr) B.S.G. - Golden Ragged Moss
    Homalia trichomanoides (Hedw.) B.S.G.
    Leskea gracilescens Hedw.
    Plagiomnium cuspidatum (Hedw.) Kop - Woodsy moss 

    Naturization Area (Royalwood Retention Pond)

    The retention ponds within Royalwood have been built to mimic prairie wetlands providing improved wildlife habitat and water quality. The ponds, and surronding buffer zones, have been seeded with native wetland and prarie species. The walk did not look at these ponds specfically but I have included the following for general interest and information. The following list was taken from the information display at the site. There are still some invasive species found around the buffers.

    Buffer Species

    Agropyron subsecundum (link) Hitchc. - Awned wheatgrass
    Andropogon gerardii Vitman - Big bluestem
    Dalea purpurea Vent. - Purple prairie clover
    Elymus canadensis L. - Canada wildrye
    Glyceria sp. - Manna grass
    Panicum virgatum L. - Switchgrass
    Spartina pectinata Link - Prairie cord grass

    More Information:


    The following books may be a useful source for identifying the plants found in this forest.

    Johnson, Derek, Linda Kershaw, Andy MacKinnon, Jim Pojar. Plants of the Western Boreal Forest & Aspen Parkland. Lone Pine Pub. 1995.
    Looman, J., K.F. Best, Budd's Flora of the Canadian Prairie Provinces. Minister of Supply and Services Canada. 1979.
    Oswald, Edward T., Frank H. Nokes. Field Guide to the Native Trees of Manitoba. Manitoba Natural Resources. 1998.
    Vance, F.R., J.R. Jowsey, J.S. McLean, F. A. Switzer. Wildflowers Across the Prairies. Greystone Books. 1999


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    Last modified: Sun Mar 29 10:28:19 2015