Sunday, April 11, 2010

An early spring flower

Catkins of poplars and willows have been in bloom for several weeks now. I found new blossoms of the prairie crocus in Jasper on March 28, but those spring pioneers don't grow at the Beaver Boardwalk. The flower in the picture is from the Canada buffaloberry, a low deciduous shrub of dry habitats that's common in the Boardwalk area. The showy but very small yellow flowers aren't open at the Boardwalk yet but the flower buds are swelling and should open soon. This picture was taken today on a warm open slope about 20 km west in Jasper National Park.

Sheperdia canadensis has many common names, including buffaloberry, soopalalie, soapberry, and foamberry. Male and female flowers appear on separate plants. While it's easy to miss the tiny flowers, the clusters of shiny red berries that appear in summer are hard to miss. I'll cover them in a future post.

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