Huckleberry, Wild Lupine, Sassafras and Swamp Dewberry in High Park: June 2020

By the end of the last ice age over 10,000 years ago, High Park would have been under 60 metres of water. As the water drained, large deposits of sand and other fine material were laid down here. The sand remains and, as a result, some sand-loving plants thrive.

Huckleberry thrives in old dunes and plains:

Huckleberry (Gaylussacia baccata)
Huckleberry (Gaylussacia baccata)

The Wild Lupine that was originally here was all picked and disappeared over time. In the last few years, it has been reintroduced and does well in this dry sandy soil:

Wild Lupine (Lupinus perennis)
Wild Lupine (Lupinus perennis)

Sassafras is uncommon in the Toronto area because there is not much of the dry sandy forest that it thrives on:

Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)

Sassafras is lovely in autumn:

Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)

It seems odd that a plant called Swamp Dewberry would grow in sandy High park. It is usually found in moist, shaded places but occasionally appears in dry forests like High Park:

Swamp Dewberry (Rubus hispidus)
Swamp Dewberry (Rubus hispidus)
Swamp Dewberry (Rubus hispidus)

Other botany on this June day:

Yellow Flag (Iris pseudocorus)
Highbush-cranberry (Viburnum opulus)
Wall Rocket (Diplotaxis muralis)
Blackberry (Rubus allegheniensis)
Pin Cherry (Prunus pensylvanica)
Pin Cherry (Prunus pensylvanica)
Hobomok Skipper Butterfly on Dog-strangling Vine
Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron rydbergii)
False Solomon-seal (Maianthemum racemosum)
Morrow Honeysuckle (Lonicera morrowii)
Bush-honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera)
Hog-peanut (Amphicarpaea bracteata)
Dame’s Rocket (Hesperis matronalis)
Winged Euonymus (Euonymus alata)
Orchard Grass (Dactylis glomerata)
Red Raspberry (Rubus strigosus)
Red Raspberry (Rubus strigosus)
Fescue Grass (Festuca saximontana)
Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)
Yellow Hawkweed (Hieracium caespitosum)
Dog-strangling Vine (Vincetoxicum rossicum)


“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”
― John Muir

Miles Hearn

3 thoughts on “Huckleberry, Wild Lupine, Sassafras and Swamp Dewberry in High Park: June 2020

  1. Patricia Lund

    Thank you Miles for explaining the disappearance of the Lupine… I always wondered why I could not find those hillsides blanketed in Lupine. I have tried to grow Lupine and now I realize the soil I provided was too rich.
    Its nice to understand the ways of Nature. Thank you for your insights.


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