Species at Risk

Mingan Thistle

Cirsium scariosum

Why protect the Migan Thistle?

It is important to protect the Mingan thistle because even if the total number of Mingan thistle has been rising over the years, the 2012 data showed that four out of eight colonies were considered too small to survive in the long term.

The Mingan thistle has the advantage of having preserved a distinct genetic make-up compared to those found in Western Canada. The latest were hybridized over the years with other species of thistles.

This native species has a cultural and historical value for the region and has interested many botanists.

What is Parks Canada doing to protect the Mingan Thistle?

Monitoring of populations

From 1995 to 2005, very precise monitoring was put in place to assess and predict demographic trends of the Mingan thistle in the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve. Important information on the biology of the species and population dynamics were collected then. In 2006, the Mingan thistle has been integrated to the rare plant monitoring of the park reserve under the Ecological Integrity Monitoring Program. Therefore, the individuals of each colony continue to be counted.

Re-establishment

Thanks to ESRF, a re-establishment program was launched in 2001 to increase the number of plants in the most vulnerable colonies. After pollination, nets are set up around the flower to collect the seeds. The seeds are then counted and sown in their native colony. A total of 7,837 seeds were sown between 2001 and 2012 with a germination rate of 44%. Amongst the plants grown from these seeds, 147 were still present in 2012. Two of these plants flowered in 2008. The project is working well but the lack of flowering plants in some colonies has delayed attainment of the main objectives.

Education

Members of Lestrat school gardening club showing two rosettes from their experimental garden. Members of Lestrat school gardening club.
© Parks Canada/ MANPRC/ C.Turbis / 2005

Steps have been taken to inform people and raise awareness about the Mingan thistle. Here are the most important steps taken to this day:

In the specific area known as La Minganie:

  • Conference to the population 
  • Conference to the horticultural society Les Flores-Alliés de la Minganie 
  • Conference to students from grade 3 to grade 6 
  • Press releases to the community television station 
  • Information leaflet in the mail 
  • Summary of work published in the park newsletter 
  • Meeting with tourism stakeholders 
  • Involving local residents in field work 
  • Sowing seeds in an experimental garden and monitoring of rosette formation

For the general public:

  • Producing an educational leaflet, a bookmark and a postal card 
  • Installing markers and panels around some colonies 
  • Establishing a colony at the marina with an interpretation panel 
  • Report on the television show « La semaine verte » (French only) 
  • Publishing various articles in magazines and newspapers 
  • Producing a poster 
  • Producing an educational traveling roll-up

These initiatives helped develop local residents’ interest and to obtain their collaboration.