Common Milkweed

Milkweed is a type of native flowering plant that is very important for the lifecycle of the monarch butterfly. Monarch caterpillars only feed on milkweed, so the species depends on this plant to survive. Milkweed can be found throughout the park in areas such as the meadows along the Vista Trail. It can be identified by its large, broad leaves and clusters of pink-purple flowers.

Indian Grass and Switchgrass

These are two of the grass species that have been planted in the restored meadows in places like the Bob Hunter area. These species are native to tallgrass prairie ecosystems, a type of grassland that once covered about 1,000 km2 of southern Ontario. Unfortunately, much of this prairie habitat has since been lost to development. These native grass species have extensive root systems that help to stabilize soil and trap contaminants, excess sediment and nutrients in run off, improving water quality in nearby streams. They also provide excellent habitat for species like the eastern meadowlark and bobolink. Indian grass and switchgrass can both grow to a height of more than two metres.

Ostrich Fern and Wood Fern

Ferns thrive in the shady, moist soils found in low-lying areas along the Mast Trail. Ferns reproduce by spores and do not produce seeds or flowers. Ferns first appeared in the fossil record about 360 million years ago and were the dominant type of vegetation until the evolution of seed plants and flowering plants. Ostrich and wood ferns are two common types of fern that you can find along the Mast Trail.

Water Lily

Water lilies are fresh water plants that definitely stand out. Their large floating green leaves are topped with big white flowers with plenty of petals. The flowers last for 2-5 days and open in the morning and close in the afternoon or on cloudy days. Find these aquatic plants in quiet bodies of water such as ponds and slow streams.