It's hard to play favourites with so many flowers in churchill, but we have managed to narrow it down to six.
Churchill, Manitoba is home to a diverse wealth of animals, flora and fauna. Best known for being the home of the mighty polar bear, Churchill is also home to beautiful northern lights and curious beluga whales. One often overlooked summer staple are the flowers of Churchill. Home to over 400 different plants, Churchill is teeming with a variety of different blooms.
Whether you have a keen eye for botany or a simple appreciation for the colourful flowers it is easy to agree that there is something magical about flowers!
1. Northern Grass Of Parnassus
Aptly nicknamed the Bog Star, this flower is a bit of a ham when it comes to stealing the show for photographers. It is common to see this flower throughout Churchill and peak viewing occurs from Late July to the end of August.
Standing between 10-40 cm tall the Bog Star has a flower made up of five petals. The petals on this flower are white, almost translucent colour and the veins of the flower even moreso. A focal point for photographers is the staminodia, which features gland tipped bristles.
Ranging from 60-100+ cm tall the fireweed is abundant in Churchill! Varying in colour from bright pinks to magentas and growing in abundance this flower makes for a perfect backdrop in photos. Fireweed is not unique to Churchill as it is very common across North America, often appearing after an area has been burned. However, it can also be found in limey, chalky like dirt as well as open fields.
The flowers of the Fireweed plant are typically 2-3 cm across. Four primary petals that are round and flat are accompanied by four secondary leaves that are more narrow and pointed. These two petal types are accompanied by, you guessed it - four stigmas. Churchill residents often pick fireweed to turn it into homemade fireweed jelly.
3. Alpine Arnica
A punchy yellow flower standing from 10-50 cm. Its long, narrow and flat petals, common to the sunflower family leave no question as to what lineage this flower falls into. The central disk of this flower also tends to be yellow, but a darker version of the petals. These are hearty plants and will grow in areas that are well drained.
4. Red Bearberry
From the common Alpine Bearberry family, the less-common Red Bearberry is the plant you will likely stumble upon in Churchill if you visit in late summer. Red leaves along with red berries, compared the green leaves are what give this plant its’ name. The leaves on a Red Bearberry plant tend to be larger and they fall off during the Autumn. Of course, the berries are red instead of black. Bearberries are not the tastiest of the berries in Churchill, but the bears certainly love them!
5. Common Butterwort
This unassuming looking plant is ruthless! The single flower can range from light to dark purple and measures in at 1-2 cm long. Inside the flower are small white hairs. The relatively straight stalk of about 10 cm connects to a rosette of yellowy-green leaves. These leaves produce a sticky fluid that traps insects. Once the insect is trapped a digestive enzyme is produced that allows the insect to be externally digested! Fun fact, this same digestive enzyme is used in Scandinavian and European countries as a way to curdle milk.
6. Mountain avens
©Heidi den Haan/Dave Allcorn
This abundant flower blankets the Churchill area and is a delight to witness in both its flower and seed stage. Each stalk on this plant has one small flower with an eye-catching yellow center, adorned with white petals, you will typically find about 8 petals, but sometimes upwards of 10 petals. In the seed stage the flower dries into feathery tails (similar to a dandelion) resembling an individual with a long, shaggy haircut!
Much of our information is sourced from the book: Wildflowers of Churchill by Dr. Karen L. Johnson. If you’re looking to learn more about wildflowers in Churchill be sure to check out her book.
If you’re looking to experience a summer trip in Churchill reach out to one of our adventure planners or explore the summer adventures we offer.
Header Image: ©Heidi den Haan