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Plant Species

Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) 
Common in central and southern Alberta, the Chokecherry alludes to the sensation of choking caused by eating the sour-tasting berries. The fruits are relished by birds, bears, and rodents and were eaten raw and dried for use in soups, stews and pemmican by the natives. Chokecherries are used to make wine, jellies and syrups.

Red-oiser dogwood (Cornus stolonifera)
Widespread throughout Alberta, the berries of the shrub were considered to be a famine food by most Indian tribes. The natives used the outer bark for dyeing and tanning hides, and the inner bark in tobacco mixtures and tea. Red-oiser dogwood is often grown as an ornamental in Alberta because of its bright red bark and attractive fall leaf colour.

Fleabane (Erigeron flabellus) 
The Fleabanes, or wild daises as they are commonly called, make up the largest genus of the Daisy Family in Alberta. Many species of this genus brighten the prairies, the foothills, the valleys and the slopes of the Rockies in spring and early summer.

Aster (Aster lindleyanus) 
The Asters are one of the most ornamental wild flowers throughout Alberta. There are twenty-one native Asters and they usually come into bloom in late summer and early fall. Lindley's Aster is a common aster of open woodlands and scrubby thickets


Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) 
In Alberta, in woods, fields and along roadsides, the ten species of Goldenrod give the countryside a continuous golden glow in August and September. What appears from a distance to be one huge flower is actually hundreds of very small flower-heads crowded into a spectacular cluster.

Prairie cone-flower (Ratibida columnifera) 
The Prairie cone-flower thrives on dry gravelly soil and is found along roads and coulees in warm, dry southern Alberta from July until August. Its most notable feature is its several showy flower-heads, each one borne at the end of a long stalk.

White spruce (Picea glauca)
Widespread throughout Alberta and Canada, the White Spruce usually grows in a mixture with other conifers and poplars. Certain tribes made cooking baskets, canoes and baby carriers out of the wood. Spruce wood is used for lumber, plywood and pulpwood production.

Saskatoon (Amelanchier alnifolia)
Common throughout Alberta in open woods, coulees, ravines and hillsides, Saskatoons may grow as slender trees or compact shrubs. The sweet and juicy purple berries contain many seeds and are high in iron and copper. The plant is occasionally called serviceberry, due to its slight resemblance to the mountain ash or serviceberry. The attractive fall coloration of the shrub makes it a popular ornamental.

For information on the unique challenges of gardening in the Calgary area, the Society recommends this attractive and useful book........."Back to the Future: An Heirloom Plant Collection for Calgary" (authored by Clancy Patton). Preserving heirloom plants is vital and this book lists over one thousand varieties known to grow in Calgary. Discover the importance of preserving those plants first introduced by our original settlers and discover, when it comes to plants, why newer is not necessarily better.

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