While much of the Killarney flora captures our imagination, we’ve kept this post to a small handful of our favorites. You’ll have to come canoeing or hiking with us to see the rest.
Tree: Eastern White Pine
Ah, the windswept Eastern White Pine.
Scientific name: Pinus strobus
This softwood tree serves as an icon in the Georgian Bay area and stands as the provincial tree of Ontario. While it has been favored by the lumber industry for a long time, when left to grow it also provides some sanctuary for female black bears and their cubs as well as nesting grounds for the birds that spend time along the shorelines.
Shrubs: Low Sweet Blueberry
Scientific name: Vaccinium agnustifolium
We remember one summer paddling along Balsam Lake and pulling over to shore for a snack and water break. When we got out of our canoes to stretch our legs, we discovered bushes and bushes and bushes of low sweet blueberries (and small cranberries, for that matter) that the black bears (and other critters) hadn’t come for yet.
We gathered a few in an empty Nalgene container, to include in a pancake breakfast, and left the rest for the animals that needed them.
Blueberries are typically available (although not always ripe) from June through August.
Photo credit: Kurt Stüber
Wildflower: Fragrant Water Lily
Scientific name: Nymphaea odorata
We tend to see water lilies in Killarney near portages and/or between lakes. Between Three Mile Lake and Balsam Lake before the short 30 meter portage. Between Carlye and Johnnie Lakes, near the lift-over that the beavers have created for us. Etc.
The water lily’s flower typically only opens between early morning and about noon during the summer months, to take advantage of the sunlight and then conserve its energy.
The park staff often cut one route through the water lilies so that we canoeists don’t stray through large patches and disturb the aquatic fauna (fish, frogs, insects, turtles) that take advantage of the flower.
Other: Turkey Tail Bracket Fungi
Scientific name: Trametes versicolor
The fungi on the far right of this trunk are the turkey tails’ fruitbodies. They are a common bracket fungus with a shape and colors that resemble…well…a wild turkey tail. They are primarily found on hardwood, so we wouldn’t see them on the Eastern white pine up above.
There are some clinical studies out there testing the immune-boosting, cancer-fighting properties of this mushroom, but we’re naturalists not doctors so we’ll leave that information to the proper professionals.
Want more Killarney flora?
We always have field guides with us, so if you see something interesting while on trip we can look it up.