The plants are your friends. As you walk by them in the forest greet them by name. This will help you remember them.

Rub the leaves of an elderberry and you smell peanut butter, a herb Robert geranium – nuts and a swamp or stink current’s – currents. Who knew! You have just stepped into the interesting world of plant identification where a walk in the woods will reveal plants used for medications, teas and clothing.

Eight of us met at 7 pm – on Sunday June 7th – for our first botany walk of the season where we explored the Stoney Creek Park trail until 9:50 pm! I don’t think anyone had any idea of just how late it was. I know I certainly didn’t. When you are interested and engaged time just slips by.

If you wish to be put on a contact list for upcoming botany or bird walks email

See you on the trails! And remember, next time you see a maple leaf on the ground, pick it up and challenge yourself to identify it. If it has five main vein lines, extending from the center of the leaf to the outer edges, it is a big leaf (also known as a broad leaf) maple; if it has 7 or 9 veins it is a vine maple!

Planting for Wildlife: Beaked Hazelnut

  • a favourite native food of squirrels and steller’s jays
  • easy and fun to grow from the nut itself
  • fast growing – 1 – 4M tall
  • likes sun or part shade
  • can be used as a small tree or hedge
  • takes to pruning nicely
  • water-wise choice

Look around your yard, or apartment complex, to see where one of these small, functional trees will fit in. Ours has grown up through our cedar hedge giving it a nice lacy top.


Examining beaked hazelnut leaves and taking a close up photo by Wendy Snyder, Sword Fern by Randy Snyder