Friday, April 16, 2010

Spring on Mount Royal - Montreal's Mountainette

Being in the St-Lawrence lowlands means there's not a whole lotta high altitude places and our 'mountains' are more like bumpy mounds or as I like to call them, speed bumps. One such speed bump is Mont-Royal which lies in the heart of Montreal and is one of it's green lungs ,the second being the Montreal Botanical Gardens, both surrounded by jam-packed high traffic city life.

My boyfriend can snicker all he wants about those like me who've never gone camping or climbed a 'real' mountain but Mont-Royal is awesome for those who have lived in the city all their lives as they get to experience some measure of native woodland flora and fauna (minus the bears and deer:) within walking distance of a subway station.


My little mole-hill of a mountain may not be spectacular, you can literally take a long staircase to the top, but they're lots little gems to see and some good cardio to be had.

I love going often to see the successive appearance of plants and today it's all about a weird little bugger known as wild ginger which is currently in err, full bloom. Yes, that deep burgundy pubescent three petaled thingie is a flower. You have to get real close as they are at soil level but they appear very soon after the leaves start to poke out of the ground.

Asarum canadense in full bloom!

It's a low-growing woodland plant with beautiful kidney shaped leaves native to Eastern North America. The  name derives from it's spicy smelling roots reminiscent of ginger.

Before they open the flowers are little fuzzy pink buds that my boyfriend thinks resemble squirrel gonads. How magical...


When just sprouting they look like odd little lettuce plants with their stem-less leaves tightly folded together and the color of iceberg lettuce. Just get down low and if the timing is right you might spot the little gonad flowers, that and the shallow root system...

As you may know I luuurves the weird and the truly weird thing about this plant is the fact that is a member of the Aristolochiaceae family which includes such bizarre beauties as these amazing Aristolochia, or Dutchman's Pipe vine:

Aristolochia littoralis

Aristolochis peruviana

Aristolochia gigantea

I guess weird runs in the family. Did I mention they smell like dead meat? What is with me and stinky plants?
Here's a sneak peak I got of the blosomettes that will be appearing next on Mont-Royal:


This gorgeous red one was tantilizing close to blooming!

Dog Tooth Violet
The woodland is literally smothered in their budding leaves but only some warmer areas like in the above pic were actually in bloom. In a week it should be quite a show!

And these large buds look like May Apples
eeeep I can't wait!!


  1. I love watching the green come up and open to blooms. It is such a wonderful time of year!

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