Saturday, November 26, 2011

Treasured Trees of Canada

Due to the vast area of Canada, a tree that is common in one area, may be completely absent or unable to grow in another location.  Many warm-temperate trees can only be grown on the mid-Pacific coast.

Conifers and Deciduous Trees

All trees in Canada can be distinguished as being Conifers or Deciduous.
Conifers are often called evergreens or needle-leafed trees.
Conifers are also known as softwoods.

Deciduous trees are often called broad leaf trees
because they shed their leaves in autumn.
Deciduous trees are also known as hardwoods.

It is amazing to discover that Canada has numerous assorted and diverse trees,
together with several types within the species.

Conifers:  Cedars, Cypresses, Firs,  Hemlocks, Junipers, Larches,
Pines, Sequoias, Spruces, Tamaracks, Yews
Deciduous:  Alders, Aspens, Beech, Birches, Catalpas, Chestnuts, Crabapples, 
                       Dogwoods, Elms, Euonymous, Hackberries, Hawthorns, Hazels,
                       Hickorys, Hollies, Hornbeams, Katsuras, Kentucky Coffee, Lilacs,
                       Lindens, Magnolias, Maples, Mulberries, Oaks, Rowans, Russian
                       Olives, Sassafrases, Service Berries, Sweetgums, Sumacs, 
                       Sycamores, Tulip, Walnuts, Willows, Witch Hazels.
Trees of Stature and Prime Significance

Multi-Century Cedars (Canada's Largest, Oldest Trees)
Less than 100 km as the eagle flies from Sooke, lives the ... Cheewhat Lake Cedar ... in a remote location on southwest Vancouver Island, just inside the boundary of Pacific Rim  National Park.  This Western Red Cedar is 182 feet
in height and 60.2 feet in circumference.  It is the second largest known tree
of its type on the planet. The largest cedar is the ... Quinault Cedar  ... on the Olympic Peninsula overlooking the Juan de Fuca Strait.

Cathedral Grove ... on Vancouver Island...
is a rare and endangered remnant of the Douglas Fir  eco system. A major concern has been the rapacious clearing of ancient forests...for global wood products. The biggest trees in the Grove are about 800 years old and measure 250  feet in height and 29 feet in circumference.  The Western Red Cedar
lives to an age of 1500 years or more. Regulations are now in place for Protection! “You Don't Know What You've Got ... Until It's Gone!”

Great Bear Rain Forest
One of the largest contiguous tracts of  temperate rain forests left in the world
is on British Columbia's mainland coast in Great Bear Rain Forest.  It is characterized by some of the oldest and largest trees on Earth ... the most common are Sitka Spruce, Red Cedar, Western Hemlock and Douglas Fir.
These trees can tower up to 300 feet and grow for 1500 years or more.  The
southwest coast of Canada drips with water and wetlands:  West to the Pacific Ocean, North to the Arctic boreal forests, East to the crests of the Coastal  Mountains and south into Washington and Oregon. The size of the Great Bear Rainforest, also called the North and Central Coast forests, is roughly 25,000 square miles. The area is home to species such as cougars, wolves, salmon,
grizzly bears and Kermode (“spirit”) bear, a unique subspecies of the black bear, in which one of ten cubs  display a recessive white coloured coat. Coastal Rainforests are characterized by having proximity to both ocean and mountains.

Rain Forest Recipe:  Rain and lots of it (or other precipitation e.g. snow,drizzle,
                                 mist, fog).  The area must receive a minimum of 250 cm of
                                 moisture (about 100  in.) per year.  BC's coastal maritime
                                 climate keeps the landscape wet most of the year giving
                                 minimum of about 100 cm (120 in.).

“White  Oak” on Allview Avenue in Burlington, Ontario
In an October posting of “Autumn Trek”, I commented on this beautiful sunny
day of viewing and photographing a White Elm which is now recognized as a Heritage Tree.  The tree is 30 m (100 feet high) with a circumference of nearly 500 cm (16.7 feet)and estimated to be at least 300  years old.  This giant elm
with wide spreading branches, now bears a commemorative plaque on its stalwart trunk!  Many leaves of russets  and wines still hung on the massive
tree illuminated by  the afternoon sun. (I just could not resist inserting this
“plug” for a local tree.)

Canadian Heritage

Trees have played a meaningful role in the historic development of Canada
and continue to be of commercial, environmental and aesthetic importance to
all Canadians.  Maples contribute  valuable wood products, sustaining the maple syrup industry and help to “beautiful the landscape” three seasons of the year.  Maple is highly prized  for lumber building and cabinet making.

Since 1965, the Maple Leaf has become the centrepiece of the National Flag of Canada and the maple tree creates the pointy leaves that have become the prominent Canadian  symbol.

Maple  Leaf pins and badges worn by Canadians abroad
are recognized highly by people around the world.

This tree which grows in our valleys,
on our rocks ...
and when it is tall and strong,
does not fear storms
and overcomes the North Wind
which is unable to shake it!

The Maple is the King of our Forest!
It is the emblem
of the Canadian people.”

Denis-Benjamin Viger
(19th century Lower Canada politician)

Provincial  and Territory Official Trees of Canada

         Alberta ... Lodgepole Pine                         Nova Scotia ... Red Spruce
         British Columbia ... Western Red Cedar   Ontario ... Eastern White Pine 
         Manitoba ... White Spruce                     Prince Edward Island ... Red Oak          New Brunswick ..Balsam Fir                   Quebec ... Yellow Birch
         Newfoundland ... Black Spruce                 Saskatchewan ... White Birch
Territories: North West-Tamarack; Nunavut-none yet; Yukon-Sub-alpine Fir  

Hopefully of interest, I divert to other Provincial and Territory Emblems:

Provincial and Territory Official Flowers of Canada
           Alberta ... Wild Rose                                 Nova Scotia ... Mayflower
           British Columbia ... Pacific Dogwood       Ontario ... White Trillium
           Manitoba ... Prairie Crocus                       P.E.I. ...Lady's Slipper
           New Brunswick ... Purple Violet               Quebec...Blue Flag
           Newfoundland ... Pitcher Plant                 Sask... West. Red Lily
Terr:   NW - Mtn. Avens;  Nunavut - Purple Saxifrase; Yukon - Fireweed

Provincial and Territory Official Birds of Canada
Alberta...Great Horned Owl                Nova Scotia ...Osprey
                  British Columbia...Steller's Jay            Ontario...Common Loon
                  Manitoba...Great Gray Owl                 P.E.I...Blue Jay
                  New Brun...Blk. Cap Chickadee          Quebec...Snowy Owl
                  Newfoundland ... Atlantic Puffin         Sask...Sharp-tail Grouse
Terr: NW-Gyrfalcon; Nunavut-Rock Ptarmigan; Yukon-Common Raven

As Canadians...Let Us All Take Pride in and Enjoy Our Canada
... Our Provincial Symbols and Emblems
that Nature has provided!

Merle Baird-Kerr . . . written November 18, 2011
Comments always appreciated ... scroll down...may sign in “anonymous”
or e-mail ...


  1. What a fabulous entry on trees... one of my favorite nature friends in all the world. Here is famous quote about them...

    "A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease."

    John Muir (Famous Tree Lover)

  2. His quote is So it! You will never forget, visiting his "Park" outside San Francisco...what a memory to have...together with his "Advice from a Tree"

  3. Yes Merle for sure... we were there in his lovely Muir Woods outside of San Francisco.
    Advice from a Tree... Just so lovely... you did great honour to it putting it on your site.
    Sherrie xo

  4. Amazing how "one small detail" stimulates another. Ilan Shamir's writing of "Advice from a Tree" led me to others that he wrote, then the discovery of "Advice" from other forms of Nature! (which you can locate in my May articles). And to think that you saw Ilan's plaque
    in "Muir Woods"!...when showing me the photo you took of it, his message spoke volumes!