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Canoe Country Flora

Canoe Country Flora: Plants and Trees of the North Woods and Boundary Waters

Mark Stensaas
Illustrations by Jeff Sonstegard
Copyright Date: 1996
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    Canoe Country Flora
    Book Description:

    The vast North Woods, a land magnificently arrayed in the deep greens of pine, spruce, and fir and the brilliant blues of crystal clear lakes, spans the area from Minnesota to Maine and from Michigan to Hudson Bay. With a little help from Canoe Country Flora, keen explorers will discover a world full of life and wonder in the plants that thrive in this beautiful lake country. Canoe Country Flora, a friendly field guide, introduces you to ninety-six of the most common trees, shrubs, wildflowers, fungi, ferns, lichens, and other plants you’re likely to encounter during your travels north. Detailed line drawings and brief plant profiles help you recognize what you’re seeing, while “Sparky” Stensaas’s intriguing tales draw you into a deeper study of the plants’s natural and cultural histories. Each plant is made identifiable and memorable by fascinating facts, handy checklists, diagrams and charts, and interesting activities that help adults and children learn by discovery. Use this book as a companion to Canoe Country Wildlife or alone as your guide to a unique North Woods adventure.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9686-4
    Subjects: Biological Sciences

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-v)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vi-xiv)
  3. Trees
    (pp. 1-46)

    Balsam Fir often gets a bum rap as being the “weed of the North.” Because it is little used as lumber and susceptible to disease, many scorn the fragrant and short-livedAbies balsamea. It is lucky to hit eighty years. Abundant in the North Woods, it is considered part of the climax forest, the one that if left unaltered would regenerate itself to the end of time. Climax Black Spruce—Balsam Fir-Jack Pine forests are mysterious places where the “Moose and the Pine Marten play.”

    Balsam Fir is a conical evergreen with branches reaching near to or all the way...

  4. Shrubs
    (pp. 47-71)

    Sweet Gale is a ubiquitous shrub in the canoe country, almost entirely rimming the shoreline of most lakes. Two to 4 feet tall, it is the “ankle biter” that scratches shin and thigh when clambering from canoe to shore. But before cursing, stop, relax, crush a leaf or two, and take a deep breath, inhaling the spicy aroma of Sweet Gale.

    Few plants range as far and wide asMyrica gale. It is abundant from Newfoundland to Alaska, down to Washington, and south and east to Virginia. Impressive as its North American range is, it doesn’t stop there, but circles...

  5. Wildflowers
    (pp. 72-151)

    Bullhead Water-Lilies can be found in the calm-water company of Fragrant White Water-Lilies, Tuberous White Water-Lilies (Nymphaea tuberosa), and Water Shield (Brasenia schreberi). They all need the silty bottom and clear water found along the margins of some North Woods lakes and ponds. Under-muck rootstalks may reach 3 feet in length and are covered with circular scars. Tough but flexible leaf and flower stems arise from these rootstalks. Resting atop the water’s surface are the moose track-shaped leaves, cleft only one-third of the way through. Bullhead Water-Lilies would rather be a little closer to shore than their white relatives, preferring...

  6. Ferns and Other Nonflowering Plants
    (pp. 152-178)

    The most knowledgeable pteridologists (fern fanatics) estimate that there are between eight thousand and eleven thousand species of ferns in the world. Fortunately, in Minnesota, naturalists only have to wade through seventy-two species, with less than half of these found in the canoe country of the border lakes.

    Most ferns grow from underground perennial rhizomes, which can lead to large stands of a single species. In the spring, up push the new fronds, or leaves, tightly curled like the head of a fiddle, and so the common name, fiddlehead. This growth form serves to protect the fragile fern tip during...

  7. Fungi
    (pp. 179-196)

    Friends, we have fungus “amung-us,” and it may be as near as the itchy crevice between your little toes. Yes, athlete’s foot is a fungal problem that many a wet-foot camper has had to contend with. The family of fungi also includes such diverse members as ringworm, blue cheese mold, White Pine Blister Rust, histoplasmosis, morels, puffballs, penicillin, and yeast. We are going to concentrate here on the high profile basidiomycetes, or club fungi. These include the mushrooms, shelf fungi, puffballs, and stinkhorns—species that one might encounter on a hike, paddle, or campout.

    Fungi are not plants. They perform...

  8. Appendix
    (pp. 197-209)
  9. Back Matter
    (pp. 210-210)