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When you think of Canada, moose, maple syrup, or the word ‘sorry’ may come to mind. Some lesser-known, but equally important Canadian symbols are the provincial floral emblems. Each floral emblem represents the unique identities of Canadian provinces.
The bizarre and fascinating insect-eating pitcher plant was adopted by the province of Newfoundland in 1954.
This unique flower is certainly the most unusual Canadian provincial flower.
Prince Edward Island
The lady’s slipper flower was adopted in 1947 by Prince Edward Island as the official floral emblem of the province.
The lady’s slipper is a species of orchid that gets its name from the unique shape of the flower’s petals. This marvelous flower thrives in the damp woodlands of P.E.I from late May to June.
The trailing arbutus or mayflower was adopted by Nova Scotia as the official floral emblem in 1901. The mayflower historically was used as a decorative motif, appeared on the buttons of Nova Scotian military uniforms, and can often be found on postage stamps today.
Blooming in the forested regions of Nova Scotia, the mayflower can often be seen peeking through the last snowmelt in early spring.
In 1936, New Brunswick adopted purple violet as the official floral emblem of the province. These special flowers are used in jams and syrups to soothe the digestive tract and suppress a cough.
The purple violet flower thrives in wet meadows and woodlands, growing particularly well in New Brunswick. This vivid flower is found in fields, lawns, and gardens throughout New Brunswick in the early summer months.
The beautiful blue flag flower has been the floral emblem in Quebec since November of 1999.
An indigenous spring flower, the blue flag grows over half of Quebec’s territory, from the St. Lawrence valley to the shores of James Bay.
Ontario’s iconic provincial flower, the trillium, was first used by the Canadians following a movement during WWI to choose a national flower to plant on the resting places of fallen Canadian soldiers overseas. Later in 1937, Ontario officially adopted the white trillium as its floral emblem.
The white trillium is found in the forests and woodlands of Ontario in late April and May. Contrary to popular belief, it is not illegal to pick the white trillium. However, picking a flower can severely damage the plant, taking it several years to regenerate.
The prairie crocus was adopted as Manitoba’s official floral emblem in 1906.
This fascinating flower can often be seen pushing through the last of the prairie snow in early spring. The prairie crocus ranges from light lavender to blush purple, with an outer layer of hair to protect itself from sudden temperature changes.
Saskatchewan adopted the western red lily in 1941. The flower is a protected species, standing out with its brilliant red blossoms.
This magnificent flower thrives in damp meadows and semi-wooded areas.
The wild rose became Alberta’s floral emblem in 1930. This beautiful flower is the most widely distributed rose in Canada, known for its beautiful colour and fragrance.
The wild rose is not only beautiful in the warmer months, but during the colder months, scarlet berries are a valuable food source for birds.
The pacific dogwood has been the official floral emblem of British Columbia since 1956.
This unique tree grows 6 to 18 meters in height, flowering in April and May with large white blooms. During autumn the pacific dogwood has clusters of vibrant red berries, contrasted by beautiful foliage.
The mountain avens flower was adopted by the Northwest Territories in 1957.
This beautiful white flower is a member of the rose family and grows in the eastern and central Arctic on high, barren, and rocky ground.
In 1957, fireweed became the official floral emblem of the Yukon.
Known as a particularly hardy plant, fireweed grows along roadsides, riverbanks, and large clearings from mid-July to September. Fun fact, fireweed is the first flower to regenerate and grow following a forest fire.
The purple saxifrage was adopted by Nunavut as the official floral emblem in 2000.
One of the first plants to flower during the arctic spring, the purple saxifrage can be seen popping up throughout the tundra, creating a beautiful purple contrast against the white snow.
There you have it, the Canadian floral emblem crash course. As you can see, the distinct flowers beautifully represent the diversity and unique history of each Canadian province.
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The nation’s capital has so much more to offer than government buildings and visiting museums. Ottawa’s optimal summer weather is perfect for spending evenings on outdoor patios, enjoying nature, and basking in our breathtaking sunsets.