Sedges (Carex) of Saskatchewan
Nature Saskatchewan / 6 February 2013

Sedges (Carex) of Saskatchewan by Anna L. Leighton Published by Nature Saskatchewan Review by Sandy Bonny $19.95 ISBN 978-0-921104-29-2 Saskatchewan’s uncultivated prairie, the archetypical provincial geography, is grassland — yet many of those thin-leaves are not grasses. The sedges, or Carex, which have three sided blades as opposed to the round stems of grasses, have ‘edges’. And they increase in abundance at edges. If you have canoed through a waterside fen, recall the rough whisper of sedge blades against your hull and paddle. Hiking or hunting in the boreal forests, sedge skirt open spaces, forming thick carpets between forest stands and providing a valuable source of forage and seed to wildlife, as well as a protected habitat for flowering and medicinal plants. With over 103 native species the sedges are the largest genus of vascular plants in Saskatchewan, yet one of the least known and most difficult to identify. Sedges (Carex) of Saskatchewan, Fascicle 3 of the Flora of Saskatchewan’s compendium of provincial botany, reveals the importance of the genus and its role in each of the provincial ecozones. The volume is dedicated to John Howard Hudson (1923-2010), a botanist and educator whose detailed notes and archival specimen collection remain…

Lilies, Irises, & Orchids of Saskatchewan
Nature Saskatchewan / 27 June 2012

Lilies, Irises, & Orchids of Saskatchewan by Vernon L. Harms and Anna L. Leighton Published by Nature Saskatchewan Review by Sandy Bonny $ 19.95 ISBN-13 987-0-921104-28-5 There is something about flowers—from Tchaikovsky’s “Waltz of the Flowers” to Spike Jonze’s film “Adaptation,” our culture celebrates their transient beauty above the reproductive bodies of other flora. Intriguing though mushrooms and pinecones may be, they just don’t have the aura of mystique that draws floraphiles to the many-coloured monocots. In this keyed field guide from Nature Saskatchewan, professional and amateur botanists are introduced to Saskatchewan’s fifty-one species of lilies, irises and orchids, twenty-one of which are considered rare or endangered. The guide’s authors, Anna Leighton and Vernon L. Harms, are key players in the Flora of Saskatchewan Association’s volunteer-driven initiative to document the province’s flora, and in this offering they supplement detailed line drawings, colour photographs, and identification keys with interesting notes and commentary regarding the distribution and seasonal appearances of each flowering species. True to the diversity of species at large, the guide includes both native species and ‘garden-escapes.’ Thus, we see cultivated chives beside Red ‘Tiger’ Lilies in the Lily Family, and introduced German Irises alongside native Blue Flag in the…

Ferns and Fern Allies of Saskatchewan
Nature Saskatchewan / 31 August 2011

Ferns and Fern Allies of Saskatchewan by Vernon L. Harms and Anna L. Leighton Published by Nature Saskatchewan Review by Sandy Bonny $ 19.95 ISBN-13 987-0-921104-27-8 This book provides a keyed guide to the ferns and fern allies (quillworts, club-mosses, spike-mosses and horsetails) of Saskatchewan—a boon to medicinal herbalists, fiddlehead gourmets, and environmentalists interested in the identification and preservation of rare plants and their habitats. Ferns and Fern Allies of Saskatchewan includes 58 species from all parts of the province; several are rare or endangered but many are pervasive species that will be familiar to local readers. A first flip through the book brought waves of nostalgia for afternoons spent pulling apart the black banded segments of the hollow green stalks of Equisetum hyemale, Common Scouring Rush, on the banks of the South Saskatchewan. There was also a moment of revelation: those strange brown pillars that waved above the moss beds we hid in playing ‘flags in the woods’ at summer camp were cones, the fruiting bodies of Lycopodium lagopus, Running Club Moss. The ferns that my husband and I struggle to keep from taking over our shaded urban yard belong to Matteuccia struthiopteris, the Ostrich Ferns, and I was…