Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Ripe Blueberries

Zoe Panchen

The first ripe blueberry (Vaccinium uliginosum) seen!
I saw my first ripe blue berry here this week! We have had some lovely sunny warm days for the last week or so and the plants are rapidly producing their ripe fruit and dispersing their seeds. The capsules of many of the louseworts especially the hairy lousewort (Pedicularis hirsuta) have burst and are dispersing their seeds. The Mountain Avens (Dryas integrifolia) now has white fluffy old mans beard and the Fleabane (Erigeron eriocephalus) has creamy pompoms. It is gratifying to see the completion of the reproductive cycle of the plants we have been watching for the last ten weeks.

The creamy pompom of Fleabane
(Erigeron eriocephalus)
ready to disperse its seeds
The old mans beard of Mountain Avens (Dryas integrifolia)

The last of the plants we have been studying in Iqaluit have finally come into flower. The Cardamine pratensis with its delicate pale lilac petals is popping up everywhere in waterlogged areas by the side of the Sylvia Grinnell River and there are dashes of bright yellowy-orange in damp low areas where the Yellow Mountain Saxifrage (Saxifraga aizoides) is coming into flower.

Pale lilac flowers of Cardamine pratensis

Yellow Mountain Saxifrage (Saxifraga aizoides)


  1. Cardamine pratensis (common names Cuckoo flower or Ladies smock in UK) is one of the earlier plants to flower - April to June. My book says it grows thought Europe except extreme north yet it blooms, albeit much later, way up north on your continent. It does look to be dwarfer than ours.
    I've seen Saxifraga aizoides in flower in June in Lake District.

  2. I am intrigued to hear that many of the Canadian Arctic plants grow in northern England and Scotland. The Cardamine pratensis is called Bittercress here. It was growing at Lake Hazen too but the buds just sat unopened all the time I was there, I wonder if it did ever flower up there this year as it was an unusually cold year.

  3. There are about a dozen Cardamines listed in my flower "bible" for Britain & Northern Europe. All have word Bittercress in their common name except C pratensis. One species, C bulbifer (Coralroot bittercress) is interesting in that it has bulbils at base of most upper leaves & these are it's means of proprogation. In Britain it is only found in Kent, Sussex & our area of Chilterns so I see it quite often. It blooms early in year.
    Sofia & Zoe, your time in Arctic ends tomorrow I believe - I've found it fascinating following your blogs about the people and wildlife.
    Many thanks to you both.