The natural, unadulterated beauty of Saskatchewan's rolling hills, sand dunes and forest landscapes, just north of North Dakota and Montana, is home to many native flower species. Some native flowers have widespread distribution throughout Saskatchewan, while others rarely occur in the province. Learning about the characteristics of these native flowers and their important roles in the stabilization of the land's ecology will help all of us appreciate and preserve nature's beautiful bounties.
A perennial flowering herb of the Liliaceae family, wood lily (Lilium philadelphicum L.) is native to Saskatchewan, east to Quebec and west to British Columbia, and it grows as far south as Texas in the United States. The wood lily grows up to 3 feet tall and produces flower clusters at the top of each plant. Its orange-reddish flowers bloom from mid to late summer. This native flower grows in full sun and moderately moist to dry soil in Saskatchewan's fields and forest areas. Its other common name is orange-cup lily and western red lily.
A low-growing, flowering perennial herb of the Fabaceae or pea family, tufted milk-vetch (Astragalus spatulatus) is native to Saskatchewan and Alberta in Canada. It also grows as far south as Utah, Colorado and Kansas in the United States. Tufted milk-vetch grows about 2 inches tall in the dry soils of rocky hillsides, and its pink to purple flowers bloom in early spring.
Native to Saskatchewan and its neighbors, Alberta and Manitoba, and growing as far south as Nevada in the United States, smooth goosefoot (Chenopodium subglabrum) grows in the dry sand and full sun conditions of the sand dune areas. Smooth goosefoot grows to 31 inches in height from a single stem that forms multiple flowering branches near its top. Its greenish brown to red flowers bloom in midsummer. Smooth goosefoot is a member of the Chenopodiaceae family, and it is also known as Chenopodium leptophyllum var. subglabrum.
The white and purple-spotted flowers that bloom in clusters at the tip of the round-leaved orchid's stem are in full bloom from mid to late summer. A perennial member of the Orchidaceae family, round-leaved orchid (Amerorchis rotundifolia) is a delicate perennial flower that grows to 10 inches tall in moist soil and partial shade. The Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium states that the round-leaved orchid has a threatened status in the environment. Its native distribution include Saskatchewan, all of Canada and most of northern United States.