Canada's diverse climates are home to a myriad of different kinds of plants and trees. Canada is home to over 140 native trees and 5,500 native plants, and about half of the country is forest land.
Canada has five main climate regions. Starting from the west, there's the most temperate province of British Columbia on the West Coast. British Columbia is also home to the sunny Okanagan Valley, with its fruit orchards and vineyards.
From the Canadian Rockies to the Great Lakes are Canada's prairies, crossing the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Also known as the Interior Plains, this region has sprawling grasslands and shrublands. Canada grows a lot of wheat, along with other grains such as oats, alfalfa, and rye.
Shaped like a bowl, the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Lowlands has rich, fertile farming land and hardwood forests. This area covers eastern Ontario and southern Quebec.
The maritime provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island, along with the areas of Newfoundland and Labrador, are known as Atlantic Canada. Over 75 percent of the maritime provinces are forest land with close to 10 percent as farmland. The forests of this region are a blend of mixed woods and boreal forests.
And then there's The North, where the boreal forests and, further north, the Arctic lay. The Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and the Yukon make up close to 40 percent of Canada's land.
Ready to test your botanical knowledge of the Great White North? Hold on to your toque and go on a Canadian adventure with this quiz! Good luck!
On February 18, 1988, the western red cedar (Thuja plicata) became British Columbia's tree. These massive trees can grow over 195 feet tall. It's an important tree for the province and the West Coast First Nations.
A staple of Alberta's forestry industry, the lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) became the province's official tree on May 30, 1984. Historically, this particular tree is significant because it was used to create railway ties that linked Alberta to Eastern Canada. First Nations people have had a variety of uses for the lodgepole pine, including using it to create their lodges and homes, for food and medicine.
White birch (Betula papyrifera), also known as canoe birch or paper birch, became the provincial tree of Saskatchewan in 1988. Like the mountain paper birch, it's known for its peeling bark that can be used as kindling. Birch beer is a non-alcoholic soft drink.
White spruce (Picea glauca), also known as Canadian spruce and skunk spruce, was adopted as the provincial tree of Manitoba on July 5, 1981. You find this tree all over Canada except on the Pacific Coast.
Northern red oak (Quercus rubra) became Prince Edward's silvan emblem in 1997. With this tree, even if you were to cut it down, it may not actually be dead. You may see shoots growing from the stump.
Pacific dogwood (Cornus nuttallii), also known as mountain dogwood, was made British Columbia's official flower in 1956. Primarily, you can find this tree in southwestern British Columbia. Peak blooming months for this tree are April and May.
The wild rose (Rosa acicularis), also known as prickly rose, became Alberta's official flower in 1930 after it was chosen by schoolchildren. This flower is found all along the Pacific Coast and in Canada's boreal forests. Peak blooming season is from the late spring to early summer.
The prairie crocus (Pulsatilla patens), also known as the pasqueflower, was chosen by schoolchildren to be Manitoba's official flower on March 16, 1906. You can see this flower as one of the first signs of spring, even if there is still snow on the ground.
The Mayflower (Epigaea repens), also known as trailing arbutus, became Nova Scotia's floral emblem in 1901. Ants love the berries that this plant produces and the blooms provide a sweet, pleasant smell.
The purple pitcher plant (Sarracenia purpurea) became Newfoundland and Labrador's floral emblem in 1954. It's also on Newfoundland's penny thanks to Queen Victoria. You can find this plant growing everywhere in Canada except in the more colder territories of Nunavut and Yukon.
Mountain avens (Dryas octopetala) became the Northwest Territory's official flower in 1957. It specifically grows in rocky, mountainous regions.
In 2000, the purple saxifrage (Saxifraga oppositifolia) became the territorial flower of Nunavut. You find this edible flower growing in rocky places all over the territory.
The mountain paper birch (Betula cordifolia) is also known as the eastern paper birch or the mountain white birch. This tree has a distinctive, thin bark that peels.
The showy orchid (Galearis spectabilis) can be found in Eastern Canada, specifically in the provinces of Quebec, New Brunswick, and Ontario. You can typically find this flower blooming in the spring and early summer. The showy orchid is usually found in more shaded areas in the woods.
White trillium (Trillium grandiflorum) became Ontario's floral emblem in 1937. You can also see this flower on Ontario's provincial flag. You'll see this flower bloom in the springtime.
Bog Labrador tea (Rhododendron groenlandicum) also known as Hudson's Bay tea or Greenland tea can be found in the boreal forests of Canada. The leaves and flowers can be steeped into tea, and the leaves can be used to spice meats and other dishes. The leaves also have quite a number of medicinal uses including alleviating and treating colds and as a pain reliever.
Also known as small sundrops, little evening primrose (Oenothera perennis) can be found growing in most provinces (except Alberta) of Canada. This plant blooms from late spring into the late summer months.
Pallas' wallflower (Erysimum pallasii) can be found primarily in the mountainous areas of British Columbia, Alberta, and in the three territories of Yukon, Nunavut, and Northwest. This shrub blooms mainly in late spring and summer.
The yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis), also known as Merisier (meaning wild cherry tree in French) became Quebec's provincial tree on November 17, 1993. When this tree's twigs and leaves are scratched or rubbed, you can smell the scent of wintergreen.
The red spruce (Picea rubens) became Nova Scotia's silvan emblem in 1988. The chewing gum, called spruce gum, was created in the 19th century. The wood of the red spruce is typically used for stringed instruments like guitars and violins.
Pink lady's slipper (Cypripedium acaule) became Prince Edward Island's provincial flower on April 25, 1947. You can find this flower everywhere in Canada, even further north in the Yukon and Northwest Territories, except in British Columbia. This type of orchid blooms in late spring.
The Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus), also known as northern white pine, became Ontario's provincial tree on December 31, 1990. This tree has multiple uses including as lumber and medicine.
Nodding trillium (Trillium cernuum), also known as whip-poor-will flower can be found as far west as Saskatchewan and as far east as Newfoundland. This flower blooms mainly in the springtime, from April to June.
American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) has been shown in studies to positively affect neurocognitive functioning. This plant's status is threatened in Quebec and endangered in Ontario.
The red fruit bearberry (Arctostaphylos rubra) means just what it says -it's a berry that bears (and other animals) like to eat. Humans can eat it, too (mainly First Nations people). You can find this plant in the alpine and arctic regions of Canada.
The sand cherry (Prunus pumila) is also known as the dwarf sand plum as far west as Saskatchewan and as far east as Quebec. As the name suggests, you can this plant in sandier places, like along the Great Lakes. The fruit is edible for humans, but wildlife typically eats them more.
In 1999, the blue flag iris (Iris versicolor Linné) was chosen to be Quebec's official flower because the previous flower, the Madonna lily (a stylized version of the fleur-de-lis symbol on the Quebec provincial flag), was not native to the region. You can see this flower all across Eastern Canada.
The black spruce (Picea mariana) became the provincial tree of Newfoundland and Labrador in May 1991. You'll find this as one of the main trees of Canada's boreal forests. Its twigs and needles are used to create an essential oil.
The purple prairie clover (Dalea purpurea) is a misnomer. It's not actually clover, but part of the legume family because its fruit is a bean pod. You can find this plant in Central Canada, from Alberta to Ontario.
In 1936, the purple violet (Viola cucullata) was chosen as the provincial flower of New Brunswick. Also known as blue marsh violet or meadow violet, you can see this flower bloom across Eastern Canada.
The bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) is a massive tree that can grow up to 160 feet tall and up to 10 feet wide. Its large leaves (up to 12 inches long) provide a dense canopy and lots of shade. You can find this tree growing from Alberta to Quebec.
The balsam fir (Abies balsamea) became New Brunswick's provincial tree on May 1, 1987. The balsam fir's wood fibers can produce premium quality paper, and its sap is used to make glue, soap, and candles.
The trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides) is also known as the golden aspen because of the golden color its leaves turn during autumn. This tree can be found all over Canada including the territories.
Jack pine (Pinus banksiana), also known as Hudson Bay pine or grey pine can be found in provinces and territories in Canada. Jack pine is another tree used for Christmas trees. It's also used to make railroad ties, telephone poles, and lumber.
Western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) is found in Alberta and British Columbia. Not only does the western hemlock help to grow different kinds of chanterelles, but the tree's needles can also be steeped for tea, and its cambium can be eaten. The bark also has a high amount of tannins, useful for tanning leather.
The Western red lily (Lilium philadelphicum), also known as the wood lily, became Saskatchewan's floral emblem in 1941. Due to forest fires and humans encroaching on its natural habit, this flower is an endangered species and is now protected.
The eastern white-cedar (Thuja occidentalis) has many names including swamp cedar and false white cedar. Arborvitae was the name given by Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus. This tree is primarily found in provinces from Manitoba to Nova Scotia and has many medicinal and commercial uses.
In 1957, the fireweed (Chamaenerion angustifolium) became the Yukon Territory's official flower. It's also known in Canada as great willowherb. Most of the fireweed is edible, including blooms, stems, and roots.
Subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa) became Yukon's arboreal emblem in 1991. First Nations people have used this tree for traditional medicinal purposes. Commercially, this tree is used for lumber, pulp, and boxes.
Tamarack (Larix laricina) has many names including eastern larch and hackmatack. Tamarack is one of the rare deciduous conifers (meaning it can shed its needles). This tree was made the silvan emblem of the Northwest Territories on September 9, 1999.