Annotated Checklist of the Vascular Plants for High Park and the surrounding Humber Plains, 2008 prepared by Steve Varga, OMNR:
High Park is the best remaining natural area on the City of Toronto’s Iroquois Sand Plain...
The flora of High Park is outstanding for its 102 extant significant species (4 provincially rare, 9 regionally rare and 89 locally rare plant species), many with southern/western and prairie/savannah affinities. A number of the rare species, particularly those in the cool ravines, also have northern affinities. Complete introduction & checklist
More About Plants - Some interesting species
Plant Details - Part 1 - Savannah & Woodland Plants
Plant Details - Part 2 - Savannah & Woodland Plants
Native Plant Chart (pdf)
Mushroom - Entoloma sp.
The dry, low-nutrient conditions of High Park’s black oak savannah supports a wealth of prairie plants that were once found throughout the region but have since become uncommon or rare.
- prairie grasses such as big bluestem, little bluestem and Indian grass, and
- prairie flowers such as cylindrical blazing star, hairy bush-clover and showy tick-trefoil, plus the wild lupine that blankets the savannah in late spring.
High Park’s black oak savannah has a few native wildflowers not reported elsewhere in Toronto. Some of these are featured in the following articles reprinted from the Toronto Field Naturalist newsletter:
Species that bloom between early June and early July
- wild lupine, rockrose and New Jersey tea.
Early summer article from Toronto Field Naturalist newsletter
Species that bloom in mid-to-late summer
- these include two rather inconspicuous species of Leguminosae (pea or bean family) and a brightly coloured species of Asteraceae (sunflower family).
Mid-late summer article from Toronto Field Naturalist newsletter
Learn more about Toronto Field Naturalists
Aquatic plants, called macrophytes, provide numerous ecosystem services including but not limited to improving water quality, providing habitat, food source (seeds, roots, rhizomes, vegetative growth) for birds and other local fauna, nectar source for pollinators and nutrient cycling.
Macrophytes play an important role in protecting edges and shorelines from erosion as root systems effectively anchor the soil in place while the vegetative growth intercepts energy form waves and currents that would otherwise destabilize shorelines and stream banks. They are highly valuable in wetlands, supplying cover for fish, a substrate for aquatic invertebrates and producing oxygen through photosynthesis.
At High Park, several notable wetland plant species are present including Sweetflag (Acorus calamus), Broad-leaved cattail (Typha latifolia), Common arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia) and Blue-Flag iris (Iris versicolor). Macrophytes are classified as emergent, submergent or floating.
For healthy macrophyte populations, High Park users should try to avoid disturbance to the Pond’s edges such as trampling, thereby compacting soils and encouraging colonization of the invasive Phragmites (Phragmites australis).
Your sense of touch and smell will both serve to find you some interesting plants in the park...
"This guidebook is truly a gem - with an elegant presentation and seamless integration of information, it is highly recommended for local and non-local native plant lovers, stewards, and even people looking to create their own environmental stewardship and natural area education guides." – Carolinian Canada