Summer can exceed 30*C. Summers are short and dry, precipitation averaging 16 “ per year. We are located between the treeline and the salt water of Hudson Bay in an area of discontinuous permafrost with Palsas, Drunken Trees and Ice Wedge Polygons. The 4 distinct ecosystems (Boreal Forest, Taiga, Tundra and Marine) give rise to the 400 species of vascular plants identified in the area.
Saxifrage actually starts blooming while still snow covered in June. Tiny white Arctic Avens carpet the Tundra. Fields of brilliant Royal Purple Rhododendron change to fragrant deep purple/blue Sweet Vetch. Slopes of purple fireweed lead down to clear turquoise water. Startling splashes of bright yellow Arnica offset huge rocks covered with Orange Star (Elegant Sunburst ) lichen.
But most interesting are the tiny treasures. Wintergreen, Butterwort, Wild Strawberry, Stemless Raspberry, Cloud Berry, Soap Berry, Bear Berry, Blue Berry, Cranberry, Goose Berry, Primrose, Bog Laurel, Alpine Azalea, Cinquefoil, Pygmy Flower (Fairy Candelabra) to name just a few. Figworts – Purple Rattle, Lapland Rattle, Elephant’s Head, Flame Tipped Lousewort, Purple Rattle, Velvet Bells. And we have 10 species of Orchids, from the showy Lady Slipper to the tiny Fly Specked Orchid! The beautiful Calypso Orchid was found here just a few years ago, but only appears every few years.
Wildflowers of Churchill (and the Hudson Bay Region) by Karen L. Johnson published by the Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature (1987) photographs by Robert R. Taylor.