Native Orchid News:
The Newsletter of Native Orchid Conservation Inc. 
Volume 7 Issue 4   October 2005
ISSN 1499-5476

Native Orchid Conservation Inc.
117 Morier Ave, Winnipeg MB R2M0C8

For more information contact Doris Ames at 204-947-9707 or e-mail

Members' Night
Friday, October 28, 2005
1212 Dakota Street

Plant of the Month:
Showy Tick-Trefoil (Desmodium canadense)


President's Report

Doris Ames

Fall has arrived in all its glory, the leaves have suddenly changed colour and there are still some hardy flowers that have managed to weather the recent frosts. The small Smooth Sumac tree in my yard has droopy leaves that look like wine-coloured silk in the sunlight now. Mushrooms are everywhere with large white ones clinging to the elms and maples and delicate white, red and grey ones peeking through the moss in the woods.

The last few months have been busy with the successful NOC conference in July during which NOCI led the field trips, other field trips that Peggy mentions in her report, and various survey trips. Peggy and Ellen and I made another trip to Churchill this summer to look for new orchid locations. It was quite a different summer up there this year than last and we found out pretty quick why Churchill hotels don't have air conditioning!

We are looking for a new field trip coordinator as Bob McGillivray resigned from that position and also from the board of directors. I would like to thank him for the excellent job he did of coordinating the field trips for us this summer. The board appointed Iris Reimer to serve out the balance of Bob's term as director and we are very happy she agreed to accept the challenge. Many of you will know Iris, as she is a long time NOCI member along with her brother Eugene and their father Peter K Reimer.

Recently we have been working with the Brokenhead Wetlands Committee on the planning and installation of trails and boardwalks, which will allow school children and others to visit the wetland safely and, without damaging the delicate orchids and other rare plants.

Our book "Orchids of Manitoba" is selling well, you can order copies from us and as well it is for sale in 21 stores in the province. All the proceeds go towards the conservation of native orchids.

We now have a 24 minute educational video on orchid conservation called "Zoom In On Native Orchids" produced by Michael Lloyd of Dispell the Myth Productions. It is in DVD format. The first segment stars Al Simmons and is entertaining as well as informative while the second segment is more of a documentary featuring pictures of native orchids and their habitat. We had 105 made and have given them all away. We are planning to have another 100 made for distribution to schools and other groups. Production of this video was made possible because of a grant from the Manitoba government's Sustainable Development Innovations Fund and we are very grateful for their support.

This year Members Night is on Friday, October 28th. It will include speakers, new displays, prizes and sales of orchid pins and our new field guide "Orchids of Manitoba". These items make wonderful Christmas gifts. Please read Peggy's write-up elsewhere in this newsletter and come out and join us.

P.S. If you have some items that would make good prizes for these kinds of events please contact Peggy at 261-9179.

Hadashville Field Trip, May 7, 2005

By Peggy Bainard Acheson

The day of the first field trip of the year was ominously cloudy and cool. Nevertheless, 19 eager adventurers donned rubber boots, rain hats and slickers in the hope of finding some of Manitoba's earliest spring flowers.

At the Burger King in Southdale, we gathered and regrouped for carpooling. We have found this is an ideal way to shorten the convoy, and give people a chance to talk and get to know each other. Forging on to Richer we met a few more people, had a quick coffee and waited for a couple of stragglers to arrive. Despite the weather trying desperately to put a damper on things, everyone was in high spirits and felt comfortable with one another very quickly. We continued east on Highway #1 to Road 48E, then turned south to the junction of the Dawson Rd. Beside the road in the shallow road allowance we stopped and got out of our cars. Doris motioned toward the grass-covered ditch. At first glance it didn't look promising. But as we drew closer someone called, "There ... I see three-flowered avens. Oh! There's early blue violet... and what are those tiny white flower in the grass? ... it's rock cress, and pygmy flowers." We were also rewarded with yellow whitlow grass, prairie buttercup, sun-loving sedge, and a hoary puccoon in bud. After the photographers had had their chance to capture their beauty, it was on to Hadashville where we picked up a few more people at the Parkview Inn.

We continued on to McMunn, where we saw some lovely marsh marigolds in a ditch full of water. There were pussytoes along the road as well. Although it rained off and on all the time, we somehow managed to time our stops in between the worst showers. Driving along a large farmer's field, we stopped and gazed at a large flock of sandhill cranes off in the distance. All of a sudden they took flight and were gone.

At the junction of River Road and River Road (see photo - finding directions in the country is always interesting, I find - it's like some cruel joke that country people like to play on us city slickers), we turned south towards the moccasin flower (Cypripedium acaule) preserve at the site of the old East Braintree garbage dump. The preserve is a small area set aside by Mary Wiebe and Doris Ames in 1998. The sandy soil and coniferous forest is prime habitat for the moccasin flower, but it was too early to see any yet. But we were not to be disappointed as we found some interesting and rare plants in bloom anyway. The tiny, pink, sweet-smelling flowers of the trailing arbutus (Epigaea repens), bearberry and blueberry, made the air smell fresh and sweet after the rain. We saw other interesting plants, too like the primitive ground cedar, the stiff club moss with the spore-bearing structure, and the fertile stems of common horsetail. We also found the pods and dried leaves of the checkered rattlesnake-orchid (Goodyera tesselata). Finally, we found the seedpods of Indian pipe, and mushrooms of the genus Lactarius.

Continuing east, we crossed the Birch River Bridge and then turned onto #308 north. A little further along we saw the white heads of arrow-leaved coltsfoot, a member of the aster family in the ditch on the east side. Then we drove to the Manitoba Forestry Association trails near Hadashville. Lining the sandy, winding road, were beautiful large, purple crocuses. We were famished and ate our packed lunches in the cool air under cover of the handy picnic shelter by the Whitemouth River. Luckily, it was the MFA's annual open house and the free coffee and juice revived us. After lunch we crossed the river on the swinging suspension bridge and saw the rare bloodroot blooming at several sites along the trail. We also saw elf ladders and horse's hoof fungus growing on some trees and logs, spore bearing fronds of ostrich ferns and even some bittersweet (Celastrus scandens) climbing up the poplars. The bittersweet vine can embed itself in the bark of the tree and may eventually cut through the bark and kill the supporting tree in its quest to reach sunlight. On our way back we took group pictures on the suspension bridge (see photo). Everyone seemed very pleased with the field trip in spite of the rain.

Announcing NOCI's 5th Annual Members' Night - Friday, October 28, 2005

NOCI looks forward to hosting the fifth annual Members' Night to be held on Friday, October 28, 2005!  Jim Teller, professor of Geological Sciences at the University of Manitoba will speak to us on the topic "Glacial Lake Agassiz, Global Change, Noah's Flood".  His presentations to the Manitoba Naturalists Society are popular and well attended.  We hope you will enjoy this year's guest speaker. 

As usual we will have door prizes, and this year we will have our book, Orchids of Manitoba, for sale.  We will also have orchid pins, cards, and our newest display.  Everyone is welcome including guests.   Refreshments will be served.

Date:   Friday, October 28, 2005
Time:   7:30 p.m.
Place:   Manitoba/Dakota Lawn Bowling Centre
  1212 Dakota Street, Winnipeg
  [Click for a MAP]
RSVP:   Peggy Bainard Acheson, 261-9179 (evenings or leave message) or click on the name to email.

A Great Gift Idea

Our field guide is a great gift for any occasion.  Remember your friends and relatives with a copy of Orchids of Manitoba this holiday season.

Plant of the Month

Showy Tick-Trefoil (Desmodium canadense)

By Doris Ames

This interesting and rare perennial member of the Pea family has a stocky hairy stem with vertical lines. It can grow up to 2m in height and is often found in open areas with moist sandy soil or along riverbanks. The alternate compound leaves are composed of three long leaflets. The pea-like purplish-pink flowers are crowded together on a showy spike during the blooming period in August. After flowering, small brown jointed seedpods are produced (second photo). These pods have short hooked bristles that can stick to fur or clothing like burs and thus aid in seed dispersal. The pods likely account for both its common name and its botanical name. Desmodium comes from "desmos" meaning "bond" or "connection" in Latin. Another common name is Beggar-lice. This summer we found these interesting plants growing on the banks of the Roseau River along with climbers like Wild Grape and Clematis.