Friday, September 25, 2015

Fringed Gentian at Ojibway Park

Fringed Gentian at Ojibway Park
During a recent dinner, I mentioned to my wife that I wanted to go for a walk at Ojibway Tallgrass Prairie --- to look for a rare flower  .... The Fringed Gentian! My wife looked down at her plate and cleared her throat. "First birds, then butterflies... please tell me you are not getting into plants...".  Lol, she was kidding around but kind of serious.  I reminded her that I refuse to get into dragonflies or other insects ...but there are so many interesting plants to discover at Ojibway --- Just around the corner!

 So today, after work, I headed out to the Spring Garden area and finally crossed paths with this beautiful native species. I must have walked 10km for this blue botanical beauty. Nature appreciation, if nothing else, is good exercise!

In researching this plant, I came across a reference to them in Windsor's Coat of Arms! Even Windsor's Coat of Arms features a nod to our local botanical endowment in our tallgrass prairies. A rose, trillium and a fringed gentian grace the bottom portion of our coat of arms.

"On a grassy mound rising above the waters of the River are two floral sprays celebrating the varied and multicultural character of Windsor's population: the rose, the trillium, and fringed gentian. The gentian also honours a unique part of local natural heritage: the unusual plants and flowers of the tall grass prairie. "( Source-

Its ironic that Windsor's Coat of Arms pays homage to its natural history by featuring this plant. Even the moto of our city: "The River and the Land Sustain Us" has a certain irony. Windsor and Essex county are at 5% natural coverage when its understood that an ecosystem needs over 15% to remain functional. Our city politicians have blindly encouraged a local paving company to build a strip mall adjacent to the Ojibway tallgrass prairie. I have even heard recently that when the province (OLG) shut down the Windsor Raceway, it was quietly sold land to the Coco Paving company, which is well known to have liberal ties. Coco also owns the (Ambassador) golf course on the other side of the road, so the adjacent property, along with its proximity to Lasalle make it a desirable development property.

I cant end this posting on a negative, political note, so I leave you with this poem instead:

To the Fringed Gentian
William Cullen Bryant

Thou blossom bright with autumn dew,
And colored with the heaven’s own blue,
That openest when the quiet light
Succeeds the keen and frosty night.

Thou comest not when violets lean
O’er wandering brooks and springs unseen,
Or columbines, in purple dressed,
Nod o’er the ground-bird’s hidden nest.

Thou waitest late and com’st alone,
When woods are bare and birds are flown,
And frosts and shortening days portend
The aged year is near his end.

Then doth thy sweet and quiet eye
Look through its fringes to the sky,
Blue-blue-as if that sky let fall
A flower from its cerulean wall.

I would that thus, when I shall see
The hour of death draw near to me,
Hope, blossoming within my heart,
May look to heaven as I depart.

Good Birding, Herping, Leping and  Botanizing

PS: Along with today's botany highlight, I had some nice views of some late butterflies.


  1. Neat.
    I came across some Closed Gentian at Rondeau today (Friday)!

  2. Congrats, Dwayne, on catching up to the Fringed Gentian. It is a delightful plant to encounter in a prairie. I remember all too well some of the history regarding the former raceway property, and it definitely leaves a sour taste.

  3. Didn't know it was that special! Even a poem about it! Saw some up the Bruce a few weeks ago.



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