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Forests, Fish and Wildlife

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Plants of PEI

Approximately 1,300 different types of plants can be found thoughout Prince Edward Island. These include species, subspecies and varieties of native plants, as well as non-native plants and those brought to PEI accidentally or intentionally from other areas.

About one-third of the Island's plants are non-native species (dandelions, lupines, etc) that persist without cultivation. From habitats such as forests, marshes, sand dunes, rivers, ponds and cliffs, to more disturbed areas such as roadsides, old fields and urban areas, there is much to be found by plant lovers!

PEI's provincial flower is the stemless lady's slipper (Cypripedium acaule). This beautiful orchid flowers in mid- to late June, and is typically found in moist mixed or coniferous forest. Occasionally, it may also occur in bogs, or even among the lichens in old sand dunes. Although thought to be rare by many Islanders, lady's slipper is very common in the province. When not in flower, the plant's two basal leaves may be overlooked by casual observers or mistaken for those of blue bead lily (Clintonia borealis). Lady's slipper leaves are thick, hairy and appear plaited, as compared to the smooth leaves of blue bead lily. The flower of the stemless lady's slipper is usually pink, although a white variety also occurs.

In addition to this common species, two others occur on the Island: yellow lady's slipper (C. parviflorum) which frequents cedar swamps, and showy lady's slipper (C. reginae), known from only a handful of locations in the province. All three species can cause skin irritation similar (although not as severe as) poison ivy through glandular hairs found on their leaves and stems.

PEI's Provincial Tree is the red oak (Quercus rubra). This majestic tree was once much more common on the Island than it is today. Two centuries of land clearing, coupled with the harvest of trees for shipbuilding, construction, fuel and wood export, have greatly changed the area and composition of PEI's forests. That said, red oak is still present on the Island. Royalty Oaks Natural Area on the east side of Charlottetown is a good, easily accessible spot to enjoy our provincial tree.

To find a list of general status ranks for wildlife visit

Visit this site to find a reference guide to Island Woodland Plants

To find a full list of the plants known to be on PEI, visit the Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre

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