A Different Kind of Treasure Hunt – Wildflowers

We’ve been able to explore the eastern end of Canmore on foot for several days in a row now. Walking along the trails near Three Sisters Creek with our cameras in hand, we’ve been on the hunt for as many types of wildflowers as possible. In addition to the usual colourful blooms (scarlet paintbrush, buttercups, yarrow, bane berry, wild flax, vetch, yellow columbine, wind flowers, etc.), we’ve spotted several more exotic flowers. One of the most elusive is the sparrow’s egg lady slipper. Unfortunately, we’ve yet to get a great photo of this one. But since we’ve spotted three plants of this type, we’ll keep trying.

Another interesting plant we’ve seen several times is a purple butterwort, which we’ve since learned is carnivorous. Next time we spot this one, we’ll have to settle in for a while to see if we can see one “hunting”.

One of the most interesting finds has been a tiny bunched orchid: white with purple spots. Orchis rotundifilia grow in mossy areas all along the trails:

Round Leaved Orchid

Out hiking with friends on the weekend, we were delighted to come across a small patch of fairy slippers growing up through a carpet of moss. They are very difficult to photograph well, as they have a lot of front-to-back dimension to them. As a result, my best photo so far is this side view:

Calypso Orchid (aka Fairy Slipper)

Finally, we’ve occasionally spotted a lonely Western Wood Lily. This native lily seems somewhat scarce in the Canmore area, but we’ve seen lots of them along the Elbow River west of Bragg Creek:

Western Wood Lily

On a related note, we were away for one night earlier this week. During our absence, a deer wandered into our back yard and chewed all of our beautifully flowering columbine plants down to nothing! Good thing I took some photos of the flowers the day before!

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