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Mon, March 23, 2015
Ferns of Nova Scotia

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Educational Resources

Images and text on these pages were created for educational purposes and may be copied, modified and distributed for such purposes subject to proper acknowledgement. Read more.

moonwort Moonwort (Botrychium lunaria) on June 25th

Wild Flora and Habitat in Nova Scotia

Coastal Plain Flora

The Nova Scotia Wild Flora Society is dedicated to the appreciation and conservation of wild flora and habitat, especially in Nova Scotia. A non-profit organization and an affiliate of the North American Native Plant Society, the society welcomes all people who are interested in native flora. Members meet regularly on a social basis to host speakers, plan recreational field trips, and organize other events.


This web site serves to create awareness about the Nova Scotia Wild Flora Society, and to be a source of information for topics of interest to all wildflower enthusiasts.

Please read the President's Welcome.

Issues, Events, Workshops

Upcoming NSWFS Events:
Check Programme for upcoming NSWFS meetings and field trips.

Norris Whiston's Index & Keys for Trees & Shrubs of the Maritimes by Todd Boland (2012)
As a follow-up to Norris's presentation to the NSWFS on Identification of Forest Flora in the Field (Monday November 24, 2014), Norris is making his index and keys available here. Read more

NS Plants

Nova Scotia Plants e-book launch Thurs. Oct 30, 2014

Oct 25, 2014: NS Wild Flora Members & friends are invited to the launch of Nova Scotia Plants, an e-book by Marain Munro, Ruth Newell and Nick Hill at the NS Museum Thurs. Oct 30, 2014 at 2PM. See Poster


Mushroom Foray Sep 26-28, 2014

Why not have an outdoor WILD MUSHROOM experience? The Nova Scotia Mycological Society is holding its 4th annual foray in Wallace, NS beginning Friday, Sept 26 through Sunday, Sep 28. All are welcome. This event is geared to anyone interested in mushrooms and/or natural history. See the full program, registration and accommodation details at


forest clearcut

DNR and the disappearing science

Aug. 29, 2014: A Halifax Media Co-op article by Robert Devet asks if our forests are "not a renewable resource after all" and highlights nutrient supply issues as a matter of concern. "Poor soils, acid rain and a history of clearcutting make Nova Scotia's forests vulnerable to aggressive harvesting practices, a biologist argues. Yet the Department of Natural Resources is not releasing a scientific report that identifies where not to clearcut." View Article

oak woodland

SMU plans would destroy precious woodland

June 21, 2014: According to the SMU Campus Master Plan, St. Mary's University plans to construct a large buildling (the "Oaks Complex") in the red oak woodland by The Oaks in south-end Halifax. This remnant natural woodland with elements of old growth forest (multiaged oaks, snags, decaying fallen trees) & abundant witch hazel, indian pipe, mocassin orchid and bird life would be decimated... View Photo

Wed. May 14, 2014: Flora study of Williams Lake Backlands featured at WLCC AGM

May 7: 2014: flora studyThe Annual General Meeting of the Williams Lake Conservation Company will be held at 7:00 on Wednesday, May 14th at the Captain Spry Centre, 10 Kidston Rd, Spryfield. NSWFS member David Patriquin will present highlights of the Ecological Assessment of the Plant Communities of the Williams Lake Backlands that he and Dr. Nick Hill recently completed on behalf of the WLCC. The AGM is also an opportunity for us to review the year's activities and for you to bring forward your concerns and observations. Everyone is welcome.


Daphne mezereum

on April 28, 2014

Better late than never!

From our Acadian heritage, but strictly ornamental (all parts very poisonous).

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Sat. May 3, 2014: Backlands 360 Walks

The Backlands Coalition invites Nova Scotians to participate in an afternoon of guided walks in the Backlands on Saturday May 3, organized as part of the annual Jane’s Walk events across Canada and around the world. The NS Wild Flora Society is one of the founding members of the Backlands Coalition. More about the walks

May 3, 2014: Native Plant Sale at
Irving Botanical Gardens

9 a.m. to noon. See website

spring forest

An exceptionally beautiful film about spring in Nova Scotia's vanishing Old Forests

Feb. 24, 2014: We were asked to post a YouTube Version of this film produced by Henri Steeghs & colleagues in 2005. It expresses so well the beauty of spring in our old forests, with scenes that will be very familiar to members of the NS Wild Flora Society. Thanks to David Garbary of St. Francis Xavier for forwarding the film and to Henri Steeghs & colleagues for producing it and sharing it so generously. We hope it will be viewed by all Nova Scotians.
Details and YouTube Link


NS Wild Flora Society joins Backlands Coalition

Feb 24, 2014: We became one of nine initial members of the Backlands Coalition which was officially launched on Feb 21, 2014. The Coalition seeks to protect as much land as possible in the Purcell's Cove Backlands, a popular trekking area for NS Wild Flora folks. See Backlands Coalition


Plan Your Home Rain Garden Workshop

Feb 13, 2014: Got the Mid-Winter Blues? Start your spring rain garden planning with EAC on Tuesday February 18th, 2014 in the Ecology Action Centre kitchen from 7:00 - 8:30 pm. Read more

JackPine/Broom Crowberry Barrens

A Rare Plant Community in the Backlands

Feb 13, 2014: The Williams Lake Conservation Company has issued a report which documents the plant communities of the Williams Lake backlands. Prominent amongst them: the rare, Jack Pine/Broom Crowberry barrens. These are well known to NS Wild Flora Society folks because the best stands anywhere occur on the Halifax mainland, but they are nationally unique, ocurring only in a handfull of windswept, exposed barrens along the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia and at a few sites in Maine and nowhere else. Read more


New Field Guide to Sedges of Maine

Sep 3, 2013: This 712 page field guide by Matt Arsenault et al. (6 authors) contains "an informative introduction, extensive keys, a glossary of botanical terms, a thorough index, and numerous color photographs of each species." Purchase from the Maine Natural History Observatory. It covers a high proportion of the sedges of Nova Scotia, and indicates regional distribution of each species. A copy will be available for inspection at our Sep. 23rd (2013) meeting.

See News for older posts.

Recent Additions


Now and in the Future

By knowing our wildflowers we can better preserve them for ourselves and for the future.

Wildflowers are often abundant, but they are not indestructible - many of our loveliest ones are in danger of extinction by our carelessness. This need not happen if we observe the following rules of courtesy:

  • Do not pick the wildflowers. Enjoy them and leave them for someone else to enjoy. They are perishable and have a very short "indoor" life; also, with many of them, roots as well as seeds are killed when the flowers are picked.

  • Do not try to transplant them into your garden. Almost without exception, they do not tolerate root disturbance. Your chances of success in raising them domestically are far greater if you begin with seed. Even so, many of them need soil, temperature, and other conditions not available outside of their immediate environment.

  • Be respectful of them in their natural environment. Do not injure them with fire, tramping, or other thoughtless acts.

The text above is an excerpt from a book published in 1914. Even then, naturalists were concerned for the conservation of the wild flora! Source: Berniece Anderson & Arthur H Holmgren. 1914. Mountain Plants of Northeastern Utah. Logan: Utah State University. A revised edition is available online.