Trail Talk – August 22, 2018

A quite common pretty flower is the Himalayan balsam, which unfortunately is another of the unwanted invasive plants. The flowers are pink with green or red tinged stems. The green seed pods, seeds, young leaves and shoots are all edible. The flowers can be turned into a jam or parfait. This plant is not to be confused with jewelweed which has orange or yellow flowers and similar translucent stems. Jewelweed is also called touch-me-not, so called because it has projectile seeds that explode out of ripe pods when they are lightly touched. The juice of the leaves and stems is a traditional Native American remedy for skin rashes, including poison ivy. Both Jewelweed and Himalayan balsam are in the impatiens family.

According to the Ontario invading species the following plants are listed (see www.invadingspecies/plants) Winged Euonymus, Wild Parsnip, Wild Chervil, Purple Loosestrife, Miscanthus, Kudzu, Japanese Knotweed, Japanese Stiltgrass, Phragmites, Japanese Barberry, Invasive Honeysuckle, Garlic mustard, Himalayan Balsam Giant Hogweed, Dog-strangling Vine, Common Buckthorn and ground covering periwinkle, English Ivy and Goutweed.  (There is a much longer list of 88 invasive species at www.eddmaps/org/ontario/species) There are also lists of aquatic invasive plants.

I Have seen Purple Loosestrife in many places along the Maitland river, Phragmites on the Millennium Trail and Naftles trail, Honeysuckle in the Maitland Woods and several other places, Garlic Mustard in the Maitland Woods, John Goldie Reserve, Bannockburn and several other places, Himalayan Balsam at the GART, Olde Menesutung Trail, and at several parts of the Maitland Trail such as the Cherrydale and River Line to Sharpes Creek Line sections. Periwinkle at Lobbs and River Line, and Common Buckthorn in many places including the Maitland Woods, River Line to Sharpes Creek Line and Bannockburn. I am sure there are other places where these plants occur. I am not aware of seeing the other species on the short invasive list on our area trails though I have heard there is, or was, Giant Hogweed near the bridge in Bayfield.

I had a hard time identifying one white flower. Thyra thought it looked like a Lobelia, but my flower books only listed blue Lobelias until Thyra found out that the Great Lobelia can be albino so this is the most likely identification. I have quite often seen small American toads along the trails. I have also noticed that this year there is more than the usual amount of poison ivy on our trails. Near the corner of Highway 8 and Sharpes Creek Line there were about 70 Turkey Vultures circling overhead. One wild turkey made a very lumbering flight across Bannockburn Line on Tuesday. I saw my first puffball of the year on Wednesday August 15th which was 4 “diameter, and was 5 “diameter on the 16th, i.e. it doubled its volume in one day which is typical of my past observations, I expect it to stop growing in three days at about 10 “ diameter. (Some can grow up to 20 “ diameter).

One colourful visitor to our garden was a 2“ long black swallowtail caterpillar on a Dill plant.

Upcoming Hikes

August 26th 8:00 PM. join the Bayfield River ValleyTrail Association on a night hike on the Woodland Trail

Join us at the pavilion in Clan Gregor Square for a walk under the light of the full moon through the village until we reach the edge of the woods at Sarnia Street. Once in the woods we will enjoy the beauty of the ravines, old pastures and glacial hills as we walk along old gravel quarry roads, lumber paths and deer trails. The trail is approximately 5 km long and the difficulty is level 3. Our hike will take approx. 2 hours. Please bring a head lamp or flashlight in the event that our special guest, the full moon is hidden by clouds.

Leaders: Roberta Stemp 519.565.2777, Elise Feltrin 519.565.5852

Saturday Sept 29th to Sunday Sept 30th 2 day MTA El Camino registration is now open. See the Signal Star August 8th or

Midweek Hikes

The Tuesday Trompers walk for about an hour at a moderate to slow pace starting at 9:00 AM Contact Al Sanders at

The Wednesday hikes start at 9:00 AM for 1.5 to 2 hours at a moderately fast pace. Contact

The Friday L.I.F.E. hikers usually meet at 8:10 AM at the Betty Cardno Centre in Clinton and hike for 1.5 hours to 2 hours, one group at a moderate the other group at a moderately fast pace. Contact

If you have questions or something of interest for Trail Talk email me Patrick Capper at