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Winter Plants: Who’s Sticking Around?

Find and photograph these four plants this winter at Evergreen Brick Works

Plant branches in the winter

Published on January 29, 2019

All plant-lovers rejoice as new life - shoots and buds - pop up after a long, cold winter. But even when there’s a thick blanket of snow stretched across the landscape, we can still spot the plants whose roots dig deep in and around Evergreen Brick Works’ site.

Find and photograph these four plants that stand out against a snow-white backdrop!

Just remember, “take only photographs and leave only footprints.”

Wild Grape

Wild grape vines and tendrils latching onto a fence

Hanging on all winter long, Wild Grape can be spotted climbing fences, walls and even around trees! From summer to fall, you’ll spot clusters of grapes and coarsely toothed leaves, making it easier to identify the entire plant. But after the winter wildlife have feasted on the fruit, only the vines and some leftover fruit are visible. Keep your eye out for its climbing vines with tendrils – super-thin branches that coil and climb up whatever it’s latching onto!

Hint: Start at Tiffany Commons!

Cattail

Cattails in the pond in winter

These tall plants are a key fixture in aquatic habitats, most easily recognized by their signature “cigar-shaped” seed head. In late fall, many of those seed heads burst and leave puffs of white fluff. From its pollen to its roots, animals and people alike have found uses for every part of the Cattail! When the plant is still green, its strong leaves can be woven into durable baskets. But even now, its puffy white seed heads are used by birds to keep their nests cozy in the winter!

Hint: Been to the Quarry?

Staghorn Sumac

Red sumac fruit in the winter

An almost tree-sized shrub, Staghorn Sumac’s fuzzy red berry clusters persist into winter and hold their deep red colour, making them easy to spot against a snowy backdrop. High in Vitamin C, it is an essential winter food source for wildlife – birds, mammals and insects alike. Once you notice Staghorn Sumac, you’ll realize it’s all over the Don Valley!

Hint: Look up!

Wild Rose

Rosehips and thorns against a brick wall in the winter

A plant known for both its beauty and its spunk! Often avoided by hikers for its prickly thorns, Wild Rose is a hardy plant that holds its ground all winter. But did you know so does a lot of its fruit? After Wild Rose’s flowers bloom in the spring, they develop fruit called rose hips which hold on until they’re all eaten up or disturbed. Like Staghorn Sumac, rose hips stay bright red all winter and also happen to be a source of Vitamin C!

Hint: Look near the Children’s Garden!

To learn more about nature in the Don Valley and Evergreen Brick Works area, go on a Guided Site Tour, bring your kids to Weekend Nature Play, or play Agents of Discovery – a self-guided scavenger hunt.