Plants of Toronto's High Park

Mushrooms and Other Fungi

Mushrooms and other organisms such as slime molds are neither plants nor animals, but rather belong to a kingdom of their own: Fungi. Bird’s Nest Fungus This tiny fungus is Crucibulum laeve, Bird’s Nest Fungus. Those ‘eggs’ are tiny capsules…
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Keys: The Maples of High Park

by Kathleen Keefe Keys are the little winged maple seedpods you see twirling through the air trying to get away from their parents. With a little breeze, their helicopter blades might propel them far enough from the mother tree to…
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Some Invasive Plant Species in High Park

by Andrew Dean & Emily Stairs Invasive plants pose some of the greatest challenges to the preservation and restoration of High Park’s natural environment. The ones described below are “herbaceous” species, meaning they don’t have woody stems. There are also…
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High Park is the best remaining natural area on the City of Toronto’s Iroquois Sand Plain... The flora of High Park is outstanding for its 102 extant significant species (4 provincially rare, 9 regionally rare and 89 locally rare plant species), many with southern/western and prairie/savannah affinities. A number of the rare species, particularly those in the cool ravines, also have northern affinities.

Steve Varga, OMNR. Annotated Checklist of the Vascular Plants for High Park and the surrounding Humber Plains, 2008. PDF (721 Kb)


Foraging is not permitted in High Park.

The injury and removal of plants in public parks, forests and ravines is prohibited by the Toronto Parks Bylaw, Chapter 608.

Thank you!

Featured Article

Wild Bergamot-Monarda-Bee Balm. Photo: Sharon Lovett
Wild Bergamot-Monarda-Bee Balm. Photo: Sharon Lovett

Find Your Plants by Feel and Smell

A plant with silica crystals (sand) in its leaves making it shed water? Yes, and you can find it growing where water trickles down the steep hillsides that run up from Spring Rd. It’s known as Scouring Rush or Horse Tails (Equisetum hyemale) and is designated as a menace in Australia, very invasive in the U.S. and a joy to modern flower arrangers here in Canada. Its hollow ¼” wide stems feel dry and flinty, and are distinctively ribbed lengthwise like fluted straws...

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Plants of the Black Oak Savannah

The dry, low-nutrient conditions of High Park’s black oak savannah supports a wealth of prairie plants that were once found throughout the region but have since become uncommon or rare. These include:

Big Bluestem. Photo: Karen Yukich
Big Bluestem. Photo: Karen Yukich
Showy Tick-Trefoil. Photo: Sharon Lovett
Showy Tick-Trefoil. Photo: Sharon Lovett


Learn to recognize three leaves of poison ivy (Rhus radicans), notice how the middle leaf stalk is always elongated. Leaf arrangement is your main clue as this plant can take many forms and sizes: from a small ground plant to a shrub or a vine.

All parts of the poison ivy plant contain urushiol, allergenic oil mixture that causes itchiness, irritation, and sometimes painful rash in most people who touch it. Your clothes and pets can transfer the substance to your skin even after you leave the park.

Macrophytes – Wetland Workhorses

Macrophytes are plants that grow in or near water. They may be emergent (growing out of the water), submergent (growing under the water), or floating. Along the shallow edges of ponds and lakes, macrophytes provide cover for fish and habitat for aquatic invertebrates and other wildlife. They also produce oxygen and act as food for some fish and wildlife.

Learn more about wetland plants

Blue-Flag Iris
Blue-Flag Iris

High Park Stewards Guidebook: Rare Plants of the Endangered High Park Black Oak Savannah

Sample | Poster

A plant and habitat guide, history of High Park, account of volunteering experiences and catalog of stewardship resources all in one entertaining pocket-sized book.


Biodiversity Booklet Series

Includes: Birds, Butterflies, Spiders, Fishes, Mammals, Bees, Reptiles and Amphibians, Mushrooms, and Trees, Shrubs and Vines of Toronto. Free copies may be available at your local Toronto Public Library branch. To find out more about these free guidebooks or to download a pdf version, visit the City of Toronto's Biodiversity website.

Articles, Galleries and Guides

What's New?

Welcome to Our New Website!

By High Park Nature | September 14, 2020
Since the High Park Nature website was first launched in 2010, it has provided a wealth of information about the natural features of High Park. Now we are pleased to…

New Treatment for Buckthorn

By High Park Nature | July 9, 2020
This summer Urban Forestry is partnering in a demonstration trial with BioForest, a forest pest management company, to manage invasive buckthorn shrubs using the bioherbicide Chontrol Peat Paste. The active…

Toronto Star article, January 13, 2020

By High Park Nature | April 5, 2020
“We love High Park for its natural beauty. Will that love be the death of it?” Read the article or The Star Pressreader version

High Park Christmas Bird Count Results

By High Park Nature | December 27, 2019
The most recent High Park Christmas Bird Count was held on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019 (a very windy day). The High Park route ended up with 43 species, our lowest since…

High Park Stewards Summary 2019

By High Park Nature | December 1, 2019
There were over 280 participants (between 110 individuals coming at least once) who came out to High Park Stewards field restoration events. The average number of Stewards that attended each…








Trees + Shrubs



Wetland Plants

Invasive Plants