Plants of Toronto's High Park

Sakura – Cherry Trees in High Park

High Park A to Z – S is for Sakura by Kathleen Keefe In the spring when you see thousands of people thronging to High Park in the manner of a zealous rock concert crowd, you can bet it is…
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Shrubs and Vines of High Park

Shrubs and vines form part of a well diversified vegetation structure, creating an important mid-level layer between wildflowers and trees. They provide habitat for wildlife, offering nectar to pollinators in spring and summer and berries to birds in the fall.…
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Some Trees in High Park

Many species of deciduous and coniferous trees grow in High Park’s diverse habitats. Black Oak (Quercus velutina) In the savannah areas of High Park the predominant tree is the Black Oak. Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus) This tree has a…
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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)

Native Plant Sale

Cancelled in 2020

The plants are grown in the Greenhouses as part of the High Park Stewards Program. Use native plants in your garden and help native species thrive!

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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.

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Blue-Flag Iris
Blue-Flag Iris

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

Complete Guide pdf | 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.

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Trees + Shrubs



Wetland Plants

Invasive Plants