Shrubs and Vines

New Jersey Tea
Sharon Lovett
Shrubs of the Black Oak Savannah & Woodlands

Shrubs found in this plant community include a variety of species characteristic of tallgrass woodlands such as: Black Huckleberry, Bush Honeysuckle, Common Blackberry, Dryland Blueberry, Low Sweet Blueberry, New Jersey Tea, Upland Willow (see below), Smooth Wild Rose and Poison Ivy.

Shrubs of the Moist Red Oak Forest

Unlike the low shrub and prairie understory found in the dry, tallgrass woodlands in High Park, the understory of moist Red Oak forests are characterized by tall shrubs. Beaked Hazel, Choke Cherry, Maple-leaved Viburnum, Mountain Maple, Nannyberry, Red-osier Dogwood, Round-leaved Dogwood and Witch-hazel form a dense shrub layer.


Upland Willow catkins
Kami Valkova

Upland Willow

One of our favourite signs of spring is the emergence of upland willow catkins (the flowering part of the plant). Upland willow is so named because it grows in dry upland regions. It is the only species of pussy willow that grows in dry areas; most willows prefer to reside near water.

As its flowers develop, upland willow will protect its catkins with a soft and silvery covering. Later in the season, once the leaves have grown, caterpillars of various moths and butterflies (such as the Mourning Cloak) will feed on the foliage. The leaves are long and narrow, typical of all willow species, but distinct in that they have a velvety underside.

Source: The Biology of Pussy Willows: The Biology of Pussy Willows. Contributed by Kami Valkova


Witch-hazel in Bloom
Douglas Counter


There is only one tree or shrub native to Canada that blooms in the autumn - and it grows wild here in High Park: Witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)! Witch-hazelís yellow, spiderish flowers bloom in September - October and can perfume the trails with a gentle floral fragrance.

But, how do the Witch-hazel flowers get pollinated in the cold October weather when bees and most other pollinators have stopped flying? It would appear that late fall moths such as sallow and owlet moths vibrate their wings to create the necessary warmth for their bodies to fly in order to visit the Witch-hazel flowers for a nectar feast. Their furry-scaled bodies help move the pollen and ensure that the flowers are fertilized. Once a Witch-hazel flower is pollinated it wonít ripen until next autumn.

The name Witch-hazel implies magical powers which is likely due to their use as dowsing rods for finding underground water or minerals. It really is the perfect Halloween tree.

Contributed by Jon Hayes, High Park Nature Centre


See also:

- Shrubs of High Park (pdf)

- Forests

- Savannahs & Woodlands

Karen Yukich
Purple-flowering Raspberry
Mehdi Zarrei
Sweet Fern
Karen Yukich
Poison Ivy
Karen Yukich
Staghorn Sumac
Steven Rose
Black Huckleberry
James Kamstra
Upland Willow
James Kamstra
Low Blueberry
James Kamstra
Bush Honeysuckle
Karen Yukich
Running Serviceberry
James Kamstra
Dryland Blueberry
James Kamstra

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Content last modified on October 30, 2018, at 12:57 PM EST