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The watershed of the Meduxnekeag River in New Brunswick is home to a significant part of the province’s remaining stands of Appalachian Hardwood Forest, a forest type not found elsewhere in Atlantic Canada. AHF is similar to tolerant hardwood forests normally found further south and west – in New England and Quebec –  and contains many flowering plants and ferns rare or uncommon in New Brunswick. Some of these rare and uncommon species are relatively widespread in the watershed’s remnant AHF stands; others are known from only a few locations.

The following very rare, rare, or uncommon (provincial designations) AHF species are known from the Meduxnekeag watershed:

Pointed Leaf Tick Trefoil

(Desmodium glutinosum)

is extremely rare in New Brunswick, known from only one site: Bell Forest. Flowering in mid-summer on the north bank of the Meduxnekeag.

Bottlebrush Grass

(Hysrtrix patula)

gets its name from its seedhead shape. Listed as very rare by the New Brunswick Committee on Endangered Species, one of its four known New Brunswick sites is in the Meduxnekeag watershed.

Canada Violet

(Viola canadensis)

a very rare species, flowering in June, six of whose seven known New Brunswick locations are in the Meduxnekeag watershed.

Black Snakeroot (Fragrant Snakeroot)

(Sanicula odorata)

 is known from only five sites in New Brunswick, all in Carleton county, three of them in the Meduxnekeag watershed. Listed as very rare.

Black Snakeroot (Large-fruited Snakeroot)

(Sanicula trifoliata)

is similar to the above, also very rare, known from three Meduxnekeag sites and three elsewhere in New Brunswick.

Northern Wild Comfrey

(Cynoglossum boreale)

very rare in New Brunswick, known from fewer than eight sites, one in the Meduxnekeag watershed

Nodding Fescue

(Festuca verticillata)

very rare; known from only four New Brunswick sites, one in the Meduxnekeag watershed

Plantain-leafed Sedge

(Carex plantaginea)

very rare in New Brunswick, known from several Meduxnekeag locations including Bell Forest where more than a dozen separate clumps flourish on and beside the old woods road.

Showy Orchis

(Galearis spectabilis)

rare in New Brunswick, most of its ten known sites are in the Meduxnekeag watershed. Flowers in early June.

Wild Leek

(Allium tricoccum)

rare in New Brunswick; grows in several locations in the Meduxnekeag watershed.

Lance-leafed Grape Fern

(Botrychium lanceolatum)

rare in New Brunswick, known from two Meduxnekeag sites.

Pubescent Sedge

(Carex hirtifolia)

rare in New Brunswick; four of its seven known locations are in the Meduxnekeag watershed. Found in Bell Forest.

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Sprengel’s Sedge

(Carex sprengelii)

rare in New Brunswick; known from several Meduxnekeag watershed sites.

Goldie’s Fern

(Dryopteris goldiana)

rare in New Brunswick, known from several Meduxnekeag locations including Bell Forest. One of the largest woodland ferns.


(Dirca palustris)

 rare in New Brunswick, this shrub grows in several Meduxnekeag forest sites, sometimes reaching 3 metres in height.

Wild Coffee

(Triosteum aurantiacum)

 rare in New Brunswick with most known sites in the Meduxnekeag watershed; abundant in both Bell Forest and Leonard Woods.

Black Raspberry

(Rubus occidentalis)

rare in New Brunswick, found in many Meduxnekeag locations, favouring forest edges and high canopy – along the woods road in Bell Forest and the Black/Orange trail down the hill in Leonard Woods are good locations.

Round-leafed Hepatica

(Hepatica nobilis)

rare in New Brunswick; one of the earliest spring flowers, often blooming in late April; known from a handful of Meduxnekeag locations.

Yellow Lady’s-slipper

(Cypripedium calceolus)

 this large orchid is uncommon in New Brunswick, but abundant in several sites in the Meduxnekeag watershed, sometimes forming large colonies of many blooming plants.

Wild Ginger

(Asarum canadense)

is uncommon in New Brunswick, and abundant in many sites in the Meduxnekeag. Its distinctive low-growing heart-shaped leaves conceal purplish-brown recumbent flowers in May. Forms low mounds or patches of many plants.

Blue Cohosh

(Caulophyllum thalictroides)

is uncommon in New Brunswick; abundantly scattered in many Meduxnekeag hardwood forest sites; inconspicuous yellowish flowers in late May and June are followed by showy blue berries in the fall, often remaining on the stem over winter.


(Polygala senega)

uncommon in New Brunswick; found in several Meduxnekeag sites, usually along the shorelines, sometimes in exposed rocky outcrops rather than in the forest.


(Phryma leptostachya)

uncommon in New Brunswick; known from several locations in the Meduxnekeag, including Bell Forest.

Maidenhair Fern

(Adiantum pedatum)

uncommon in New Brunswick, this delicate lacy fern flourishes in many Meduxnekeag sites, often in large patches

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The following plant species are considered common; found in many forested sites in the Meduxnekeag and elsewhere in New Brunswick; usually though not always in tolerant hardwood forest. Some, of course, are more commonly found than others. Some, like bloodroot, are abundant in certain areas like the Meduxnekeag watershed but not found at all in some other parts of the province. Others, like spikenard, are considered to have “conservation significance”, without actually falling into the very rare, rare, or uncommon categories


(Aralia recemosa)

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(Arisaema triphyllum)

June flowering, with three leaves and a separate flower stalk; flower is green streaked with purple outside and purple inside. Prefers rich hardwood forests and moist, often streamside, sites. Some plants produce a tight cluster of red berries in late summer.


(Sanguinaria canadensis)

flowers abundantly in many Meduxnekeag locations in May; perhaps best seen from a canoe along the north bank of the river between Red Bridge and the old railway bridge. Also very abundant at the entrance to Bell Forest.

Canada Yew

(Taxus canadensis)

low evergreen spreading shrub, usually under deciduous trees or at forest edges; aka Ground Hemlock; branches now extensively harvested as a medicinal.

Yellow Violet

(Viola pubescens)

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False Solomon’s-Seal

(Smilacina racemosa)

common plant of rich hardwood forests; may also persist in fencerows and other formerly wooded land. Flowers at the tip of the stalk in Spring, followed by clusters of brownish berries in late Summer


(Polygonatum pubescens)

 frequent in hardwood and sometimes in mixed forests; flowers hang from the underside of the stalk.

Enchanter’s Nightshade

(Circaea lutetiana)

rich woodland plant, frequently abundant; flowers in summer; seeds are hooked for ready dispersal by passers-by.

Red Trillium

(Trillium erectum)

early spring flower; sometimes known as “Stinking Trillium” from its strong odour; abundant in rich hardwoods, persisting in many other shady locations.

Zig-Zag Goldenrod

(Solidago flexicaulis)

most common in rich hardwoods, but also found in other woodland sites; as the name suggests, the stem zig-zags rather than grows straight

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White Baneberry

(Actaea pachypoda)

common in rich hardwoods; flowers in late spring in a cluster above the leaves, followed by white berries in late summer; sometimes known as “dolls’-eyes”, from the resemblance of the berries (which are poisonous to humans).

Common Toothwort

(Dentaria dyphylla)

 late spring flower; pinkish-white flowers in clusters above the leaves; often found in large groups.

Large Toothwort

(Dentaria maxima)

;ess common but similar to the above.

Trout Lily

(Erythronium americanum)

one of the very earliest –  and most common –  spring flowers; also known as Dog-tooth Violet and Adder’s Tongue; a classic “spring ephemeral” whose leaves and flowers have completely vanished by mid-summer.


(Dicentra cucullaria)

another spring ephemeral, with small creamy flowers shaped like breeches held above delicate lacy foliage. Abundant in rich sites like Bell Forest where it flourishes near the entrance on either side of the trail.

Sweet Cicely

(Osmorhiza claytoni)

 found in moist woods, flowering in late spring; lower leaves are large and fernlike; flowers small and sparse; the name refers to the roots which have a sweetish licorice or anise scent.

Hooked Buttercup

(Ranunculus recurvatus)

 small petals, flowers in late spring to early summer; common.

Spring Beauty

(Claytonia virginica)

low-growing plant with delicate white-to-pink-to-purple violet-like “pin-striped” flowers in May; usually found in rich hardwoods.


(Uvularia sessifolia)

also known as Sessile Bellwort; flowers from late May with small creamy yellow bell-shaped dangling blossoms.

Great-spurred Violet

(Viola selkirkii)

one of the so-called “stemless” violets with leaves and flowers on separate stalks

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The following flowering plants may be found in tolerant hardwood sites, but are widespread in other forest types as well.

Poison Ivy

(Toxicodendron radicans)

widespread in the Meduxnekeag watershed, particularly, but not exclusively, in the riparian zone. May be a vine, a shrub, or a low groundcover; leaves occur in threes; clusters of white berries in summer, often persisting into the next season. Contact with any part of this plant may produce an itching blistered skin rash.  Learn to recognize and avoid.

Red Baneberry

(Actaea rubra)

similar in appearance and flower to White Baneberry, but with a cluster of bright red berries in late summer. Poisonous to humans.

Wild Sarsaparilla

(Aralia nudicaulis)

flowers in late spring through early summer, in umbels, on a separate stalk from the leaves, prefers dry woods.

Wood Anemone

(Anemone quinquifolia)

low, delicate-appearing plant with white flowers, often pinkish or fading to pinkish on the outside; flowers in mid-spring.

Canada Anemone

(Anemone canadensis)

flowers larger than above species; white, usually later in season, often in meadows or open edges.

Rosy Twisted-stalk

(Streptopus lanceolatus)

 found widely in the watershed; small pinkish flowers dangle below the leaves along the stalk in late spring and early summer.

Tall Meadow Rue

(Thalictrum pubescens)

 widespread in the watershed in swamps, meadows and open areas; flowers in summer.

Northern Wood Sorrel

(Oxalis montana)

 low-growing; small whitish or pinkish pink-veined flowers in late spring and early summer above edible clover-like leaves. Locally abundant in suitable rich woods as along the Red trail on slope of Wilson Mt.

Blue Violet

(Viola spp)

many sub-species not easily distinguishable are widespread and abundant throughout the watershed in damp woods, moist meadows, roadsides; flowering in mid-spring to early summer; Blue Violet is New Brunswick’s provincial flower.

Canada Lily

(Lillium canadense)

 tall plant, found in wet meadows, woodlands, often near water; yellow, orange or red flowers in mid-summer; widespread in watershed.


(Clintonia borealis)

also known as Blue-bead Lily; yellow flowers in late spring followed by bright blue berries in late summer.


(Asclepias syriaca)

 flowers in mid-summer in old fields, roadsides, and waste places; abundant along ATV trail near Wilson Mt entrance to Preserve; sap is white and sticky; foliage provides food for the Monarch butterfly; seed is densely packed in pods; when opened, each seed is attached to a silky filament for ready wind dispersal.


(Trientalis borealis)

low-growing, two white star-shaped flowers held above a whorl of leaves in late spring.

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Indian Cucumber Root

(Medeola virginiana)

stem has two whorls of leaves, with dangling greenish-yellow flowers from the top whorl; up to a metre tall, flowers in early summer.

Stinging Nettle

(Urtica dioica)

plant may be more than a meter tall; densely covered with stinging hairs; small greenish flowers in summer. Avoid touching.


(Epifagus virginiana)

 plant without green pigment; colour varies from yellowish to reddish to brown; 15 - 50 cm tall; parasitic, found only under beech trees.

Spotted Coralroot

(Corallorhiza maculata)

another plant lacking in green pigment; yellowish flowers deepening to purple on a leafless stalk, flowers in mid-summer.

Indian Pipe

(Monotropa uniflora)

 translucent whitish stem with a single nodding pinkish white flower in summer; small, sometimes found in groups.

Pine Sap

(Monotropa hypopithys)

has several tan to yellowish nodding flowers; emerges in summer thru early fall.

Kidney-leaf Buttercup

(Rancunulus abortivis)

yellow flowers, 15 - 40 cm, flowers in spring thru mid-summer.


(Hieracium spp.)

a number of species found both in woods and open habitats; some are native, others alien; all, except the Orange Hawkweed (aka “Devil’s Paintbrush”) found mostly in fields or on roadsides, are yellow-flowered and bloom in summer.

Spotted Jewelweed

(Impatiens capensis)

widespread in damp shady places; orange spotted flowers; seed capsules burst at a touch when ripe, scattering seeds. Juice from crushed stems may provide some relief to poison ivy blisters.


(Cornus canadensis)

low-growing; 4 white bracts surround a cluster of small greenish flowers on top of the plant in late spring or early summer; red berries in late summer.

Painted Trillium

(Trillium undulatum)

smaller than Red Trillium; flowers in late spring; prefers more acidic forests though also found in AHF sites; white petals with red centres.

Nodding Trillium

(Trillium cernuum)

flower is white, or, rarely, pink and hangs below leaves; flowers in mid-spring in acidic woods.

Pink Lady’s-Slipper

(Cypripedium acaule)

also known as Moccasin Flower; has both pink and white flowered variants in the region; blossoms in acidic woods in late spring or early summer.

Canada Mayflower

(Maianthemum canadense)

aka Wild Lily-of-the-Valley; short-stemmed plant with shiny elongated leaves and a cluster of tiny white flowers above the leaves in spring; found in many woodland habitats (this isn’t the fragrant Mayflower).

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