From late March to freeze-up in October, explorers can find a variety of wildflowers blooming in and around Medicine Hat, part of the mixed-grass prairie of the Northern Great Plains. The prairies are carved by the flow of water; deep coulees lead precipitation to the creeks and river. In our diverse landscapes, including the rapidly disappearing grassland ecosystem, wildflowers abound. In this sunniest corner of Canada, sun-loving, drought-tolerant flowers are favoured! With longer days and abundant rains, flower numbers peak in June.
Observe the wildflower habitat. Species vary with soil type and the amount of moisture and sun available. Do they grow on dry, sandy or gravel areas, or more moist clay or loam? Is the area soaked by sun, water or both? Plant life on sunny, south-facing slopes is quite different from that on the shady side. Within the coulees, surprising patches of cattails show where springs add moisture to an otherwise dry coulee face. Do the plants support animals, especially insects. Are bees, butterflies, other insects enjoying the flowers? Does this wildflower community provide food or shelter for other life?
Respect our biodiversity: Do NOT pick or dig up wildflowers.
This guide indicates the preferred habitat for each flower:
grasslands, coulees, or wetland or riparian areas.
Photos: Rob Gardner, Cathy Linowski, Brenna MacDonald, Martha Munz Gue, Dwayne Myers, John Slater, DeVaughn Squire
Web Site: Dwayne Myers
* Bloom times vary each year depending on weather conditions.