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New Plant for Canada
October 12th, 2011
New Plant for Canada Discovered on Nova Scotia Nature Trust Property
Springhaven, N.S. (October 12, 2011) – Botanists from the Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre (AC CDC) recently discovered a shrub species never before observed in Canada, as well as populations of three other very rare plant species, on a property near Springhaven in Yarmouth County purchased for conservation last year by the Nova Scotia Nature Trust.
Botanists Sean Blaney and David Mazerolle discovered a small population of Maleberry (Lyonia ligustrina), a shrub species never seen before in Canada, near Long Lake within the Nature Trust’s 460 acre Jack and Darlene Stone Conservation Lands. Maleberry is a member of the blueberry family that can reach heights of 3.5 m (12 feet) and does not produce edible fruit. It is otherwise found in southern Maine and southward through the eastern United States.
The AC CDC botanists also discovered a population of Water Pennywort (Hydrocotyle umbellata), listed as Threatened under Canada’s Species at Risk Act, that represents only the third site in all of Canada. In addition, the botanists documented previously unknown populations of the provincially Endangered Eastern White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis), and Spotted Pondweed (Potamogeton pulcher), a species currently under evaluation as a potential provincially Endangered species.
Maleberry and Water Pennywort are among Nova Scotia’s suite of over 90 “Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora”, a group that includes 36 species found nowhere else in Canada, 11 of which are on Canada’s national species at risk list. The special environments of southern Nova Scotia that support Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora are considered one of Canada’s highest conservation priorities.
According to Nature Trust Conservation Project Coordinator, Cristi Frittaion, “The Nature Trust’s Jack and Darlene Stone Conservation Lands was already considered to be one of the highest priority conservation sites for rare plants in the province, a site of national conservation significance. We were so pleased last year to protect it, forever.” She added, “Finding even more species-at-risk on this site is exciting news for conservation in Canada and highlights the importance of setting aside such unique natural areas.”
The property encompasses shoreline on four lakes, extensive Acadian forests, and several wetlands, supporting some of the best remaining habitat for rare Atlantic Coastal Plain plants in the country. The property was identified as priority for protection because it provides one of the largest remaining refuges for the federally Endangered Pink Coreopsis (Coreopsis rosea), and Plymouth Gentian (Sabatia kennedyana) – listed federally as Threatened and provincially as Endangered, as well as extensive additional habitat suited to other Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora species.
The Jack and Darlene Stone Conservation Lands are part of a network of 45 conservation lands, encompassing over 6000 acres of unique natural landscapes, habitats and species, protected by the Nature Trust as a legacy for future generations.