30" x 39"
Buckshot Lake, Southern Ontario, Canada
At the end of the day I was about to stuff my camera into its pouch and paddle back across the lake when I noticed the brilliant color of bark on a grove of trees. Their bark was so bright that it reflected clearly, even in the dark water. The low angle of the sun had sneaked under the layers of pine branches and stuck the trunks.
The composition was completed by the striking echo of red-orange colors on the plants that grew out of the water. Each shoot displayed a bright red sheath at its base. They were probably rushes. I remembered the old mnemonic “Sedges have edges” and noted that these did not. Their stems were round. Probably the Canada Rush (Juncus canadensis).
And what trees have such bright orange bark? We paddled closer. The upper bark was flaky, the unmistakable signature of the Scots Pine. What we call the Scots Pine (or Scotch Pine) is the only pine native to northern Europe and eastern Asia because it is the only pine that survived the ice age in these areas. Small wonder that it was named the “Pine of the woods”, or Pinus sylvestris, by botanists. North Americans attribute it to Scotland because the early settlers brought them here from Scotland, the only place that they could be found on the British Isles. More than 300 years ago they were extirpated in Wales and England due to over-exploitation and grazing.
This grove is growing very well on Buckshot Lake in southern Ontario where they have escaped from cultivation and have become “naturalized”. The large pine to the right is a White Pine (Pinus strobus), which is native to Canada. The White Birches (Betula papyrifera), are fading out as the pines take over. Their time has passed in this slice of forest succession.