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Wildflowers at Risk.

In Nova Scotia we have a system of rating the rarity,or otherwise,of flowers using a colour coding system.
RED; Is when a wildflower is known,or thought to be at risk of becoming extinct.
YELLOW; Flowers with a rating of "yellow" are sensitive to human activity or natural events.
GREEN; Flowers that fall in to the category of "green" are thought not to be at risk.
BLUE; Unfortunately if  a flower gains the status of "blue" it means that the flower is no longer in Nova Scotia or it is extinct in the wild.
There are also four other categories that plants can be grouped in to;
UNDETERMINED; Flowers fall in to this category when there is insufficient information to assess the risk.
NOT ASSESSED; Where a plant is believed to be in the province but has not,as yet, been assessed.
EXOTIC; Classified as exotic when the plant has been introduced as a result of human activity.
ACCIDENTAL; Classified as such when a plant appears growing in the province that is out of it's normal climatic area.

Ram's Head Lady's Slipper,Cypripedium arietinum.

Ram's Head Lady's Slipper,Cypripedium arietinum.

You may think that many of our orchids would fall in to the "red" or "yellow" category. In fact of the 39 species only four are listed as being "red" with a further six being "yellow". The remaining number are classified as being "green" or "undetermined". One of the rarest,if not the rarest is pictured on either side of this text. The Ram's Head Lady's Slipper,or to give it it's correct name, Cypripedium arietinum.

Blue Cohosh,Caulophyllum thalictroides.

Blue Cohosh fruit,Caulophyllum thalictroides.

It is not only some orchids that are having a difficult time in surviving. There are more than 160 "red" species in Nova Scotia that are in difficulties. Some of them are lesser known and to some eyes cetainly not as pretty or appealing as "The Ram's Head" (pictured at top).
Pictured above is the Blue Cohosh,Caulophyllum thalictroides which is also listed as a "red" species. The flower is not especially appealing but the fruit is a wonderful shade of blue, and even if it wasn't, it deserves nothing less than our protection.
It falls on all of us to protect all of these special plants so that they may be enjoyed by future generations.

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