Sketches of the Restigouche

Courtesy The Tribune

        The Restigouche-With Notes Especially On Its Flora
Part Six
By G. U. Hay, 1896

        In the Drosera the tentacles which are found upon the upper surface of the leaves in such abundance aid in capturing the insects. In Pinguicula the upturned edge of the leaf performs that office. If the insect attempts to crawl over this margin the edge curves over still further, imprisoning the insect and pushing it toward the middle to bring it in contact with as many glands as possible. After absorption is accomplished, which usually occupies from twenty to thirty hours, the leaf expands again exposing the bleached remains of the insect, and setting a fresh trap for others. The leaves of Pinguicula are greasy to the touch, hence its name from Pinguis, fat. Its common name, Butterwort, is for the same reason.

        A short distance below the Chain of Rocks we heard the sharp click of a mowing machine, a sign that we were approach the outer world again and beyond was a small settlement (Mann Settlement) with further incontestable evidence of civilization--a school house. A short distance below was Deeside, a settlement which contains a church. On Green Island, near Deeside, we found growing in great abundance the Blood-root (Sanguinaria Canadensis) and the Pappoose-root (Caulophyllum thalictroides) another St. John River plant. Here too we found the Black Cherry (Prunus serotina). Soon we came to the mouth of the Upsalquitch with a fine club house, belonging to the Upsalquitch Salmon Club, fronting on the main river, and a little father down a few yards below the mouth of the Upsalquitch is the fishing lodge of Dean Sage of Albany, the author of a finely illustrated book on the Restigouche.

        Opposite the mouth of the Upsalquitch is the settlement of Runnymede, on a rich alluvial meadow, the joint tribute of the Upsalquitch and the Restigouche.

        But the last bend in the river brought into view a more imposing sight--the Squaw Cap Mountain and about two miles north of it and a little on our left, Slate Mountain. These twin peaks, the highest land along the Restigouche, rise to the height each of two thousand feet, or fully one thousand feet higher than the Sugar Loaf at Campbellton.

        It was half past two o'clock that day when we began the ascent of the Squaw Cap, and we were back again at half past seven-total distance ten miles, and some of that was hard climbing, but it was worth it. For three miles our course lay along Squaw Cap Brook, a clear stream whose ice-cold waters were very grateful. Mr. Jas. Harris, whose farm is about a mile in from the Upsalquitch, was our guide. He showed us a part of his farm where the grass fields were completely covered by a weed whose presence has not been before noted in this province, a Hawkweed (Hieracium praealtum) [Note: now usually called "King devil hawkweed"]

        It is an ill-favoured plant about a foot high, hairy with yellow flowers in an open cyme, and a rosette of leaves that rest on the ground. So completely had these rosettes of leaves taken possession of the ground that every other form of vegetation was killed-even the grass. We had never seen a weed so completely master of the situation, and that is saying a great deal Mr. Harris is almost in despair at the advances of this pest which threatens to cover his entire farm.

        There was a wonderfully luxuriant flora along that wood road which led to the base of the Squaw Cap. The tall Joe Pye weed with its broad heads of ragged purple flowers towered above us fully eight to ten feet high; the Meadow-rue (Thalictrum polygamum) with its rich white and green flowers looked more delicately beautiful in this dense vegetation than ever before. Pyrolas covered the ground everywhere in those mossy woods with their racemes of nodding white or rose coloured flowers. Orchids of brilliant hues grew so luxuriantly in those woods that we could imagine ourselves in tropical forests. But what is that orchid with the deep green leaves reticulated with white, and bearing a raceme of delicate brownish flowers? It was quickly gathered and consigned to the tin box, and proves to be an orchid new to the Province-Goodyera Mensiezii, making three of this beautiful genus found in New Brunswick.

        We also found here Goodyera pubescens in its second station in the Province. Our last half mile up the Squaw Cap was a most toilsome one, but our spirits were gladdened and refreshed by the clusters of rare ferns that grew in ringlets round this Cap-Aspidium fragrans, Phegopteris calcarea, Woodsi glabella, Woodsia hyperborean, all rare in this province and known only at one or two stations. These with other rare plants met with on the Restigouche I brought home and planted, and hope that next season I may have something better than these dried specimens to show you.

        To be continued.....

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