What is this North of 7 vegetation?

Round bush closeup

Okay, people: tell me about this peculiar round bush. What is it?

There a distinct feature of the landscape around Queensborough and many other parts of this North-of-7 country that puzzled me when I was a little kid growing up here, and still puzzles me to this day.

It is the round, flattish bushes that one sees growing up in places where the soil is thin and the Canadian Shield rock underneath generally quite visible. Sometimes you see whole big areas where dozens of the bushes are growing:

Hillside of round bushes

As far as I know you do not see these bushes in areas to the south, where the soil is deep and rich.

So here is my question: what are they?

14 thoughts on “What is this North of 7 vegetation?

    • I see by your dad’s followup comment that you are bang-on, Sarah. Good work, and – who knew? I had no idea we had juniper in our neck of the woods. I always associated juniper with the plant (tree?) from which come the berries that gin is made with. Somehow I suspect our juniper bushes are not so exotic. But Wikipedia says that there are between 50 and 67 species of juniper, so that probably explains everything!

  1. I thought of juniper, too, as soon as I saw it. Here in Muskoka, I’ve only seen them as ornamental bushes in gardens. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them growing wild like that before. But then, we don’t get the wide open spaces here like you have, so maybe I just haven’t noticed them.

  2. Juniperus communis (common juniper) is found in the entire circumpolar northern hemisphere. Its blue “berries” (cones) are important food for wildlife, and are also used to flavour gin or in cooking game. So start up your still and develop some Queensborough hooch!

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