Northern Ontario Plant Database
Northern Ontario Vegetation Type (V-type)
Summary: A wet, lowland conifer stand dominated by black spruce. Balsam fir, tamarack, and cedar occur infrequently in the canopy. The tall shrub layer is composed of speckled alder, black spruce, and balsam fir regen. The low shrub layer is composed entirely of Labrador tea and blueberries.
The herb layer is richer than in other black spruce stand types. Dwarf shrubs, such as creeping snowberry, dwarf raspberry, and small cranberry, occur in the herb layer along with all of the characteristic boreal forest species, plus naked mitrewort, goldthread, and, in wetter areas, threeleaf smilacina, woodland horsetail, and three-fruited sedge. The presence of kidneyleaf violet and sweet coltsfoot indicate calcareous substrates or soils. The forest floor is covered by carpets of feathermoss and a great variety of other moss species on hummocks, while wet depressions support several peatmoss species.
Soil & Ecosite Types: The Black Spruce/Speckled Alder/Sphagnum Vegetation Type (NW-V35) occurs primarily on Ecosite Type ES 36 (Intermediate Swamp: Black Spruce (Tamarack), organic soil), and occasionally on types ES 12 (Black Spruce-Jack Pine, very shallow soil) and ES 22 (Spruce-Pine/Feathermoss, moist, sandy-coarse loamy soil). It may also be found along the margins of type ES 37 (Rich Swamp-Cedar (Other Conifer), organic soil). This vegetation type occurs primarily on wet organic soils (S12S, S12F, S11, SS9), but may also occur on very shallow soils (SS1, SS2) and moist mineral soils (S7, S8).
Note: The percentage of sample plots that contained overstorey tree species is given in square brackets after each scientific name. Other species are listed in order of frequency, according to the NW-FEC manual.
overstorey:Shrubs:black spruce (Picea mariana) regeneration:
tall shrubs:Dwarf Shrubs & Herbs:speckled alder (Alnus incana subsp. rugosa)low shrubs:
dwarf shrubs:Ferns & Fern Allies:creeping snowberry (Gaultheria hispidula)forbs:
horsetails:Bryophytes:woodland horsetail (Equisetum sylvaticum)
Schreber's feathermoss (Pleurozium schreberi)