Bookshelf: Trees and Shrubs:

Canadian Wild Flowers
Reviewed by Helen MacPherson

Botanical Descriptions by C.P.Traill

Painted and Lithographed by Agnes Fitzgibbon

The book, Canadian Wild Flowers, may well ring a bell with people who are fans of Canadian author, Carol Shields as she mentions the book in her award winning novel The Stone Diaries.

Canadian Wild Flowers from the Coles, Canadiana Collection, originally published in 1868, was obviously both a labour of love and a feat of collaboration, by the artist, the author and the small fledgling printing and publishing company run by John Lovell of St. Nicholas St. in Montreal. At that time few people were interested in or sought to study the many and varied native plants, trees, and shrubs that grew in the vast expanses of land that was called Canada.

This study of the Wild Flowers of Canada sought to make people aware of and appreciate the beauty and abundance that flourished around them before it was destroyed by the ever increasing desire to develop the land. The archaic language(by today’s standards) used in the botanical descriptions, the wonderful lithographs, and the poetry throughout give the Fitzgibbon and Traill book a unique charm not found in more modern day scientific studies of native flora. Native species such as Castilleia Coccinea (Scarlet painted Cup), Orchis Spectablis (Showy Orchid), and Aquilegia Canadensis (Wild Columbine) are but a small sampling of the many plants included.

Canadian Wild Flowers takes us back in time and excites our imagination while at the same time educates us about our remarkable native plant heritage. Although the book may be difficult to find it is well worth the effort searching it out as it’s historically significant and a worthwhile addition to any plant lovers book collection.

Coles Canadiana Collection Coles Publishing Company Toronto, Canada Copyright 1972 The book is out of print.


Author : Coles Canadiana Collection
Publisher : Coles Publishing Company

  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row