During field research this summer, the Museum’s Curator of Botany, Dr. Diana Robson, discovered new populations of American Bugseed (Corispermum americanum) near Pratt and Sidney, and new populations of Hairy Bugseed (C. villosum) at Grand Beach and Wanasing Beach. She was also able to relocate six populations that had been documented many decades ago, including a 1929 record from Birds Hill Provincial Park.
At another six localities the plants were nowhere to be found, due to the stabilization of the sand hills and encroachment by exotic species. She has been unable to relocate any Pallas Bugseed (C. pallasii) plants,which suggests that this species may be extirpated from the province.
The rarest plant she discovered was Hooker’s Bugseed (C. hookeri), a newly recognized species that she has only found on bare, windswept dunes in Spruce Woods Provincial Park. Unlike American Bugseed, Hooker’s Bugseed doesn’t seem to be able to thrive in the same disturbed sandy habitats that the former species can grow in. Historically, Hooker’s Bugseed has only been found in 35 locations in the whole world and appears to be endemic to Canada. Whether it can still be found in the other locations in Canada is unknown.
Dr. Robson hopes to continue her research documenting the distribution and habitat of these species next summer with trips to the west side of Lake Winnipeg, the Lauder and St. Lazare Sand Hills.