The Bruce Peninsula is home to 44 species of orchids, of which 2 species are not native to the area (they are likely escapees from gardens). But the botanical richness of the Bruce extends well beyond orchids. An overall large diversity of wildflowers can be found on the Bruce, including globally rare species such as Lakeside Daisy and Dwarf Lake Iris. This area is also renowned for its diversity of ferns, totalling about 3 dozen species. In addition, old-growth cedars reaching hundreds of years in age grow on the cliff faces and alvars of the Bruce Peninsula. Despite their gnarly and stunted appearance, these are the oldest trees in eastern North America.
Several key factors together give rise to the botanical diversity of the Bruce Peninsula
- the large amount of habitat
- the variety of habitats
- a climate moderated by Lake Huron and Georgian Bay
- a range of soil conditions
- the temperate latitude means the Bruce is caught between the northern boreal forests and the southern hardwoods, and thus shares attributes of both