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Flowers are a sign of spring after a long, cold winter. They are a food source for many animals, including birds, insects and even humans. They are important for plant reproduction and they attract pollinators like bees and butterflies. They can also provide natural medicines for humans and some animals. And generally, they make Calgary an even more beautiful place to live.

Calgary has many different native (naturally present in our local environment) species of flowers in our parks and backyards. It is important we take care of our Alberta native species because they provide many benefits and are often a major food source for wildlife. Always be sure to stay on designated trails in our parks and pathways, and please do not pick or step on flowers and plants. Respect Alberta’s plant species to keep our ecosystems healthy.

Be a plant expert

Plant expert dictionary

​​Adaptation - A change in the structure or function of an organism that helps it to better survive in its environment; a change in a plant or animal that makes it better able to live in a particular place or situation.

Flower – Part of the plant from which seeds develop. Often brightly coloured.

Fruit - The part of a plant that contains the seeds.

Germination – The process by which a plant begins to grow from a seed.

Pollination - The process in which pollen is transferred from one plant to another to produce seeds.

Seed - A flowering plant’s unit of reproduction; a small object produced by a plant that can grow into a new plant.

How seeds travel

Plants adapt to help spread their seeds through the environment and ensure that they germinate to produce new plants.

How Alberta seeds spread:

  • Wind-blown - wind picks up light seeds and carries them away (native Calgary plants that do this include Goatsbeard, Manitoba Maple, Green Ash)
  • Floating - water moves seeds and helps them germinate (native Calgary plants that do this include Cattail, Balsam Poplar, River Birch)
  • Tummy traveling - animals eat fruit and their droppings provide nutrients to the seeds (native Calgary plants that do this include Mountain Ash, Wild Rose, Saskatoon)
  • Hitchhiker - sticky or barbed seeds stick to humans and animal fur (native Calgary plants that do this include Hounds-tongue, Wild Licorice, Needle-and-thread Grass)
  • Exploding - seeds quickly pop or burst away from their parent plant (native Calgary plants that do this include Sticky Purple Geranium, Caragana, Sweet Pea)

What seeds need to grow

  • Soil
  • Water
  • Sunlight
  • Air
  • Space

How to start a garden


  • Seeds (any kind you can find)
  • Jar of water


Step one

Put each seed in a jar of water and see which one sprouts first.

Step two

Once they sprout, plant the seeds in soil and grow them in your backyard or garden! Remember a plant's needs: soil, water, sunlight, air and space.

Did you know?

Perennial plants act as great filters and sponges for rainwater runoff. This means you don't have to water them as much because they can survive on the rainfall throughout the seasons. They also reduce the amount of yardwork you need to do because they grow back every year.

Learn more about different kinds of plants for your garden.​​

Activities to help you learn about flowers and seeds