Take this first image, photographed from the bridge just east of C-K Road 15 along Kent Line.
Eventually when all the flowers have been in flower, the 'tail' will be almost straight up, but at this stage, it is quite attractive with its drooping nature. Although it is widely scattered across southern Ontario and can be abundant in areas where it does occur, it is listed as S3, which means provincially it is Vulnerable with between 21-80 known occurrences.
A bonus of stopping at this location is that just a few hundred metres away, along the road and a smaller branch of this waterway is another rarity and a member of the Legume family also in flower: Wild Senna (Senna hebecarpa). It is sometimes known as Cassia hebecarpa.
Wild Senna is Critically Imperilled in Ontario, being officially ranked as S1, meaning 5 or fewer occurrences in the province. It is found on both sides of the road at this location, and therefore is in both Lambton and Chatham-Kent, although the majority of it here is in C-K. It also occurs in Essex. In spite of Wild Senna's extreme rarity, it has not yet been officially evaluated and placed on either federal or provincial legislated lists of Species At Risk.
Another rarity quite noticeable at this time of year is a member of the Composite Family: Wingstem (Verbesina alternifolia). It was formerly known as Actinomeris alternifolia.
Its Ontario range is limited to Essex, Chatham-Kent, Lambton and Elgin, and is officially S3 (Vulnerable). Although technically Vulnerable, it has not yet been evaluated and added to either federal or provincial legislated lists. The 'wings' along the main stem and rounded central disk, are notable identifying characteristics. It grows along various floodplain woodland settings and sometimes at the damp edges of woodlands. This small stand of a dozen or so plants is one I came across while checking out another Lizard's-tail population along the Sydenham River.
Yet another rarity that grows along floodplain woods, as well as damp rich forests, is Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis). It isn't in flower now, as it only flowers for a very brief period typically in very late April or early May. The flowers are in their best condition just as the leaves are unfolding, as noted in the middle photo. The bottom photo shows the small red fruits that are present in mid-summer.
Its rarity is due to declining habitat as well as its popularity for medicinal purposes. Due to its legislated status both federally and provincially, I will not be divulging any locations for it.
When exploring these meandering waterways, one can always be on the lookout for other rarities. Here is a Blanding's Turtle, enjoying some mid-August sun. Blanding's Turtles are also Threatened under both federal and provincial legislation.