A BWCA Glossary


Abdomen
The third and hindmost of the major divisions of the insect body; consists normally of nine or ten apparent segments; bears no functional legs in the adult stage, but may bear prolegs or false legs in the larval stage.
Abinodji
A lake. "Child" in the Ojibwe language of the region.
Abiotic Pathogen
A nonliving, disease-causing entity, including such things as cold, snow, fire, wind, sun, drought, nutrients, and human-caused injury, pollution, and acid precipitation.
Abita
A lake, on the southwest flank of Brule Mountain in the South Brule River drainage. "Half" in the Ojibwe language of the region.
Acarology
The scientific study of mites and ticks.
Accidental
To birders and ornithologists, a bird species which occurs so infrequently in a given locale that it might be seen up to three times during the lifetime of an active observer. Somewhat more commonly occurring species are termed Casual. The American Dipper (Cinclus mexicanus) is considered an accidental visitor to the streams which run down to Superior along the North Shore.
Accipiter
Any of the agile, long tailed woodland hawks of the sub-family Accipitinae. Represented in the BWCA by two species, the resident Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) and the smaller, migratory Sharp Shinned Hawk (Acciptier striatus). The group is sometimes called Bird Hawks because of their preferred prey.

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Achene
A small dry hard fruit with the appearance of a seed. Does not separate. The fruits of the sedges which line North Country waterways are achenes.
Achundo
A lake. Perhaps from Ajunda, "here" in the Ottawa language.
Acid Rain
More properly Acid Precipitation, the acidity in rain and snow due to reaction with atmospheric gases from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gasoline.
Acidity
Characterized by a low pH (under 7). A common characteristic of northern soils and waters. The opposite of basic.
Acidophile
A plant adapted to growing in an acid environment, such as northern bogs.
Adipose Fin
In the fishes, a fleshy fin, without supporting rays. Typically behind the dorsal fin.
Aecial Stage (æcium)
A spore stage of the rust fungi, characterized by a cuplike structure bearing æciospores.
Aerobic
Pertaining to the presence of free oxygen.
Agamok
A lake. Derivation of name unknown.
Agassa
A lake. "It is small (or narrow)" in the Ojibwe language of the region.
Agawato
A lake. Probably from Agâwate, "shadow" in the Ojibwe.
Agassiz
The sixth Great Lake, once covering some 200,000 square miles in what are now two Canadian provinces and two states, extending east nearly to Ely in our area. Shallow and short lived, it originally drained south by way of the early Minnesota River to the Mississippi until the retreating ice opened up the northern outlets which would in time drain the lake.
Ahgoday
A lake. Probably from Agôde, "it hangs" in the Ojibwe.
Ahmakose
A lake. Probably from Amikosow, "beaver's tail" in the Ojibwe.
Ahsub
A lake. Derivation of name unknown.
Alder
Any of several species of large rough shrubs belonging to the genus Alnus. Two of the most common of North Woods shrubs are Green Alder (Alnus crispa) and Speckled Alder (Alnus incana). From the Old English alor,aler. Wadôp in the Ojibwe.
Algoman Orogeny
A period of intensive mountain building which closed the Pre-Cambrian in the North Country. Following upon the relative calm of the Knife Lake Period, the Algoman was marked by folding of the earth's crust, the rise of the Saganaga and other batholiths, and enough heat and pressure to metamorphize existing rock.
Alkaline
A highly basic, as opposed to acidic, subtance. For example, hydroxide or carbonate of sodium or potassium.
Allochthonous
In geology, something formed elsewhere than its present location. Opposite of autochthonous.
Alpha
1. First letter of the Greek alphabet
2. In wolf packs, the designation given to the dominant male and female individuals. Also referred to as the Alpha Male and Alpha Female.
3. A small lake in the North Brule drainage (X)
Alternate
A type of leaf arrangement in which only a single leaf is attached at each node, so that leaves are not opposite one another on the stem. The alders (Alnus spp.) are a common Northwoods example among many. May also be applied to other plant structures which are attached one per node.
Alternate Host
One of two taxonomically different hosts required by a heteroecious rust fungus to complete its cycle; also applies to some insects. The alternate host of the White Pine Blister Rust is currents and gooseberries of the genus Ribes.
Aluminum
An element (Al) and metal of great utility. Once the material of choice for building canoes. Will puncture, bend in rapids, and makes a god-awful noise when dropped on rocks. Leaves its distinctive silvery mark on rocks in shallow water.
Alluvial
Relating to materials deposited by flood.
Ament
A flower structure composed of an often drooping, or pendulous, cluster of unisexual, petal-less flowers, typical of wind pollinated trees and shrubs, such as willows (Salix spp.) and birches (Betula spp.). Also known as catkin.
Amimi
A lake. Derivation of name unknown.
Ammocoete
The larval young of the lamprey--a blind, wormlike filter feeder that burrows in silt, often for years, before metamorphosing into an adult.
Amphibian
Any of the cold blooded, moist skinned members of the class Amphibia. Represented in the BWCA by six species of salamander, seven frogs, and one toad.
Anærobic
The absence of free oxygen. Anærobic Peat is so saturated with water as to have no oxygen, severely limiting the type and amount of decomposition which can take place.
Anal Fin
On fishes, the rearmost fin on the underside of the body, on the center line just ahead of the tail fin.
Andek
A lake. "Crow" in the Ojibwe language of the region.
Anemone
Any of several species of spring flowering herbaceous perennials of the genus Anemone. Two common North Woods anemones are Canada Anemone (Anemone canadense) and Wood Anemone (Anemone quinquefolia)
Angiosperm
A flowering plant. The term refers to the fact that the seeds are enclosed within an ovary which matures into a fruit. The complement of gymnosperm.
Angleworm Trail
A rugged, 14 mile hiking trail, extending northeast from the Echo Trail (BWCAW Entry Point 21) to Angleworm Lake in the BWCAW. Reservations are required for overnight use in summer. Can be done in a single day, but take 2 or 3 and enjoy it.
Animikean Period
A billion years in the geological history of the North Country (2.6 to 1.6 billion years ago) during the Middle Cambrian. Also known as Huronian.
Anion
An ion with a negative electrical charge. That is, an atom that has gained one or more electrons.
Anishinabe
The Ojibwe word for themselves. Also known as Chippewa.
Anit
A lake. "Spear" in the Ojibwe language of the region.
Annual
A plant which completes its entire life cycle in a single growing season. Relatively uncommon in the North Woods due to the shorter growing season.
Anther
A male flower part. The enlarged part of the stamen which holds the pollen.
Antheridia
In the reproductive cycle of ferns, the male organ which forms on the underside of the Prothallium and produces spermatazoids (or antherozoids) which will swim via a droplet of water to the egg produced by the female organ, the Archegonium. The fertilized egg then produces the plant that we think of as a fern.
Anticline
A fold of rock layers that is convex upward, or that had such an attitude at some stage of its development. Opposite of Syncline.
Apical
Relating to or located at the tip (an apex). Typically used in describing the location of plant parts in relation to the stem, as in apical bud.
Apothecia
The cup-like reproductive structures of lichens, found on the upper side of the thallus.
Arachnology
The scientific study of spiders and related species, including the mites and ticks.
Archegonium
In the reproductive cycle of ferns, the female organ which forms on the underside of the Prothallium and produces the egg which is fertilized by spermatazoides from the Antheridia or male organ. The fertilized egg then produces the plant we think of as a fern.
Arctic Ocean
The ultimate destination of most of the waters draining from the BWCA.
Arrowhead
1) Any of several species of emergent herb of shallow waters and waters edge belonging to the genus Sagittaria. Generally with pronounced arrowhead shaped leaves. 2) The general name given extreme northeastern Minnesota with its acute triangular shape formed by the North Shore and the international border.
Arrowhead Trail
Cook County Road 16, which rises from the North Shore of Lake Superior just north of Hovland, north to trail's end on McFarland Lake, at the extreme eastern end of the BWCAW.
Arthropod
Invertebrate animals of the phylum Arthropoda, characterized by segmented bodies, exoskeletons in lieu of backbones, and jointed legs. Includes the insects, spiders, ticks, and crustaceans.
Arum
Any members of the family Araceae, including the Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum), Wild Calla (Calla palustris), and Sweet Flag (Acorus calmus) of the North Country. From the Greek, aron, the name for the European Arum or Cuckoo Pint (Arum italicum)
Ashigan
A lake. The Ojibwe name for Small Mouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieui) which is known in French speaking Canada as Achigan à petite bouche.
Aspen
A type of poplar tree in the willow family. In the North Woods represented by two species, Populus grandidentata, Big Tooth Aspen, and Populus tremuloides, Quaking Aspen. Asâdi or manasadi in the Ojibwe (probably Quaking and Big Tooth respectively).
Assawan
A lake. The Ojibwe term for an arrow with an iron head.
Aster
Any of a large number of daisy like flowering herbs of the genus Aster. Usually white or blue to purple in flower color and blooming late in the season. Represented by a number of species in the North Country, including the ubiquitous Large Leaf Aster (Aster macrophyllus) of the forest floor.
Aurora Borealis
The Northern Lights, an atmospheric phenomenon occuring when particles from the sun are thrown against the earth by the solar wind. The particles collide with the Earth's atmosphere and the energy of the particles is turned into light.
Autochthonous
In geology, something formed in its present location. Antonym of allochthonous.
Autoecious
Completing entire life cycle on one host; especially applied to the rust fungi.
Automba Phase
A late glacial period where ice advancing from the ice sheet occupying the Superior basin climbed the highlands of the North Shore, eventually depositing the Highland Moraine. To flow up and over the Superior highlands the ice would have had to have been 2500' to 3000' thick.
Awn
The pointed, needle like extension on some plant seeds, especially grasses.
Axil
That part of a plant where the leaf attaches to the stem. Flowers and other plant characteristics are often described as Axillary in that they arise from the axil. Also known as the Leaf Axil.
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Last Updated on 11 April, 2004