A BWCA Glossary


Raceme
An inflorescence (flower structure) in which a main stem produces a series of flowers on lateral stalks, the oldest at the base and the youngest at the top.
Rachis
The central prolongation of the stalk (peduncle), the axis through a flower structure, or of a leaf stalk (petiole), the axis through a compound leaf.
Raccoon
A nocturnal and opportunistic omnivore with a strong attraction to water. The Raccoon (Procyon lotor) ranges north to Hudson Bay but may be more commonly seen at suburban water gardens and garbage cans. A word borrowed from the Powhatan dialect of Eastern Algonquian.
Ragwort
Any of several perennial herbs of the genus Senecio. Represented in the North Country by the Balsam or Northern Ragwort (Senecio pauperculus).
Rainy Lobe
A tongue of the great Ontario ice sheet which advanced into northeastern and north central Minnesota, beginning about 22,000 years ago.
Ramet
An individual member of a clone. From the Latin, ramus, "branch." Most trees in a grove of Aspen (Populus tremuloides) are more likely to be ramets than true individuals.
Range
In land survey terms, the area between range lines, which are north/south lines parallel to and at 6 mile intervals from, a principal meridian. Range Line Lake in the BWCAW is so named because it is located on one of these survey lines. A range is subdivided north/south at 6 mile intervals forming 6 mile square townships.

Go to "A" Entries Go to "B" Entries
Go to "C" Entries Go to "D" Entries
Go to "E" Entries Go to "F" Entries
Go to "G" Entries Go to "H" Entries
Go to "I" Entries Go to "J" Entries
Go to "K" Entries Go to "L" Entries
Go to "M" Entries Go to "N" Entries
Go to "O" Entries Go to "P" Entries
Go to "Q" Entries Go to "R" Entries
Go to "S" Entries Go to "T" Entries
Go to "U" Entries Go to "V" Entries
Go to "W" Entries Go to "X" Entries
Go to "Y" Entries Go to "Z" Entries
Raptor
Any of the birds of prey. Represented in the North Country by Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), Harrier (Circus cyaneus), 3 falcons, 4 hawks, and 8 species of owl. From the Latin, rapere, "rape." It's not about sex, it's about violence.
Rare
To birders and ornithologists, a bird species which occurs so infrequently in a given locale that it might be seen no more than five times over the course of a season by an active observer. Somewhat more commonly occurring species are termed Uncommon; less common Casual. In northeastern Minnesota, the Three Toed Woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus) is considered a casual summer visitor and resident. The closely related Black Backed Woodpecker (Picoides arcticus) is considered rare.
Rayflower
The colorful ray flowers (the "petals") surround the round, button-like center of composite (Aster/Daisy family) flowers (the disk), typically composed of many tiny tubular flowers. The flowers of the ubiquitous Large Leaf Aster (Aster macrophyllus) and its cousins are a common late summer and fall example in the North Country.
Rebound
Depressed under the weight of the glaciers, the surface of the earth in the North Country is slowly, very slowly bouncing back. Since the recession of the glaciers, the earth's crust in northeastern Minnesota has rebounded some 330', a rise which continues today.
Red Osier
Another name for the Red Twig Dogwood (Cornus sericea) a common Northwoods shrub.
Red Shift
A phenomenon sometimes noted on the McKenzie maps of Canoe Country where the portage and campsite indicators, printed as a red overlay to the base topographic map, are misaligned, leading to imprecise placement of those features.
Redpoll
Two species of small northern finches of the genus Carduelis. The Common Redpoll (Carduelis flammea) is a winter visitor to the BWCA from farther north; the Hoary Redpoll (Carduelis hornemanni) a rarer visitor from yet farther north.
Reindeer Lichen
Any of several species of lichen of the genus Cladonia. Named for its status as preferred food of the Caribou.
Remote Area Border Crossing Permit
RABC permits are issued by the Canadian government, allowing visitors to cross the Canadian border in certain remote areas, without going through customs. RABC permits are valid for the area from Pigeon River west to and including Lake of the Woods, as well as the Canadian shore of Lake Superior. This includes the entire length of the international border within the BWCA.
Reptile
Any of the cold blooded, largely dry land chordates of the class Reptilia. The cool wetlands of the BWCA are not particularly hospitable to reptiles, whose presence is marked by three species of turtle (only one at all common), three small snakes, and no lizards (or crocs or gators, for that matter).
Resin
A plant secretion, often aromatic, that is insoluble in water but soluble in ether or alcohol. A classic North Country example is the serotinous cones of the Jack Pine (Pinus banksiana) which are sealed tightly closed by the resin until softened by fire, at which point the cones open and the seeds are released.
Rhizome
A specialized plant stem. A subterranean horizontal root-like stem sending out leaves and shoots from its upper surface and roots from its lower surface. From the Greek, rhiza (rhiza), "root."
Riparian
Of, or pertaining to, rivers and their banks.
Riparian Habitat
Natural home for plants and animals occuring in a thin strip of land bordering a stream or river. Dominant vegetation often consists of phreatophytes.
Rocker
In canoe design, the curve of the keel line from bow to stern. A straight keel line has no rocker, tracking well but lacking maneuverability. A heavy rocker is exceptionally maneuverable but will not track well. Moderately rockered canoes are usually straight with a rise toward the ends. Most general recreation canoes have a moderate rocker.
Rod
An otherwise archaic unit of English measure used in specifying the length of portages. A rod equals 16½ feet, with 320 rods to the mile.
Root Crown
The location on a plant where roots join the stem.
Root Sprout
A shoot or stem arising from the root of a mother plant.
Rosendahl Spruce
Rare, naturally occurring hybrids (Picea x rosendahlii) of White (Picea glauca) and Black Spruce (Picea mariana). Known from northeastern Minnesota and other areas.
Rosette
Arrayed. A group of organs, such as leaves, clustered and crowned around a common point of attachment. From the French, the diminutive of rose.
Rotator Cuff
A tendon formed by three distinct muscles which stabilise the head of the humerus within the shoulder joint. Tendonitis or injury to the rotator cuff muscle can make lifting the arm out to the side and external rotation painful. In most cases treatment includes rest, ice, and physical therapy to strengthen the shoulder muscles. Hard, extended J-stroke paddling can injure the rotator cuff. Been there; done that. Don't forget to switch sides and take breaks.
Rotifer
A multi-celled animal plankton which has a food ingestion tube with an area of strong cilia whose motion gives the appearance of a rapidly revolving wheel. From the Latin, rotatus, "wheel".
Round Bottom
In canoe design, a shape with great secondary stability but very little initial stability. Usually found in fast, specialized boats designed for speed and efficiency.
Rove Formation
Older Precambrian slate running from Gunflint Lake east to Superior (our BWCA Region V) with later intrusions of Keweenawan diabase. These intrusives, more resistant to erosion and glaciation than the surrounding slate, delineate the long and narrow lakes which are the hallmark of this region.
Royalex®
A synthetic laminate material from Uniroyal, composed of ABS, ABS foam, and crosslinked vinyl layered in sheets which are heated and vaccuum formed into canoe hulls. Very durable; moderate in weight. A variant known as Oltonar is used in Old Town canoes. Royalex canoes are popular for youth groups, their durability providing a measure of reassurance with inexperienced paddlers in a rocky environment, and their extra weight helping to burn up excess youthful energy.
Rush
1) Any of a large number of reed-like aquatic and semi-aquatic perennial herbs of the genus Juncus, such as the Common Rush (Juncus effusus). 2) Lakes which take their name from this common plant (Rush, Rush, Little Rush).
Rust
A type of club fungus (Basidiomycetes) that is a parasite on plants. A devastating rust of the North Country is the White Pine Blister Rust. It never sleeps.
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Last Updated on 11 April, 2004