In my quest to find the volunteer Pink Sand-verbenas at Florencia Bay in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve I spent a good deal of time walking along the line of driftwood looking at plants growing amongst the beach logs as well those that were growing out on the upper level of the beach itself.
One of the interesting plants that can be found in this part of the beach is Sea-watch (Angelica lucida). It has the classic look of a member of Apiaceae (the Carrot family) – a broad umbel of small flowers that are individually arranged into compact heads. In the case of Sea-watch, the flowers are yellowish/green in colour.
The leaves of this plant are hairless and have a somewhat leathery look to them. The leaflets are egg-shaped and irregularly toothed making it very distinctive in appearance. The overall look of Sea-watch is dramatic, the large umbels are displayed nicely against the texture of the leaves and stem leaf stalks have noticeable sheath at their bases.
Sea-watch, appropriately enough, can be found on the upper levels of moist beaches as well as on coastal bluffs, meadows, and stream edges. Look for it amongst the driftwood piled above the winter storm lines. It is a beautiful plant and well worth searching out.