Spring is definitely here on Vancouver Island. Forget about the crocuses and snow drops and all of those other flower bed plants, the true signs that winter is moving on are the return of the Pacific Herring and the small yellow bloom of Gold Star (Crocidium multicaule). While it is hard not to notice the herring spawn, the diminutive Gold Star is very easy to miss.
There are not very many places to find this plant in the Comox Valley. Two areas that are reliably good are the narrow stretch of dunes between the road and the shore at Point Holmes and the sandy/grassy area at Kin Beach Park. It is somewhat restricted to these exposed sandy places on the coast and if you aren’t looking for it, it is likely that you will miss it.
Such was the case today. I had gone out to Point Holmes to see if I could find any herring, but when I got there I thought it would be worthwhile looking for Gold Star. Sure enough, I was able to find several plants in flower and then noticed many more. Gold Star performs best on sunny days and the wind and overcast skies made for challenging plant photography.
After poking around in the strand line and watching the gulls, I moved on to Kin Beach Park. Gold Star was in bloom here as well and the flowers were open more fully and somewhat sheltered from the wind.
These are quite small flowers, and if you are not actively looking for them chances are you will not see them. Take a close look at the flower and see if you can see both the ray flowers and the central disk flowers. You may have to get down on your knees to do so.
The Gold Star is Yellow Listed in British Columbia and the primary threat is habitat loss. It likes to grow in open places close to the ocean. Unfortunately, people like to build close to the water as well. Take a drive out to Point Holmes or Kin Beach and search for this gorgeous spring flower. Just be careful to minimize your impact as you move through its sensitive habitat.
Use the Google Map below to find the Gold Star in the Comox Valley.