Wild Berries, Wildly Delicious!

Guest Post by Jocie Brooks On my daily morning stroll with the kids, something bright red and shiny caught my eye in the green shrubbery lining the trail. It was a perfect salmonberry, and I took a moment to savour its sweet, seedy ripeness. Now that summer is here there is a wealth of edible wild berries to enjoy. A …

Cedar Waxwings Along the Courtenay River

Flocks of Cedar Waxwings are feeding on the berries of Black Twinberry. Note the white undertail coverts that differentiate this bird from the Bohemian Waxwing. Over the last couple of days I’ve noticed Cedar Waxwings along the Courtenay River during my regular nature walks to the Courtenay Airpark with the kids. There seems to be several flocks working the Black …

Nature’s Ornaments

One of nature's many winter ornaments – Common Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) berries. Earlier this week while at Buttertubs Marsh in Nanaimo I was captivated by festive colours of the berries of the Common Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna). It got me thinking about how in the dead of winter here on the West Coast, Nature does her own good job of dressing …

A Pseudo Mushroom?

Back in early November we took a family hike around the Karst Creek Trail in Strathcona Provincial Park. At the end of the trail we found a number of dried up, old “mushrooms.” At least that’s what we thought they were initially. However, a little detective work solved the mystery quite quickly. Before I tell you what we actually found …

Celebrate the “Holly” – days

English Holly (Ilex aquifolium) – berries and evergreen leaves make for a striking holiday display. As we creep ever closer to Christmas it’s appropriate to think a little about the plants that are part of seasonal celebrations. One of those is English Holly (Ilex aquifolium), a striking shrub with glossy, spiked evergreen leaves and beautiful red berries. A non-native, ornamental …

Bramble Ramble

Five-leaved Bramble (Rubus pedatus) On a guided photography hike today I found myself (the leader) at the back of the pack, probably because I was walking slowly and admiring the fall colours and keeping an eye out for the small and interesting. Five-leaved bramble (Rubus pedatus) is one such plant. A member of the Rubus, or raspberry clan, this small …

Crowberry

Crowberry | Empetrum nigrum At this time of year the berries in the sub-alpine are prolific. Crowberry (Empetrum nigrum) is one that is often overlooked or assumed by many non-botanists to be a blueberry. It is a low-creeping plant with needle-like leaves that somewhat resembles heather and produces berries that are a dark blackish/blue in colour. A quick consultation of …