Heathers

On our walk around Paradise Meadows this week both species of heather commonly found in the sub-alpine were in full bloom. Fairly easy to identify, you can impress fellow hikers with your ability to separate the two plants. Pink mountain-heather has flowers that are … pink. White mountain-heather has flowers that are … white. There you have it. Once you’ve …

Vari-leaved Collomia

Small, sort of weedy-looking, growing at the edge of a gravel path. This is the sort of plant that doesn’t get much notice and at first glance would probably be dismissed as an introduced weed. It turned out to be vari-leaved collomia (Collomia heterophylla), a plant native to British Columbia (the range map in eFlora shows it mostly in the …

Seaside Fiddleneck

With the Vancouver Island Music Fest in full swing here in the Comox Valley it is fairly easy to find fiddlers. More challenging is finding a small flower called the seaside fiddleneck (Amsinckia spectabilis). In British Columbia, eFlora shows scattered collection records of this plant on the east side of Vancouver Island as far north as Tree Island and Texada. …

Large-flowered Collomia

Jocie and I took a morning earlier this week to revisit the Trent River estuary with the idea of looking for unusual plants that sometimes turn up at the mouths of rivers. It wasn’t a promising day and, while it wasn’t raining on the way out through the tall grass and fields of entire-leaved gumweed (Grindelia integrifolia), the dark clouds …

Harewood Plains

While Harewood Plains is the location on Vancouver Island to see the rare red-listed bog birds-foot trefoil, the meadows are home to many other gorgeous flowers as well. Sea Blush (Plectritis congesta) and Yellow Monkey-flower (Mimulus guttatus) dominate the wet meadows of Harewood Plains in late May and early June. In late May/early June the common camas (Camassia quamash) is …

The Not So Red Common Red Paintbrush

One of the plants that seems to be common in the Courtenay River estuary is the common red paintbrush (Castilleja miniata). What interested me about the plants that were growing along the edges of the slough and wetter areas was the variety of colour represented. Colours ranged from deep red through to a pale yellow. The classic Common Red Paintbrush …

Nanaimo’s Rare Bog Birds-foot Trefoil

Speechless—that’s how I felt after spending a full day photographing flowers in Harewood Plains in Nanaimo. Not only is the flower display in the meadows absolutely stunning, it is also one of only five locations on Vancouver Island where you can find bog birds-foot trefoil (Lotus pinnatus). A detail of the flowers of Bog Birds-foot Trefoil (Lotus pinnatus) showing the …

The Secret Side of the Courtenay River Estuary

When I do the regular Aipark Lagoon loop with the kids, I’ve often wondered about the far side of the Courtenay River which can be seen from this popular and well used walkway. The opposite bank has a wild and abandoned look, which is anchored by the empty Field Sawmill site. There’s no obvious access point, so there doesn’t seem …

Deltoid Balsamroot

If you live near Campbell River on Vancouver Island you don’t have to take a ferry over to the mainland and drive all the way to the Okanagan to see some gorgeous wild sunflowers. In fact, the deltoid balsamroot (Balsamorhiza deltoidea) that grows on Tyee Spit is much rarer than its cousin the arrowleaf balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata) that covers the …

Wildflowers on the Canyon View Trail

This is the time of year on Vancouver Island to get down to local riverside trails and check out the spring wildflower bloom. One of my favourite places to walk is the the Canyon View Trail in Campbell River. We usually start this moderate 6 km loop trail at the John Hart Generation Station and then walk downstream along the …