West Mabou Beach Dunes

West Mabou Beach, on the west side of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, has a gorgeous sandy beach and striking dunes. A real highlight on our east coast trip, the stunning beach, great swimming and some good birding,made West Mabou Beach Provincial Park an excellent nature viewing destination. Not to be overlooked, however, was the fascinating botany of coastal dune ecosystems. …

Morton Lake Provincial Park

On these hot summer days, Morton Lake Provincial Park just north of Campbell River on Vancouver Island is an ideal swimming destination. It’s a bit of an adventure getting there, but the 14 km drive on logging roads is well worth it. The sandy beach and shallow water make Morton Lake Provincial Park an excellent swimming destination. We made  family …

Wildflower Meadows on Mount Arrowsmith

While the yellow glacier lilies are truly spectacular, the route up to the saddle between Mount Arrowsmith and Mount Cokely is gorgeous as well. I was absolutely stunned by the sheer number of wildflowers and overwhelmed by the colour and variety of plants. It made for very slow going and, since Sandy McRuer and I didn’t have the pressure of …

Glacier Lilies on Mount Arrowsmith

Mount Arrowsmith has long been on my list of Vancouver Island mountains to climb—not so much for the views from the top, but more for the extremely interesting plant communities that you hike through on the way up. The day didn’t begin with Mount Arrowsmith as the primary destination. Originally, Sandy McRuer (Rainbird Excursions) had Mount Moriarty in mind, but …

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 …

Paradise Meadows Perambulation

Jocie and I had a “kid-free day” today and made the most of it by heading up to Paradise Meadows in Strathcona Provincial Park. The weather on Vancouver Island has been hot and clear for over a week and last winter’s snow is gone in the lower meadows, although patches remain in the shady section of the Lake Helen Mackenzie …

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 …