Valley of the Devil’s Club

The huge leaves of Devil’s Club (Oplopanax horridus) are visible from the Millennium Trail in Elk Falls Provincial Park. Maple-like leaves the size of a giant’s plate, clusters of bright red berries, thick twisted spine covered stems. Stumbling through a patch of Devil’s club (Oplopanax horridus) can be a memorable experience. While the common name gives some indication of the nature …

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 …

Salal, a Visual Symphony

Guest post by Chris Carter If I had been asked for a list of photogenic wild flowers a few weeks ago, Salal (Gaultheria shallon) would not have been near the top. Salal is best known for its bright evergreen leaves, always in demand by the florist trade. Walking back from the beach last week, I noticed a splendid Salal bush …

Gorgeous Gummy Gooseberry!

A number of years ago when I worked at Strathcona Provincial Park as a naturalist I was leading a guided walk around the Karst Creek Trail when a member of the group made a very interesting discovery. We had been poking along doing some bird watching and looking at all sorts of plants along the edge of the trail. At …

August Lake Flowers

The downward pointing flowers of Few-flowered Shooting Star (Dodecatheon pulchellum) resemble a star falling to earth. In my last post I wrote about Arrow-leaved Balsamroot, the most obvious flower in bloom at August Lake near Princeton, British Columbia. While I have to admit that the fields of beautiful yellow sunflowers were captivating there were a number of other smaller flowers …

Rough Road to Rhododendron Lake

Pacific Rhododendron (Rhododendron macrophyllum) just starting to come into bloom at Rhododendron Lake on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. It was years ago, back when I was in the Recreation Administration program at then Malaspina University-College (now Vancouver Island University), that I took a field trip out to Rhododendron Lake, just south of Parksville, British Columbia. The lake is unique in …

Black Twinberry

The thing that I love about nature walks is that the more often you visit a place, the more likely it is that you’ll see something new. Such is the case with the small introduced flowers that I’m training myself to notice. It is also the reason why I “discovered” a nice stretch of Black Twinberry (Lonicera involucrata) growing alongside …

Signs of Spring – Salmonberry and Red-flowering Currant in Bloom

I know that spring has officially arrived on the West Coast when my allergies kick into high gear – I react strongly to Red Alder (Alnus rubra) pollen and don’t feel like going outside much on sunny days when the pollen count is high. However, regardless of how miserable I feel I still make the effort to get out and …

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 …

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 …