Walking the riverside walk along the Puntledge River in Courtenay is a great place to see all sorts of invasive, introduced plants. Lately I’ve taken to strolling our two young children around the Airpark Loop and always keep my eyes open for interesting plants and birds (the Airpark Lagoon is excellent for migrating shorebirds and every year something odd turns up there).
I’ve seen these catchflies along the edge of the path in at least two places and was unsure exactly what species they were. Yesterday I figured that taking a sample wouldn’t do any harm (it is, after all, an non-native plant!).
Back at the dining room table I pulled out Volume 2 of the Illustrated Flora of British Columbia and consulted the section on Silenes. After some deliberation and working through the key (and consultation with my wife Jocie who is much better at plants that I am) I concluded that the plant is white cockle (Silene latifolia ssp. alba). Keying out plants – what a great way to spend a cold, wet, British Columbian fall day!