Early Sub-alpine Flowers

In an effort to find some allergy relief we headed up to Paradise Meadows in Strathcona Provincial Park to survey the trail conditions. We knew that with the record snowfall this winter most of the meadow trails would be still be under snow and from the looks of things it might be late July before the trails are accessible for summer hiking.

Even so, we ventured out onto the cross-country ski trails, following in the footsteps of others who had gone before. The snow is well packed and with the proper winter/spring footwear it is possible to walk out into the meadows. A better idea is to bring a set of snowshoes and ski poles and to be careful crossing over covered streams and around trees – there’s still a great deal of snow left!

Alpine White Marsh-marigold (Caltha leptosepala)
One of my favourite sub-alpine flowers is the gorgeous Alpine White Marsh-marigold (Caltha leptosepala).

Wet seepage areas are starting to emerge and one of the first sub-alpine flowers to bloom after snow melt was out in full display. The Alpine White Marsh-marigold (Caltha leptosepala) is a beautiful white flower with a greenish-white center. Make sure to check the underside of the petals for a bluish tint – the flowers of similar looking Broad-leaved Marsh-marigold (C. biflora) are simply white underneath.

Alpine White Marsh-marigold (Caltha leptosepala)
Look for the tint of blue on the underside of these Alpine White Marsh-marigold (Caltha leptosepala) when they emerge just after snow melt.

Despite the winter-like conditions it was still very interesting to search out some early summer flowers. It should be an interesting year botanically in the sub-alpine and alpine meadows in Strathcona Provincial Park!

If you’re considering a hike in the meadows think about stopping in at the Strathcona Wilderness Institute’s visitor information centre to check trail conditions. They’ll be celebrating Parks Day on July 16th with a number of guided walks and presentations including a performance by the Seeds and Salt Theatre Company at 10:30 a.m. and a talk about Strathcona’s mammals by former Royal BC Museum mammal curator Dave Nagorsen at 3p.m. Kathy Martin will be talking about White-tailed Ptarmigan on July 17th at 1 p.m.