Spring Wildflowers at Schooner Cove

Spring is an ideal time of year to search for wildflowers in British Columbia. The relatively remote Schooner Cove is an interesting place to visit in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and a good botanical destination. It’s not really a long walk, but it’s long enough that most people don’t make the effort to make their way around the point at the end of Long Beach, choosing to turn around instead.

Wildflowers at Schooner Cove
Yellow monkey-flower (Mimulus guttatus) covers the rocky islet in the middle of Schooner Cove.

Schooner Cove is a gorgeous sandy beach so it’s well worth taking a little extra time to explore it. It’s also an excellent place to do some early spring botanizing for wildflowers.

Tracy's mistmaiden (Romanzoffia tracyi)
Tracy’s mist maiden (Romanzoffia tracyi) is an early spring blooming plant found on coastal outcrops on the western side of Vancouver Island.

In the early spring, Tracy’s mistmaiden (Romanzoffia tracyi) form a stunning mat of beautiful white flowers and green cog-like leaves. These small flowers cascade down the wall of the haystack shaped islet in the middle of the cove.

Tracy's Mistmaiden (Romanzoffia tracyi)
Tracy’s Mistmaiden (Romanzoffia tracyi) covers the sheltered side of the rock face at Schooner Cove in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

Tracy’s mistmaiden is a coastal specialist and is only found on the west side of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. It likes the moist rocky coastal bluffs that can be found in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. An easier (and quicker) place to see this species is at parking area of Incinerator Rock.

Yellow monkey-flower (Mimulus guttatus)
Yellow monkey-flower (Mimulus guttatus) is a beautiful little flower common in wet seepage areas.

One of the other common coastal wildflowers found on these rocky outcrops is Yellow monkey-flower (Mimulus guttatus). Monkey-flower tends to prefer the wet seepage areas and its buttery yellow flowers create a carpet of colour.

Villous Cinquefoil (Potentilla villosa)
Villous Cinquefoil (Potentilla villosa) is usually found on exposed rocks close to the ocean.

Another yellow flower to look for in coastal areas is villous cinquefoil (Potentilla villosa). This plant requires very little soil to survive and likes exposed mesic bluffs—it does very well close to the ocean. The five petaled flower and leathery/hairy leaves make it easy to identify.

Rocky Islet at Schooner Cove
The rocky islet in the middle of Schooner Cove is a fascinating place for botanizing and intertidal exploration (at low tide).

These are only a few of the plants that can be seen at Schooner Cove. There’s also a small dune ecosystem nearby that is the home to a number of unique plants. Always be mindful and minimize your impact when botanizing!