Coast Boykinia on the the Rainforest Trail in Pacific Rim National Park

While walking the Rainforest Trail in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve the tendency is to look upward—the trees are so large and dramatic and that is what immediately captures one’s attention. However, it’s also a good idea to look down once and a while and see what’s blooming. The understory is amazing in the temperate rainforest of the west coast …

Cloudberry Bog Surprise

My father and my uncle always talked about the “bakeapples” they used to pick in Newfoundland. Bakeapples, or cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus) also grow on the west coast of British Columbia, but they’re a little hard to come by and we’ve never found them in very large numbers. Cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus) grows in low elevation bogs. The berries are edible and …

Wildflowers at Comox Lake Bluffs Ecological Reserve

In my previous post about the Comox Lake Bluffs Ecological Reserve I hinted that I had a few more wildflower photographs to share. The bluffs are definitely a fantastic destination for wildflower photography and there are many unique flowers that grow on the hot exposed bluffs. Chocolate Lily (Fritillaria affinis) The delicate nodding flowers of Chocolate Lily (Fritillaria affinis) grow along …

Comox Lake Bluffs Ecological Reserve

There is nothing at the parking area just beyond the dam at Comox Lake to suggest that a spectacular ecological reserve is a short 20 minute hike away. Beyond the burned rubbish and twisted metal and broken glass is a wide gravel trail that leads through an old cut block. The trail at this point has been “deactivated” in an attempt …

Gold Star in Bloom

A trio of Gold Stars (Crocidium multicaule) at Point Holmes, Comox, BC. One of the first wildflowers to bloom here in the Comox Valley is the gold star (Crocidium multicaule). Usually you can expect to see it in early March and this year it was right on schedule, brightening up the coastal gravel flats at Point Holmes and Kin Beach. …

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 …

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. …