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 …

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. …

Large-flowered Collomia

Jocie and I took a morning earlier this week to revisit the Trent River estuary with the idea of looking for unusual plants that sometimes turn up at the mouths of rivers. It wasn’t a promising day and, while it wasn’t raining on the way out through the tall grass and fields of entire-leaved gumweed (Grindelia integrifolia), the dark clouds …

Harewood Plains

While Harewood Plains is the location on Vancouver Island to see the rare red-listed bog birds-foot trefoil, the meadows are home to many other gorgeous flowers as well. Sea Blush (Plectritis congesta) and Yellow Monkey-flower (Mimulus guttatus) dominate the wet meadows of Harewood Plains in late May and early June. In late May/early June the common camas (Camassia quamash) is …

The Not So Red Common Red Paintbrush

One of the plants that seems to be common in the Courtenay River estuary is the common red paintbrush (Castilleja miniata). What interested me about the plants that were growing along the edges of the slough and wetter areas was the variety of colour represented. Colours ranged from deep red through to a pale yellow. The classic Common Red Paintbrush …

The Secret Side of the Courtenay River Estuary

When I do the regular Aipark Lagoon loop with the kids, I’ve often wondered about the far side of the Courtenay River which can be seen from this popular and well used walkway. The opposite bank has a wild and abandoned look, which is anchored by the empty Field Sawmill site. There’s no obvious access point, so there doesn’t seem …

Wildflowers on the Canyon View Trail

This is the time of year on Vancouver Island to get down to local riverside trails and check out the spring wildflower bloom. One of my favourite places to walk is the the Canyon View Trail in Campbell River. We usually start this moderate 6 km loop trail at the John Hart Generation Station and then walk downstream along the …

Born of Fire

Guest Post by Vijay Somalinga Last summer I was having a conversation with a friend about the native flora of British Columbia. I was quite disappointed when I learned that most of the the flower pictures I had taken that summer turned out to be invasive and non-native species. It was during this conversation that for the first time I …