It was a cool blustery spring day, but that did not deter two dozen of us spending a productive two hours in the Park under Helen’s guidance. Kin Beach Park has an amazing array of plants with TINY flowers, of which we saw ( on our hands and knees) a broad range. One that stood out against the green was the delicate red Tryphysaria pusilla (dwarf owl clover). Collinsia grandiflora (large blue-eyed Mary) and Crocidium multicaule (gold star) in bloom together always provide a colourful carpet on the sandy duff. Many of the larger showy flowers, such as Menzies larkspur and seablush, are not yet in bloom.
We saw all 5 of the park’s species of Claytonia – I have included illustrations of four. C. perfoliatia (miner’s lettuce), C. parviflora (streambank springbeauty) C. rubra ( redstem springbeauty) and C. exigua ( pale springbeauty) . There is an extensive patch of the miner’s lettuce near the campsite , together with non-native Anthriscus caucalis ( bur chervil) which has lacy leaves like garden chervil, but tastes more like parsley – providing a healthy salad for early campers in the Park. The fifth, C. Sibirica (Siberian miner’s lettuce) seems to have been too common to merit a photo!
Another tiny plant seen near the shore is Crassula tillaea (mossy stonecrop). Sorry, there is no scale in the photo, but the succulent-like leaves are about 10 mm in length. This plant was first noted by Terry Taylor during the AGM fieldtrip to Kin Beach in 2016. It is an exotic, originally an old world plant native to the Mediterranean basin, but seems to be making its way north from the USA west coast.
One or two mushrooms were spotted – ADM is working on their ID!
On May 7th we will have Mandy Vaughan guide us through the Comox Bluffs Ecological Reserve. Since this is a highly sensitive area, the group will be limited to 10, and so we will have a sign-up process. If lots of you want to attend, then we will organize a second outing. I will send out a call-to-sign-up later in the month.
Also on the horizon : a trip down to Mt Tzuhalem Ecological Reserve, in mid May and Karen Franzen has offered to lead a group around parks on Gabriola, late May. If anyone in interested in either or both of these, please let me know. Both would require organizing a car-pool.
An identification tool/app:
For those who would like a source for identifying plants through your own photograph, you might like to try Plant Net : http://identify.plantnet-project.org/query/canada/
Thanks to Jocie for her photos and to Ruth for passing on the Plant Net URL.