Botany Outing Report: Seal Bay, March 5th, 2018

Greetings, Members of the Botany Group

As Spring advances lots of plants are coming into bloom: coltsfoot, salmonberry, yellow stream violet, blue-eyed mary and more.  Attached are photos of  Petasites palmatus (coltsfoot) on the Tsolum floodplain and Erythronium oregonum (white fawn lily) seen on the Ripple Rock trail on Saturday (March 24th).  Anywhere along our shorelines or riverbanks from now on will be worthy of repeated visits for the succession of blooms.

Outing to Seal Bay, March 5th

Although we were thwarted in our attempts to have a moss walk in February because of the snow, it was well worth the wait. March 5th was perfect, if perhaps a little dry for mosses, but Randal came equipped with a spray bottle to perk up the specimens.  The array of mosses seemed overwhelming, but through Randal’s energetic instruction we were well drilled in the identification of seven of the most common ones on the forest floor and lower tree trunks, and equipped with an excellent handout for reference.   Illustrated in the attachments are Ruth`s photos of Buckiella undulata (wavy cotton moss), Hylocomium splendens (step moss) and Dicranum scoparium (broom moss).

Jocie won the prize for spotting a species not in the List of Bryophytes for Seal Bay.  It was Dendroalsia abietina, or Plume Moss, not commonly seen in the Valley.  For an illustration of plume moss, check E-flora.      Randal has added more than 20 to the original 38 (see attached updated list) .

Randal spotted various liverworts including  Lophocolea cuspidata. He sent a photo of it in “full bloom” in his local woods with star shaped antheridiaphores. ( See attached photo.) Another one of interest was Metzgeria conjugata  in amongst festoons of Neckera on a Maple trunk.   Check E-flora for photo.  Next year we will have to slate a walk concentrating on liverworts.

Other news – Little River Nature Park

Helen reports that she “took a walk along the river and between the river and the fence at Little River Nature Park, and counted 34 Piperia elegans  (elegant rein orchid) plants, but there are probably twice that.  They do not bloom for another month or six weeks.  I also walked along the beach towards the ferry, looking for emerging yellow sand verbena leaves, but it is still too early.  There is more than ever habitat destruction by the homeowners (2) adjacent to the ferry maintenance yard, so I don’t know if they have dug deep enough to totally destroy the sand verbena plants or not.”   You may remember that Helen raised concerns last year about the damage to natural vegetation  on the beach by some of the homeowners in the Harwood Estates.  Murray Little of  the Wetland Conservation Group has indicated that CVRD’s Debi Lister is trying to ensure that the residents of the estates are made aware of the ecologically sensitive area  and endangered plants in their “backyard”.

Next Gathering  :  April 9th – Kin Beach – 11.00 am.

We had our April gathering last year at Kin Beach, so this will be an opportunity to compare and contrast what is or is not in bloom from one year to the next. There are picnic tables at the park, where we can have lunch after our foray.

Enjoy our spring displays,  Alison

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