Cumberland Marsh botany highlights

From an email by Jocie to the Botany/Mycology Group on May 17. Click a photo to enlarge it.

Last week we took a walk along Cumberland Marsh from Jumbo’s cabin to the coal hills above the old Japanese townsite. Many blooming shrubs and other lovely plants. If anyone has the answer to the “mystery plant” (#11 and #12) let me know.

Thanks to Véronique for the photos!

A few highlights: 

  1. Cascara (Frangula purshiana). The well-defined veins of the leaves give it a “washboard” appearance. Doesn’t have toothed edges like the red alder. Bark used to be stripped and sold for its laxative properties. Old-timers remember harvesting from our area.
  1. Black twinberry (Lonicera involucrata). Twinned yellow flowers develop into twinned black berries (not edible).
  1. Red elderberry (Sambucus racemosa). Sprays of white blooms. Bright red non-edible berries coming soon (birds eat them).
  1. Red huckleberry (Rubus parvifolium). Inconspicuous green bell-like flowers.
  1. Vanilla-leaf (Achlys triphylla). Spikes of white flowers are appearing now.
  1. Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi).  Likes drier sunny sites, as seen here on the edges of the coal hill.
  1. Marsh cinquefoil (Comarum palustre). Likes to have its feet wet: look for it in marshes, bogs and along pond edges.
  1. Western yellow pond lily (Nuphar polysepala). I was out in the canoe recently and noticed just how many insects, spiders and birds use lily pads as landing platforms. The lilies support a whole ecosystem above and below the surface.
  1. Western yew (Taxus brevifolia). An often overlooked tree….most that we see are small and scraggly, but in an old-growth forest they are larger and more conspicuous.
  1. Western yew bark: peeling and a reddish mahogany colour, reminiscent of arbutus.
  1. Everyone loves a plant mystery….there are quite a few gone-wild garden plants in the Cumberland marsh area which are remnants from the old townsite. This one had us stumped, maybe some sort of saxifrage??
  1. Mystery plant flower close-up.
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