More estuary blooms

Catching up with communications in the Botany Group during July. This is from an email from Jocie to the group on July 10.

A not-to-be-missed July event is the blooming of Henderson’s checker-mallow (Sidalcea hendersonii) in the Komoks estuary. This is a large, showy plant in the mallow family (Malvaceae) that looks a bit like a hollyhock. Another name for it is “marsh hollyhock.”

Another plant that grows nearby in the same habitat is the springbank clover (Trifolium wormskjoldii), which peaks in late June (photographed here on June 25). First Nations peoples up and down the coast were very familiar with this plant, as the fleshy white rhizomes were dug up and harvested in the fall. According to Plants of Coastal British Columbia, the flavour is “sweet, similar to that of young peas.” Today, very few people are aware of the existence of this historically significant clover. 

Springbank clover (Trifolium wormskjoldii)

To see these plants, park at the Rotary viewing stand on the Dyke Road and follow the small trail from the corner of the viewing stand (Courtenay side). There are large clumps of checker-mallow there, and there may still be some springbank clover in bloom also. There’s more clover along the shore towards Comox, in front of the viewing stand (watch your footing here and proceed slowly!). 

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