Botany Outing Report: May 2019

On May 6th at Kin Beach Park, six of us including Helen, spent a couple of hours uprooting more of the invasive Lamium galeobdolon (yellow archangel) as well as equally aggressive Aegopodium podagraria (goutweed) under the watchful eye of the archangel goddess, still perched in the bush above. Lunch was somewhat disturbed by the Snowbirds in practice before they were due to leave the Valley.  I had thought they were already gone!!  Then Helen took some of the group around the Park, to identify the spring flowers still in bloom, including Lomatium nudicaule (Indian consumption plant/barestem desert- parsley) and Delphinium menziesii (Menzies larkspur).

On May 13th eight of us meandered from Salmon Point through the gravel flats to Woodhus slough, with John B. in the lead, noting most of the late spring flowers in bloom.  Near the start of the trail Betty pointed out the remnants of a huge bank of Delphinium menziesii (Menzies larkspur) – much of it had been levelled in the development of a residential property. The plants were just coming into bloom – photo 1.  And amongst them and spreading along the trail towards the slough was Valerianella locusta – commonly known as corn salad, a garden escapee that seeds itself vigorously – photo 2, from my garden. John pointed out where later in the summer we should be able to see a large array of  Spiranthes romanzoffiana (ladies tresses).  Outstanding were the numbers of Lomatium nudicaule (Indian consumption plant/barestem desert parsley) all the way to the Slough and beyond. Close in the gravel flats the plants were mixed in with a pink sea of Plectritis congesta (seablush)- photo 3.  Other flowers of note included Eriophyllum lanatum (woolly sunflower/Oregon sunshine), Lathyrus japonica (beach pea), Toxicoscordion venenosum ( death camas), Rosa nutkana (Nootka rose) and Lonicera hispidula (hairy honeysuckle) – photo 4.

We then drove on to the Oyster Bay Shoreline Protection Park, primarily to see the red-listed Balsamorhiza deltoidea (deltoid balsamroot) in bloom.  The largest clump, somewhat protected from view by the low spreading branches of a Douglas fir, is flourishing happily – photo 5.  Unfortunately, one of the plants out in the open had been dug up, while the blooms had been cut from another.   We should have a sign made to inform the public that these plants are rare and should be left untouched.  When the OB Shoreline Protection Society came to an end, CVN did receive a portion of its remaining funds, so we as a group could ask the executive for funds towards a sign and approach the SRD with a proposal to place a sign in the park.

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Shoreline Outing Report: Denman Island, April 24th 2019

Hey Everyone,

Yesterday’s trip to Denman intersected with ideal spring weather. We visited two bedrock  shorelines– one on the east side of the island and another on the west. Some notes to follow up on things we saw.
(1) Geology and Trace Fossils
Both shorelines were composed of alternating beds of mudstone and sandstone that were formed on the sea floor about 80 million years ago. At the first beach, we saw abundant trace fossils, particularly large, branching burrows that were broadly parallel to the layers (bedding) in the sedimentary rock. These are interpreted elsewhere in the region as the pathways that decapod crustaceans (crabs, shrimp, lobster) maps through the sediments. We also saw the well cemented ellipsoidal concretions in the bedrock where fossils have been found, though we had no luck with the one that we split.
The geology of Denman and Hornby Islands is well-studied. There is this wonderful map from the BC Geological Survey as well as studies that describe how the conglomerates, sandstones and mudstones of these islands formed on the sea floor by the movement of materials in gravity flows from submarine channels out onto the open sea floor. .
(2) Oyster Leases
On the west side of the island, we saw systems of boulder placement, rebar, rope and netting associated with oyster aquaculture. This large PDF MAP from DFO shows that we were walking one of the most intensely cultivated shores in the province. This document is an overview of the legal regulations for aquaculture as well as the licensing fee formulas. Oyster leases and operations for sale are listed on the BC Shellfish Growers website.  We saw some serious modifications and garbage related to these aquaculture operations– it will be instructive if we can figure out what the environmental obligations are for these operators.
(3) Life
We saw lots of creatures, sessile and motile, solitary and colonial. Member of the group who were there, please let me know if I am forgetting things. Some of you were taking great pictures of molluscs and their eggs. As an aside, apparently some nudibranchs (the group that includes that barnacle nudibranch) can lay MILLIONS of eggs. We should do a count next time.
Beach One- Bedrock Shoreline 1km south of Fillongley Provincial Park
Black Pine Seaweed (Neorhodomela larix)
Nori/Sushi Seaweed (Porphyra)
Sea Lettuce (Ulva)
Rockweed (Fucus)
Sea cauliflower (Leathesia)
Sea Felt (Pylaiella littoralis)
Soda Straws (Scytosiphon)
Rusty Rock (Hildenbranda)
Plumose Anenome (Metridium sp.)
Kelp Crab (Pugettia producta)
Black Clawed Crab (Lophopanopeus bellus)
Rock Crab (Cancer productus)
Oregon Shore Crab (Hemigrapsus oregonensis)
Dungeness Crab (Metacarcinus magister)– maybe graceful crab
Hermit Crab (Pagarus sp.)
Coastal Shrimp (Heptacarpus sp.)
Mossy Chiton (Mopalia muscosa)
Barnacle nudibranch (Onchidorus bilamellata)
Limpet (Lottia digitalis)
Pacific Oyster (Crassostrea gigas)
Dogwinkle (Nucella lamellosa)
Moon snail (Neverita lewisii)
Bryozoans (Schizoporella sp.)
Purple  Cockscomb (Anoplarchus purperescens)
Tidepool Sculpin (Oligocottus sp.)
Beach Two: Bedrock Shoreline at end of Hinton Road, West Side
Black Pine Seaweed (Neorhodomela larix)
Turkish towel (Mastocarpus sp.)
Sea Lettuce (Ulva)
Rockweed (Fucus)
Sea cauliflower (Leathesia)
Sea Felt (Pylaiella littoralis)
Soda Straws (Scytosiphon)
Rusty Rock (Hildenbranda)
Flatworms (Notocomplana)
Ribbon worm (Tubulanus polymorpha)
Clam Worm (Neries vexillosa)
Fibreoptic Hydroid (Abietineria greenei)
Yellow Sponge (Halichondria panicea)
Bryozoan (Schizoporella)
Violet tunicate (Botrylloides violaceus)
Wrinkled tunicate (Pyura haustor)
Midshipmen (Porichthys notatus)
Purple  Cockscomb (Anoplarchus purperescens)
Tidepool Sculpin (Oligocottus sp.)
Japanese Mud Snail (Batalaria (with Pagarus)
Moon snail (Neverita lewisii)
Sea jingle (Pododesmus)
Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas)
Lemon Dorid (Archidoris montereyensis)
Hind’s Chiton (Mopalia hindsii)
Bright aeolid nudibranch (Flabellina sp)
Sea star (Pisaster ochreus)
White Sea cucumber (Cucumaria pallida)
Plumose anenome (Metridium)
Big red (Painted?) anemone (Urticina grebelnyi)
See you soon,
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Botany Group Report – April 1st Outing to the Comox Lake Bluffs Ecological Reserve

15 of us had a glorious day in the shade of the forested areas, and out in the sun on the old road that skirts around behind the open bluffs (which we avoided because of the extreme aridity).  The hot dry weather of the latter half of March after the prolonged arctic temperatures has not been kind to vegetation in general.  There was very little to see of spring blooms – some manzanita shrubs and chickweed monkey flower.  So the choice of a “Moss walk was fortuitous – mosses and liverworts can be “revived”  by a misting of water, an essential part of leader Randal’s equipment.  Attached is the list of the mosses that Randal highlighted for us arranged according to habitat.

Photos attached : one of the group near Mandy’s sign beside the path out to the open Bluffs and one of the tiny Hypnum circinale moss with its bright chestnut sporophytes (apologies that the focus is poor).


With the recent rain, lots of plants have perked up and even in deepest coldest Merville the fawn lilies, toothwort and woodland violet are finally in bloom.  Today on CVN weekend walk along the south side of the Puntledge down from the dam we saw  the open Bog area both the male and female flowers of the Myrica Gale (sweet gale), in addition to the swamp lantern, but the Kalmia and Labrador Tea were showing only a few new leaves.  Attached is a photo of the female flower of the sweet gale ( held still by blue-gloved hand!). These tiny (1.5 cm long)exquisite flowers are one of the many treats to be seen in the “Puntledge Bog” – well worth a visit.

Reminder – next gathering tomorrow at Kin Beach,   10: 30 am.   

For the  removal of a patch  invasive yellow archangel ( Lamium galeobdolon)  please bring gloves, a small hand fork and/or secateurs if you have (plus kneeling pad if needed).  The uprooted plants will be put onto the Park burn-pile.   For more information call Helen.

The plan is to do the hard work first, then have a walk around the Park to see what is in bloom, followed by snack lunch at the picnic benches (weather permitting).


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Botany Outing Report: April 1 2019

Greetings all,

Spring is suddenly upon us.  Luise reported that there were goldstars (crocidium multicaule) blooming on Hornby on Sunday 17th; check out Point Holmes, usually one of the earliest spots here on the mainland. The coltsfoot (Petasites palmatus) that produced its bud by the third week of January, finally opened March 9th.  On the CVN walk along the Campbell River Estuary out to Baikie island we saw  fawn lilies (Erythronium sp. ) pushing up through the silt and dead leaves along the river, and the Indian plum (Oemleria cerasiformis)  was starting to flower.  No doubt the latter is blooming along the Airpark path too;  if anyone has seen fawn lilies along the river banks in Courtenay let us know. ( Photos of all except the goldstar are attached.)

Next outing:  April 1st, Comox Lake Bluffs Ecological Reserve.  11 am at the Trailhead.

To get to the trailhead, drive out Laketrail Road, till you meet Comox Main; turn left on Comox Main and follow past the entrance to Courtenay and District Fish & Game, over the bridge at the dam and on about a kilometer to a parking area on the left-hand side of the road.    You can check Google maps    Comox Lake Bluffs Ecological Reserve :   (not sure if the link will work – webmail is not user friendly!)  Attached is the BC Parks map of the Reserve and a list of Bryophyts compiled last year by Randal and Terry Taylor.

The plan is to focus on bryophytes, with Randal in the lead , since it will be early (maybe) for many of the spring flowers. ( We will save that for a later date. ) Note that if there is a large crowd of us, we will spend our time on the trail through the forest and up the old road.  Because of the sensitivity of the actual bluffs area Mandy would like to restrict the numbers of boots treading on the fragile plants on the rock faces.  Parks is apparently working on establishing a designated walkway or the like with cordons.

Bring your lunch and suitable footwear for an uneven trail, rocky in places.

Enjoy the sun,  Alison


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