Kin Beach botany walk

From an email by Jocie to the Botany Group on May 14.

Last Monday (May 9) we enjoyed a rare sunny day at Kin Beach Provincial Park. There were lots of plants in bloom. Special thanks to Helen R. for helping lead the group, and for showing us a secret patch of camas!

Though we had our heads down looking at plants most of the time, the birders in our group noticed a pairing of American Kestrels atop a Douglas-fir tree! This was a highlight. Thanks to Kim D. for passing along the falcon pics.

Here are a few photos from this outing (click a photo to enlarge it):

  1. Menzies’ larkspur (Delphinium menziesii)
  1. Western buttercup (Ranunculus occidentalis)
  1. Small-flowered woodland star (Lithophragma parviflorum)
  1. Barestem desert parsley, also known as barestem biscuitroot, and formerly as Indian consumption plant (Lomatium nudicaule)
  1. Small camas (Camassia quamash)
  1. Streambank springbeauty (Claytonia parviflora): the most uncommon of 5 species of miners’ lettuce that are found in Kin Beach park!
  1. Coastal mugwort (Artemisia suksdorfii)
  1. Botany Group in action!
  1. American Kestrel pair (Falco sparverius). Photos courtesy Kim D.
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Spring beauties

The Botany Group recently had a quiz based on these photos of spring blooms by John B. Here we include the answers with the photos. Click a photo to enlarge it.

  1. A closeup of red elderberry flowers (Sambucus racemosa)
  1. Hooker’s fairybells (Prosartes hookeri) — formerly Disporum hookeri
  1. Western wild ginger (Asarum caudatum)
  1. Male flowers of western meadow-rue (Thalictrum occidentale)
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Ripple Rock Trail: Botany highlights

From an email by Jocie to the Botany Group on April 26.

Last weekend I took my kids for a hike on the Ripple Rock Trail (trailhead is about a 15 minute drive north of Campbell River). This is about an 8 km hike return. You can find out more about the Ripple Rock Trail on the Recreation Sites and Trails BC website, where you can download a Visitors Map and Guide brochure.

The trail has exploded in popularity in recent years…which raises concerns about the delicate flora and vernal pools around the viewpoint area, which gets a lot of people and dog traffic.

There were birds and plants galore…much more interesting than the viewpoint, though the swirling whirlpools of Seymour Narrows are always impressive!

There is an interesting mix of habitats on this trail, including some lush riparian/floodplain, mixed forest and drier, mossy bluffs. Camas is in bud near the lookout.

Here are a few highlights [click a photo to enlarge it]:

  1. Sitka valerian (Valeriana sitchensis): a nice patch just coming into bloom along the bluff edge.
  1. Wingstem monkeyflower (Erythranthe alsinoides): a common flower in bluff nooks. 
  1. Maidenhair spleenwort (Asplenium trichomanes): a lovely little fern, also common on the bluffs.
  1. White fawn lily (Erythronium oregonum): in pockets along the bluff edge.
  1. Siberian miner’s lettuce (Claytonia siberica): leaves looking more reddish than usual here…maybe something to do with the drier bluff habitat, or light conditions?
  1. Chocolate lily (Fritillaria affinis): so well camouflaged.
  1. Spring orange-peel fungus (Caloscypha fulgens): This orange cup fungus has a blue-green outer surface that contrasts nicely with the hot-orange interior colour.
  1. Fertile shoots of the giant horsetail (Equisetum telmateia): rising out of the ditches.
  1. Pink fawn lily (Erythronium revolutum): Great displays along the floodplain. I notice that the fawn lilies in the Campbell River area seem to have a deeper pink colour than the Courtenay ones. The Canyon trail can be spectacular for these also.
  1. Seymour Narrows and Quadra Island view from the lookout.
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Plants from Ships Point & Fanny Bay Conservation Area

From notes and photos by Alison M. distributed to the Botany Group on April 18.

[Click a photo to enlarge it.]

Ships Point Park

  1. Last Saturday (April 9th) in the warm sun at Ships Point Park, where there are a few Garry oaks amongst the conifers, the Garry oak ecosystem plants were just beginning to bloom, though the oaks themselves are still in bud. This tiny park is well worth a visit in spring.

The Garry oaks are the same genetic strain as the ones in Helliwell Provincial Park, and are related to the populations in Redding, California.

  1. Tall Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium)
  1. White fawn lily (Erythronium oregonum)
  1. Checker lily (Fritillaria affinis)
  1. Purple lamium, a non-native plant (Lamium purpureum)

Fanny Bay Conservation Area

Over on the Fanny Bay side, along the dyke in the Conservation Area, there is still a lot of water lying.

  1. The swamp lantern (Lysichiton americanus) was in its element: …
  1. …the mosses, lichens, and the lichenizing shroom lichen agaric (Lichenomphalia umbellifera)…
  1. …which were thriving on a fallen cedar.
  1. Because of the wind the blooms from the huge broadleaf maples (Acer macrophyllum) were scattered along the path.
  1. Also noteworthy were enormous flowers on the salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis), which defied proper focus in the wind.
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