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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