Spring has sprung – Tsolum River and Tree Island

Notes from Alison M., distributed to the Botany Group on April 23. Click a photo to enlarge it.

Finally, after a latish start to spring the recent warm weather has brought out all the familiar early blooms on the river bank/floodplain of the Tsolum River (and no doubt the Puntledge). We are now awash with pink and white fawn lilies, the yellow violet, white trillium and pink bleeding heart. I attach a couple of oddities that one can sometimes see:

1. A double-headed Erythronium oregonum

2. & 3. Two examples of a double-petalled Trillium ovatum (#2 complete with a little red insect that awaits ID)

The low tides during the day last week allowed for a hike across to Sandy/Tree island on the causeway from Denman, so Loys, David Innes and I made our way across on a glorious sunny day. (To get to the island on a low tide involves a 3 km walk from Morning Beach Park, mostly on sand and pebbles.)  There were lots of clumps of Crocidium multicaule (goldstar) and Collinsia sp. (blue-eyed Mary, although I can’t tell which species) and the first Lomatium nudicaule (barestem desert parsley) , as well as lots of the little white, non-native field-penny cress and shepherd’s cress.

The buds on the ubiquitous Plectritis congesta (seablush) were only just beginning to open. It can be seen in photo 4 along with Collinsia  and Teesdalia.  It seems that the cooler weather in early April pushed back “opening time”. However, lots of leaves of larkspur, lupine, yellow sand verbena and so on promise the usual splendid array in the coming weeks.

(4) First seablush flowers + Collinsea and Teesdalia

Reaching the island from the south one could see a brilliant lime-green tree in front of the dark conifers on the central part of the island. The tree has lots of curving, low to the ground trunks/branches as a result of exposure to the wind. In photo 5 you can just  make out the lime green of the early leaves, and photo 6 is a closeup of the flower, with the typical maple type leaves behind. It appears to be an Acer glabrum (Douglas maple).   And I wonder if that is the mystery species on Willemar [a nominee for Tree of the Year 2021].

The last photo shows the low-tide causeway between Denman Island and Tree Island.

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