Saturday, November 13, 2010

Buttons in the mud

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a photo of long-billed dowitchers at Reifel Island:

We were intrigued by the mini-islands of yellow flowers in the lagoon; neither of us recognized them. Farther on, we passed large masses of them, mostly inaccessible.

Finally, one such expanse bordered the trail, so we were able to investigate.

Getting closer.

And closer.

I got down on my knees in the muck and bent the plants aside to see the growth pattern. Messy.

The flowers, from a couple of inches away.

Then I somehow misfiled the photos and tried to ID the flowers from memory, without success. Yesterday, looking for something else, I found them. (Isn't that always the way?) And then identifying them was easy; the flower heads looked like tansy, so I checked the entries next to the tansies in my book. There they were!

They're common brass buttons, Cotula coronopifolia. It's a semi-aquatic plant, colonizing beaches, tidal mudflats and marshes. It's an import from South Africa, and naturalized in BC., especially in this area. In spite of the extent of monopolization we saw in Reifel, it is not classified as invasive. So that's good; we can enjoy its beauty without the conflict of wishing it were not there.


  1. You see - back in control already...

    Great photos of the button flowers; never seen those before

  2. That's the way it is. You are pretty persistent in identifications though. - Margy

  3. I have seen buttonflowers in my plant guide, but never in real life. They are beautiful, but I can see how they would tend to choke things out. I really love that first picture, when I enlarged it and saw the little islands of green and the birds enjoying the water.

  4. Mark; Yep. I can always threaten the beast with pulling its plug. :)

    Margy; some would call it obsessive.

    Clytie; that's one of my favourite photos, too.


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