Thursday, June 23, 2016

Wild and sweet

June is the month for flowers in the north woods. The growing season is short; the snow has barely melted along the higher slopes, and the days will be getting shorter from now on. Time's a-wasting! And the bears want their berries!

(I tasted my first huckleberries of the year Monday. Small and seedy, and not at all sweet yet. The thimbleberries are pale pink and hard; the blackberries are green. They'll all be ready in a few weeks.)

These wildflowers were blooming beside the lakes and rivers across the top of the island last weekend.

Red columbine, Aquilegia formosa. On the rocks by a waterfall. 49.72992, -126.09537. Hummingbirds love these.

Unidentified flowers, growing on rock face.

Does anyone recognize these? There were many of them, all growing out of cracks in the rocks above our heads, none within reach.

UPDATE: Found it! Silverleaf luina, Luina hypoleuca.

Oxeye daisies, Leucanthemum vulgare, Strathcona Lodge, Upper Campbell Lake.

"The young leaves of oxeye daisy are edible and very sweet." (Plants of Coastal BC)

I didn't know that.

Fireweed, Epiloblum angustifolium, Strathcona Lodge. Also edible.

Hardhack, Spiraea douglasii, just coming into bloom beside a swamp. They love wet feet.

Pacific ninebark, Physocarpus capitatus, beside Crest Lake,49.84377, -125.91223.

Self-heal, Prunella vulgaris spp. lanceolata. Gravelled pathway beside highway near the columbine.

These self-heal flowers were like the ones in my lawn, but about twice their size, and more intensely purple. I wondered about this, and looked them up in E-Flora.

Two subspecies occur in BC:
1. Principal stem leaves egg-shaped to oblong (averaging half as broad as long), broadly wedge-shaped or rounded at base.................... ssp. vulgaris
1. Principal stem leaves lanceolate to egg-shaped (averaging one-third as broad as long), narrowly wedge- shaped to abruptly pointed at base.................. ssp. lanceolata

The leaves on this plant are long and narrow, and pointed at the base, so this would be subspecies lanceolata, and is a native plant. The other subspecies (the one in my lawn) is an import from Eurasia.

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