Saturday, July 22, 2017

Roadside delights

The weather has turned, finally. Rain has brought some relief to our burning province. Not enough to put out the fires on the mainland, but at least a hint of normalcy.

Last week, while even here on the island, even on the beaches, the air felt like the breath of an angry dragon, I headed north, hoping for a bit of coolness. I found it, up in Port McNeil; the skies were grey, the wind soft, sprinkling gentle drops of rain over the trees. Ahhh!

Partway there, between Woss and the southern tip of Nimpkish Lake, where the sun still shone, I stopped at a clearing beside the highway. A sign called it a viewpoint, but there was nothing to see but trees and cliffs. Through a gap in the trees, I caught glimpses of a pool below, too small to be called a lake, and have a name.

But there were flowers dancing in the wind, and lichen, and mosses. Who needs a view?

Daisy and grasses

It must be the wind and the clean air this far from "civilization"; there's no dust on the flowers, even just beside the highway

Pink flowers, with 6 petals, opposite, long leaves, on stems about a foot tall.

I couldn't find these flowers in either of my guides. And they're confusing: look at these others:

Much smaller flowers, but with the same configuration. Except that they only have 5 petals. The little brown spiky thing is a moss sporophyte.

These second flowers were tiny; I couldn't count the petals until I looked at the photos. And except for the size and the number of petals, they're identical to the others. A different species, or a variety of the same species?

Update: The 5-petalled variety has been identified, on Twitter, as Common centaury, Centaurium erithraea.
Salal flowers. Always so delicate!

The native trailing blackberry, Rubus ursinus. The ripe berries will be black, but small and scarce. And delicious.

I'll leave the lichen and moss, and an even tinier flower, for tomorrow.

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