Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Last summer's vanilla

Last Sunday, the sun appeared from behind the rainclouds, and I hurried to get out there before the rain came back. Without any particular destination, following my nose, I discovered a new trail, in Elk Falls Provincial Park, high above the Campbell River. "Ridge Trail"*, a sign said. I walked about a mile, all uphill, through ferny mixed conifer and deciduous (mostly bigleaf maple) forest, with the river far below, to my left as I went.

A flat stretch, near the top. (At least of that first mile.)
Evergreen ferns, lichens, mossy trunks, ferns, lichen, trunks, ferns ... Greens and browns. A pleasant, quiet walk. With a few surprises.

Leaf lace

Most of the leaf litter is from the Bigleaf maples, burying all the summer ground dwellers, but this one vanilla leaf (Achlys triphylla) escaped, caught on a fern. It's three leaves, rising from a centre stalk. I've always known it as Vanilla Leaf; a bouquet, taken home and dried, will release a vanilla scent, enough to perfume a room.

E-Flora gives an alternate name: Sweet After Death. It fits.

Detail of the vein structure. 

More surprises, next.

*The trail is a 4-hour hike. I must have walked about a quarter of the trail. I'll have to go back on the next sunny day: the view from the top is spectacular, they say.

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