Camas begins to flower in March in Victoria, Flowers open progressively up the stem, extending the blooming interval into April and May. In colder inland locations bloom time extends from May to June. The fruit matures during the summer into an elongated rattle like capsule full of shiny black seeds. The range of the camas extends from Vancouver Island across southern B.C. to Alberta and south to California. Read More….
Among mammals and birds, the ruffed grouse, American Goldfinch, and the Sparrows eat the goldenrod seeds, while the black Tailed Deer occasionally eat the foliage. Sometimes beavers and muskrats use the stems in their dams or dens. This is a very pretty plant, I always love running into it. Sometimes a ditch will fill with them after water flow has dispersed the seeds along the whole length. Read More….
Although not a plant, the Cascara tree has such beautiful flowers that it needs to be on here. The cascara tree grows all over Vancouver Island and along the mainland from the south coast down to Oregon. People have used cascara for centuries, primarily to relieve constipation. First peoples used it to relieve the condition and probably passed the knowledge down to Spanish and Mexican priests who arrived in the Americas in the 1800s. Read More….
The chocolate lily was used as a food by the Salish peoples. The Salish boiled or steamed the roots of the chocolate lily for immediate consumption or for drying and storing for the winter months. The cooked roots of the chocolate lily were either mashed into a paste or baked in hot ashes. The chocolate lily likes a habitat of open woodland, meadows, coastal grasslands and thickets. Read More….
Clasping Twisted Stalk
The Clasping Twisted Stalk was used as a food plant by the First Peoples of the Pacific Northwest and as a medicine. The entire plant is sweet with a cucumber-like flavor. The berries are juicy and sweet, with a cucumber-like flavor. The plant was referred to by early settlers of the Pacific Northwest coast as the wild cucumber and as scoot berries for the mildly laxative effects of the plants’ berries if they are eaten in excessive quantities. Read More….
Cleavers has a long history of use as an alternative medicine and is still used widely by modern herbalists. It is used both internally and externally in the treatment of a wide range of ailments. The dried or fresh herb is alterative, anti-inflammatory, astringent. It is often taken to treat skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis, it is used as a detoxifying agent in serious illnesses such as cancer. The seeds are a coffee substitute. Read More….
Coastal Penstemon is found along the coast from southern Alaska through British Columbia and Washington to northwest Oregon. On Vancouver Island, it may be found up to elevations of 1500 meters. On the west coast of Vancouver Island, you will see it at sea level just about every spot you take a look for it, it is very prolific and quite beautiful to observe. Read More….
Common Sorrel is a great medicinal plant. The entire plant may be harvested to be used, or just the leaves and stems may be harvested, which allows the plants to re-grow to be harvested again. The plant portion of the Common Sorrel may be harvested throughout the spring, summer, and fall. Harvest on a sunny day after a few days of no rain, this is to ensure that the plant is dry. Read More….
Common Tansy has yellow disc flowers that resemble buttons in a flat-topped cluster at the top of the plant. Although a pretty plant, this plant can do serious damage to our Islands natural habitat and needs to be controlled. It prefers sunny areas with well-drained soil and often infests stream banks, fields and disturbed sites such as roadsides and logged over areas. The common Tansy plant can be toxic to livestock and to humans if large quantities are consumed. Read More….
Cooleys Hedge Nettle
Cooley’s Hedge Nettle Plant, although a true Nettle, it does not sting. The Plant grows profusely on Vancouver Island. Cooley’s Hedge Nettle is found from the Northwest Pacific coast east to the eastern base of the Cascade Mountains. from southern British Columbia south to southern Oregon and all of Vancouver Island. Read More….
Cotton grass is not grass at all, although they are close relatives. They are in fact sedges. There are about 25 species of cotton grass, all of which grow in boggy conditions. The cotton grass gets their name from the fluffy white fruiting head that appears in June and July. This fluffy white cotton was once used to stuff pillows, as an alternative to goose down. Read More….
Creeping Spike Rush
Creeping Spike Rush grows in all regions of the BC Coastal Region. It can be found growing in most wetlands, ponds and shallow lakes, you can see it in the shallows of slow-moving streams and even in the estuaries. This plant provides a service as wildlife food and cover. The dense root system of rhizomes is great at stabilizing stream banks and pond shores. This plant is an excellent choice to be used for wastewater treatment ponds. Read More….
The Dames Rocket Plant, also known as Sweet Rocket or Dame’s Violet is a very pretty weed that grows all over North America, including all of the BC coastal region. This plant is often mistaken for Phlox, but Phlox has five petals while Dame’s Rocket has just four. The plant is part of the mustard family, which also includes radishes, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and, mustard. Read More….
The Deer Fern is a Northwest native fern, it is a beautiful forest fern which provides winter forage for deer, elk and other animals from Vancouver Island to Alaska. The Deer Fern is very attractive. I love hiking around on the Island and walking through old-growth forest that has a moss and fern understory. This plant can be grown as a home garden plant and does best in partial to deep shade. If it outgrows a location the spreading clumps can be divided in the spring. Read More….
The stems and roots of the devils club plant are the primary medicinal part and both can be used but the roots are more concentrated and easier to use, I use the stems as using the roots can kill the plant. The dried bark can be brewed into a tea or made into a tincture. It also works as a great spring tonic. The active constituents may be saponins and substances with insulin-like activity but research is still ongoing to identify these medicinal components. Read More….
The Douglas Aster has green foliage and inconspicuous purple flowers, with an abundance of conspicuous brown fruits or seeds. The greatest bloom is usually observed in the late summer, with fruit and seed production starting in the summer and continuing until fall. Leaves are not retained year to year. This plant is native to the Pacific Northwest and has its most active growth period in the spring and summer. Read More….
The Douglas Spirea grows in great abundance all over the coast of BC, although a wild plant, it is considered a wonderful addition to any garden. I have one growing in my front yard and it draws butterflies and birds to my gardens. The feature that most people recognize when they see this plant is the tall spikes of clustered, tiny pink flowers, which grow on the ends of the branches. Read More….
The Evergreen Violet is a low, trailing plant that puts down roots along the extending stems just like strawberries do. Leaves are small, almost round, and deep, dull green. Bright yellow flowers rise up to 5 cm above the leaves. Stems creep across ground, rooting as they go, producing mats of thick, leathery, broadly heart-shaped leaves, and beautiful little yellow flowers that face outward, hanging on short stalks barely as tall as the leaves. Read More….