Early June Excursions

It’s been a cool, wet June. The vegetation drought has ended. There are two types of droughts: vegetation droughts are at the surface, groundwater droughts are longer lasting and take more rain and snowmelt to reverse, which can take years. Vegetation droughts are worse in terms of fire danger. Groundwater droughts are worse for agriculture and other, mostly human concerns. The end of the vegetation drought is a huge relief for those of us worried about whether our local forests will burn up sooner than later. And it’s a treat for us botanists to get to see our native flora enjoy a more favourable year after the recent terrible drought/heat years that suppressed their growth and reproduction.

Here’s a sharing of photos taken on excursions with the talented young German botanist Ilias Kontos. Most of what Ilias saw was new to him, and some of what we saw during these excursions were pleasant surprises for me. Surprising indeed after twenty years of living in the landscape in these photos. This region of British Columbia is an under-appreciated treasury of biodiversity. I’m glad I got to share some of it with Ilias, and later Connor, for a couple of weeks.

The Clearwater River flowing wild
Carex eburnea
Candle Creek Falls
Along the Clearwater
The laciniata form of Tiarella trifoliata was long thought to be endemic to the inner coast of southern BC and adjacent Washington. But I’ve known of it in the Robson Valley for several years. And now we know it also grows here in the Clearwater Valley.
Kabuki passed through the portal in this tip-up root mound a few times just for the novelty of it. She has an interesting mind.
An Aneura maxima/pellioides/sharpii sort of thing
Sanicula marilandica, seldom seen in the west
Carex foenea, and in the background, a native Galium aparine-like species, and a curious Rubus intermediate between R. leucodermis and the R. idaeus complex.
Placid Lake being placid
A landscape architect could do no better. Equisetum fluviatile and Petasites sagittatus.
Meesia triquetra
Corallorhiza trifida in a calcareous fen
We visited Eocene Falls, which has changed utterly since I last saw it. Mass slope failures have filled in its splash pool, made the plunge more reclined, and brought down the cliff face that used to support a populations of Cryptogramma stelleri, Arnica gracilis, Mannia sibirica, and the only hybrids I’ve ever seen of Heuchera cylindrica x glabra. I guess this must have happened during the flash floods of 2020.
One of the northernmost Pinus ponderosa, near Dunn Lake. There are a lot of northernmosts around Clearwater.
Habitat for lots of interesting beings
Erythranthe patula, the widespread but seldom seen northern form.
Mannia fragrans, a new find for this region, I think.
Erigeron speciosus and a very hot dog who encountered her first yellow-bellied marmots this day. At first she was afraid of them.
Heterotheca villosa
A view of the so-beautiful North Thompson Valley.
Ominous weather over the Thompson Rivers University Wetland Preserve
Platanthera obtusata
Dryopteris cristata
Eriophorum viridicarinatum
Bog-dog with stick
Carex lacustris x C. utriculata (or true C. lacustris? it’s a bit too immature for a certain identification). Either way, it’s a new one for the Clearwater Valley.
Moul Falls, where Ilias and I were joined by Connor Wardrop. Buki followed me along the passage behind the falls. An intense experience of sensory overload for her. She was scared to do it, and she’s refused on previous visits to the falls, but this time she did it, and then on the way back trotted along the passage confidently. Very proud of Kabuki!
Ribes oxyacanthoides, an odd phorophyte for Collema coniophilum
A blob of the rare lichen Collema coniophilum, growing on Ribes oxyacanthoides in the sprayzone of the falls. Isn’t it beautiful?!

Thank you Ilias, Connor, and Kabuki for the great excursions. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have teken the time to go exploring.

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