Floral assortment

An assortment of flowers near Mystery Lake for wildflower-Wednesday: bunchberry, paintbrush, and fireweed. I was surprised to find bunchberry still blooming, and this was the first time I’ve seen paintbrush on the North Shore. The fireweed photo is actually from Callaghan Valley (though there was plenty blooming next to the Mt Seymour parking lot), against a backdrop of thick smoke from the BC wildfires.

Guess who just found out how to post a slideshow on Instagram? Yay 🙂 I’ll try not to overuse it, but sometimes it’s nice to include a few photos in a single post to tell a wider story. The only downside is that it looks like the photos are forced to be square and I hadn’t prepared these photos with a square crop on mind, so I don’t feel they’re displayed to their best advantage.

Judging by the freshness of the bunchberry flowers, I’d say the North Shore (or at least that part of Mt Seymour) is about 3 weeks behind its usual bloom. We also saw quite a few fresh Queen’s cup, which was another lovely surprise. But the biggest surprise was the paintbrush: my eye was caught by the orangey-red colour on one of the ski runs, and then I found more along the edge of the open slopes just before we entered the forest. I’m pretty sure that I’ve never seen paintbrush on any of the North Shore mountains, though I have nagging memory of maybe seeing it once before somewhere else on Mt Seymour. I’ll need to scan our (ridiculously large) photo collection to be sure!

The fireweed photo is a bit of a cheat as it was taken the day before but I really wanted to show the smoky atmosphere in the background that couldn’t be seen in the fireweed photos I took in the parking lot. It was bad enough to put us off our original hiking plans…

Fireweed fluff

Fireweed fluff: a close up view of the seeds from fireweed (aka rosebay willowherb). It was amazing to see how tightly packed and perfectly arranged they were inside the pod.

Another shot from my daily-photo project of 5 years ago. Fireweed is a remarkably pretty flower, yet it often gets overlooked on account of it lining clearcuts and logging roads. Somehow it picks up that association of the downside of improved backcountry access – at least for me and a few of my hiking friends. Of course it doesn’t just grow in the backcountry; I found a patch on Marine Drive heading up to UBC and earmarked it to photograph in full bloom. That didn’t happen, and so I stopped on my way up that hill one morning to admire the seeds as the fluff was beginning to disperse. As I poked one of the pods with my finger, it burst open and the seeds in the photo above began to float away. I was stunned by the intricacy of the seeds that lay within – it was really quite beautiful to see, and I spent quite a few minutes just admiring them. I’ve tried poking fireweed pods several times since then but none have popped open in this way. It really must have been absolutely on the verge of opening.