Thursday, 3 June 2010

Flower Power

The birding's been a bit crap for the last couple of days, to be honest. 'Highlights' have included the remaining greater yellowlegs at Holden Creek, 6 spotted sandpiper at Nanaimo River and another 8 at least at Holden, osprey and merlin from my office window, black oystercatcher and surf scoter on my lunchtime amble down to the waterfront, and not much else really.
I did, however, come across this rather stunning flower at the estuary. I have since discovered that it is a common camas -  a relative of the lily family. 
Apparently, the sweet tasting bulbs of common camas were highly valued and traded as a food by various indigenous peoples, including the Coast Salish of Vancouver Island, Squamish, Comox, and Kwak-waka'wakw of the British Columbia coast. 
This plant seems to be associated with wet meadows and often grows near Garry oaks, so it seems odd to me that there should be camas on tidal saltmarsh. 
I'm sure that local botany experts will tell me either a: that this is a normal occurrence or, b: that they've been artificially introduced, intentionally or otherwise. Anyway, whatever, it's a lovely flower with an interesting local history and in the absence of any ornithological excitement, and an almost total absence of butterflies and dragonflies, I'm happy to share it.

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