Sunday, June 17, 2012

Plant Profile; Corallorhiza maculata ssp. maculata

Let's talk about Orchids. Do you like orchids? The ones that appear around about February 14th at the grocery store every year? Those orchids are nice, but they can't hold a candle to our native orchids. They may not be as big, showy or in-your-face, in fact you have probably walked right past this little guy a hundred times, but not anymore.  
This is Corallorhiza maculata, or Spotted Coral root, 
a lovely delicate native orchid.
Things you should know about it;
  • It has no leaves or photosynthetic tissue, in fact it is saprophytic (call someone that in a bar and try not to get punched in the face), which means it derives it nutrients from decaying organic matter rather than creating food from sunlight and H2O like most other plants. Specifically, these orchids parasitize the mycelium of fungi which grow in a symbiotic relationship with the roots of certain trees. Did you get that? That's right, Tree-Mushroom-Orchid Trinity! Ecology couldn't get more interesting. This also means you can't cultivate them in your garden, unless you're a wizard. Are you a wizard? Didn't think so. 
  • They tend to cluster at the roots of trees in moist shady coniferous forests and subalpine woods where a shaft of light can reach the ground. 
  • They are self pollinating and bloom from May to September occurring from Prince of Wales island all the way to California.
  • Great places to spot them in Victoria include Goldstream park, Mt. Doug, Mt. Finlayson, Whitty's lagoon, and Francis Scott King park.
  • It is identifiable from other Corallorhiza maculata by its magenta spotted lip.

Where did I get this info?
"Plant Of The Pacific Northwest Coast"; Pojar and Mackinnon

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Onions and False onions on Mt. Finlayson

Brodiaea hyacinthina
Allium acumintatum

Spectacular Rubus spectabilis

There's something about picking berries, you start and you can't stop until your stomach and your requisitioned shirt/berry hammock are full. The salmon berries that didn't end up in our mouths were baked into sourdough brioche rolls.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Delphiums and Orchids at Bear hill

Delphinium menziesii
Corallorhiza maculata

Delphinium meziesii
Achillea millefolium

 Friday we did a 40K bike ride along the lochside trail to Bear hill, eating salmon berries and smelling the roses along the way. Bear hill is like Mt. Doug without all of the people. A great park to visit with lots of healthy beautiful flora.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Rosa gymnocarpa

 Gymnocarpa is by far my favorite species of wild rose. Partly because of nostalgia and partly because of the delicate foliage and flowers, which are smaller than nutkana. 
When I lived in Oregon, The best place to see it was growing out of the ʻAʻā lava in the high desert.The stark contrast of lush green and soft pink against craggy black lava was striking. There's nothing like natures garden.
I picked this plant up on Salt Spring and planted it in a three gallon pot with a compost potting soil mix and some banana peel and garlic. Normal roses like that stuff, so species roses should too, right? That's my theory anyway. My grandma plants whole fish underneath her roses and swears by it, next time I have fish some of it may end up in my flower pots.