A wild bee harvesting pollen from the bloom of a wild rose, Rosa cf nutkana, Burgoyne Bay, Salt Spring Island

2020 May 26 bee pollinating Rosa cf nutkana, Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park * P1010129

Larger pollinators often depend on larger flowers. In this case, a relatively large wild bee is harvesting pollen, and perhaps nectar, from this wild rose — just after the peak total spring pollination of most prolific native pollinators on the Gulf and San Juan Islands.

buzz pollination of thimbleberry, Rubus parviflorus, by wild bees

Environmental researcher, Dominic Demers on buzz pollination by wild bees of thimbleberry, Ruckle Provincial Park, Salt Spring Island, 2020 May 15 * P1010150

Environmental researcher Dominic Demers on wild bee buzz pollination of thimbleberry, Rubus parviflorus

ḴEXMIN, Lomatium nudicaule: the medicine and food

2020 May 6 ḴEXMIN [SENĆOŦEN], Lomatium nudicaule, in a Lekwungen field, in Beacon Hill Park, Victoria, Vancouver Island P1010160

ḴEXMIN [SENĆOŦEN], Lomatium nudicaule, is a powerful flowering plant linking humans to the ecosystems in which we live in the drier areas near the West Coast of North America from Northern California to the Salish Sea.

Gray’s desert parsley, Lomatium grayi, on the cliffs of Hwmet’utsun

2020 May 5 Lomatium grayi, Hwmet’utsun, Salt Spring Island * P1010118

Within Canada, Gray’s desert parsley, Lomatium grayi, is at the northern edge of its range, which extends south-east to Utah, and only occurs on dry, south-west facing cliffs on Salt Spring, Galiano, and Prevost Islands.

After many of years of field studies, I had only encountered Lomatium grayi from a distance — looking up at it on a cliff slope from twenty or thirty feet below. While conducting field studies on May 5, 2020, in the ecological reserve on Hwmet’utsun, I was able to safely climb up to a relatively recent clump (with just one stalk) on a site that I have passed a hundred times. This could well have been the first year that this plant flowered.

A 2018 paper suggests that the far northern populations be renamed “Lomatium depauperatum” (Alexander, Jason Andrew, Wayne Whaley and Natalie Blain. 2018. THE LOMATIUM GRAYI COMPLEX (APIACEAE) OF THE WESTERN UNITED STATES: A TAXONOMIC REVISION BASED ON MORPHOMETRIC, ESSENTIAL OIL COMPOSITION, AND LARVA-HOST COEVOLUTION STUDIES. Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas Vol. 12, No. 2 (20 NOVEMBER 2018), pp. 387-444.) but it remains unclear about whether or not there was comprehensive analysis of the Gulf Island populations. This taxonomic revision has yet to be fully accepted and the Recovery Plan for this rare plant in Canada is still organized as for Lomatium grayi.

Menzies’ Larkspur, Delphinium menziesii, slowly re-establishes in exclosures protected from excessive deer browsing

2020 May 3 Delphinium menziesii in exclosure on Hwmet’utsun, Salt Spring Island P1010006

Menzies’ Larkspur, Delphinium menziesii, the Pacific Northwest’s native Delphinium, is slowly re-establishing in exclosures in parts of the Hwmet’utsun protected landscapes. On most of the mountain, deer browsing combined with declining meadow habitat, from forest encroachment due to fire suppression, has been so excessive that few populations, if any, persist outside of exclosures and steep cliffs.

Springbank clover, Trifolium wormskioldii, persisting in an old Salish food production area on Hwmet’utsun, Salt Spring Island

Springbank clover, Trifolium wormskioldii, in the upper exclosure
in the Hwmet’utsun protected landscapes 2020 May 3 * P1010073

While the Salish cultivated Springbank clover, Trifolium wormskioldii, on relatively dry sites, such as Clover Point in Victoria, much more has been recorded about indigenous cultivation in estuaries north of the Salish Sea. This site on Salt Spring Island, at nearly 300 metres, is still relatively warm and damp from seasonal seepages. But how the Cowichan cultivated, harvested, and stewarded Springbank clover, if at all on this mountain, is not so clear.

Springbank clover, Trifolium wormskioldii, in the upper exclosure
in the Hwmet’utsun protected landscapes 2020 May 3 * P1010076