ISSN 1188-603X

No. 435 May 4, 2011 Victoria, B.C.
Dr. A. Ceska, P.O.Box 8546, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8W 3S2


The program and registration for Botany BC 2011 at Tatlayoko Lake in the beautiful Chilcotin area of BC has now been posted on the Botany BC website at:  

Please feel free to send this note on to anyone you think might be interested in the program and please feel free to contact any of the organizing committee members if you have any questions about this year's BBC event.

Hope to see you there!  


From: David Richardson e-mail: David.Richardson@SMU.CA

Frances Anderson, Rob Cameron and I, are preparing to undertake research and write a Cosewic Status Report (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) on Hydrothyria venosa J.L. Russell (Peltigera hydrothyria Mi?dl. & Lutzoni), the waterfan lichen in Canada. This leafy lichen occurs on the bottom of  shallow, fast flowing upland streams.

We hope (with the help of Canadian colleagues) to visit as many of  the known sites of this lichen in Canada as possible to determine if the lichen is still extant at each site. We plan to assess the number of thalli, measure water parameters etc. as well as look for possible new locations nearby. There are records of this lichen from eastern Canada (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Quebec) as well as from Western Canada.  We will be gathering records from herbaria in Canada, but from our experience in writing a COSEWIC report on Degelia plumbea (Lightf.) P.M. Jørg. & P. James, we know that additional and unexpected records can come from personal herbaria of lichenologists or from herbaria outside Canada.

If you have any records of Hydrothyria venosa (syn.: Peltigera hydrothyria) from BC and the Pacific Northwest, we would very much like details of the record as well as any information on the number of thalli found, ecology of the site, etc. In addition if you searched particular rivers or streams for this lichen but did not find it, then that information too is valuable for the 'Search Effort or Distribution' sections of our report.


From: F. Lomer, Honourary Research Associate, UBC Herbarium, Vancouver, B.C. e-mail: Prior parts: Part 1, Part 2

Elatine rubella Rydb. - Elatinaceae

A small prostrate annual of wet muddy sites, often half buried. It grows in the wettest depression pools on tidal mudflats and flood pools along the Fraser, Pitt and Harrison Rivers. 14 sites are known in Greater Vancouver, all along the riverflats, except for one site on the shore of Latimer Lake in Surrey, where it is very scarce and was not found in recent years. It will rarely show up from time to time in Fraser River sand dredgings used as preload in preparation for building construction (UBC: Lomer 97-604).

Eleocharis ovata (Roth) Roem. & Schult. - Cyperaceae

A small annual spike-rush that was known for certain in BC only from Ellison Lake in the Okanagan. During the 2008 CDC survey, a population of over 1000 plants was found on the east shore of Hatzic Lake (UBC: Lomer 6867) and found again on the muddy receded shore of Latimer Lake, Surrey (UBC: Lomer 6883).

At Hatzic it was growing on emergent mudflats with Limosella aquatica L., Eleocharis acicularis (L.) Roem. & Schult., and Crassula aquatica (L.) Schoenl. It looks much like the common annual spike-rush in the Fraser Valley - Eleocharis obtusa (Willd.) Schult., but the tubercles on the achene tops are narrower and more triangular in outline. The stems are mostly down-curved and are of variable lengths giving the plants a low starburst-like appearance. The Latimer Lake population numbers about 500 plants in the muddiest sites and though these plants were observed in previous years they were assumed to be E. obtusa , so it is quite likely that more sites will be found in the Fraser Valley and indeed in southern British Columbia once this species becomes better known.

Eleocharis parvula (Roem. & Schult.) Link ex Bluff, Nees & Schauer - Cyperaceae

A diminutive perennial with bulb-like basal tubers, restricted to brackish seashores and estuaries in BC. Known in Greater Vancouver from the head of Burrard Inlet, the Serpentine estuary, Little Campbell River estuary and Iona Island (UBC: Lomer 97-596). It does not grow in freshwater sites in The Fraser Valley. I expect that a thorough search of coastal estuaries in Brackish sites where the tidal shore is exposed compacted mud, will reveal that this species is not of conservation concern in BC.

Elodea nuttallii (Planch.) H. St. John - Hydrocharitaceae

An aquatic plant mostly of shallow water along the major rivers. It looks like the common Elodea canadensis, but the leaves are narrower and toothed along the upper margins and the male flowers are sessile and break free from the leaf axils and float to the surface for pollination. Known from 12 sites in Greater Vancouver, all along the Fraser and Pitt Rivers (UBC: Lomer 97-584).

It is to be expected in other sites up the valley and will likely be removed from the rare plant list eventually because it is widespread in BC and often overlooked. It can survive in polluted water and has been introduced to places far outside its native range.

Epipactis gigantea Dougl. ex Hook. - Orchidaceae

This robust orchid of wet, often calcareous sites, was known in the Fraser Valley from Cultus Lake where it was collected more than 70 years ago (UBC: H.H. Rose s.n.). It was rediscovered there in 2004 (UBC: Lomer 5404). It is quite frequent along the northern lakeshore for several 100 meters. It is not yet threatened on this undeveloped side of Cultus Lake, though the near-constant summertime wave action caused by boaters is battering the shoreline plants.

In 2009 a large poulation of E. gigantea was dscovered by Monica Pearson in a wetland east of Agassiz. As well, a few small patches exist on the Fraser River islands southwest of Agassiz. Surprisingly, these plants are not in wet sites in summer, but are moistened or even inundated during high runoff.

Eutrochium maculatum (L.) E. E. Lamont var. bruneri (A. Gray) E. E. Lamont - Asteraceae

For years it was believed that this outstanding perennial (Joe Pye weed) was merely an introduction from eastern North America where it is quite common. It was collected several times from 1897 to 1926 in the Vancouver area (UBC: Henry s.n.), in the 1940's in Huntingdon, and up to as late as 1955 near Chilliwack. It was assumed, over time, it had died away. But evidence suggests that this taxon is a very rare native that is barely hanging on in the Fraser Valley.

Variety bruneri is the western component of a species that is of sporadic and rare occurrence at the westernmost portion of its range. It is believed to be extinct from Washington (Whatcom Co.). A small population existed near Steveston in the Fraser delta, but that disappeared by natural causes by about 2000. In 2007 Eutrochium maculatum var. bruneri was rediscovered on Kirkland Island about 4 km E of the Steveston site (UBC: Lomer 6318).

This population seems more secure with about 126 flowering stems counted and is not endangered by any development threats, though it is still a small population that could succumb to disease or eventual crowding by Phalaris arrundinacea L. and Lythrum salicaria L.. It seems to be a very poor reproducer from seed; just one juvenile plant was observed away from the main population. The Huntingdon site is apparently lost to development. The Chilliwack site is from 6 1/2 miles east of town. This would be about Rosedale. There is a slough with potential habitat in the area, but no plants have been observed during more than 10 years of cursory searching.

It was observed in Ladner Marsh in the late 1960's (Terry Taylor, personal communication), but it has not been found again, though the habitat is vast. In 2009 a second site was discovered by Monica Pearson in a wetland east of Agassiz in the Fraser Valley. The only other known site for E. maculatum var. bruneri in British Columbia is in a wetland southwest of Revelstoke, discovered by Curtis Bjork (UBC: Lomer 7113).

Glyceria leptostachya Buckley - Poaceae

A perennial grass from wet places in coastal BC. Known in the Fraser Valley from 6 sites in the Vancouver area, east to near Barnston Island, Surrey (UBC: Lomer 93-250). Elsewhere in BC it is widespread on the coast, but rarely encountered from the Queen Charlotte Islands south to Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. Generally a microscope is needed to separate it from Glyceria borealis (Nash) Batch., G. fluitans (L.) R. Br., or G. x occidentalis (Piper) J.C. Nelson, all of which occur in the Fraser Valley.

Helenium autumnale L. var. grandiflorum (Nutt.) Torr. & A. Gray - Asteraceae

This is one of the relatively few native BC plants that has found a place in the horticultural trade. Var. grandiflorum is a larger variety with longer ray flowers and more numerous heads, in well-grown plants at least. It is difficult to tell from the common var. montanum which is a variety that grows on river shores along the Thompson and Fraser Rivers as well as several other places in southeast BC. Var. montanum also can be found as a native plant in riverbars of the upper Fraser Valley from Agassiz to Hope and rarely downriver as well, usually in sand dredgings. Var. grandiflorum can be told by its larger flower heads and rays, taller stature and more robust habit.

Var. grandiflorum can be found scattered along a 20 km stretch on both sides of the Pitt River from Douglas Island to Pitt Lake(UBC: Bradfield 92).

It was discovered on Westham Island in 2008 and can be expected anywhere Along the Fraser River on wet vegetated shoes, east to about Hope.

There are old collections from ditches in Langley; these sites may or may not have been destroyed. There is a large population in back of the Ruby Creek Rest Stop, Hwy 7, west of Hope.

Heterocodon rariflorum Nutt. - Campanulaceae

A small annual from seepage sites on sunny slopes. A population was discovered 4 km west of Hope in 2008 (UBC: Lomer 6607). To be sought in similar habitats on the lower mountain slopes north of the Fraser River, but it is expected to be very rare here.

Hydrophyllum tenuipes A. Heller - Hydrophyllaceae

A woodland species from moist shaded sites that is occasionally also found in grassy clearings. It can be found in the Abbotsford area (UBC: Pincott 5456).

Elsewhere in BC it is known only from Goldstream and the Sooke River on Vancouver Island. It should be sought along shaded streambanks and ravines in the central valley.

Juncus occidentalis Wiegand - Juncaceae

This native rush was not recognized by most botanists here until recently. It is proving to be quite frequent on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. It was not thought to occur in the Fraser Valley aside from a small, presumably introduced, population on a highway bank in Coquitlam. Western rush was found in a field below Sumas Mountain, east of Abbotsford, during the 2008 CDC survey (UBC: Lomer 6840) and it may be expected to occur at other sites in the Fraser Valley. It looks very much like the common Juncus tenuis Willd., but can be recognized by the short, rounded sheath-top auricles. Juncus tenuis auricles are long and pointed. It will likely be removed from the rare list once more collections are made.

Juncus oxymeris Engelm. - Juncaceae

This rush with the flattened blades and multi-branched flower clusters is one of the most noticeable in the BC flora, but is often confused with the common Juncus ensifolius Wikstr. Juncus oxymeris is a more robust plant with a more diffuse inflorescence with more pointed fruit capsules. It is locally common along the tidal shores of the Fraser and Pitt Rivers. It is also known along the tidal shores of the Somass River in Port Alberni on Vancouver Island, but nowhere else in BC as far as I can tell. In BC this species is not known away from tidal habitats, except as a waif on sand dredgings near these sites. It occurs from near Steveston, throughout the South Arm of the Fraser, sporadically along the North Arm, rarely from Richmond to the Coquitlam River due to lack of habitat, and is dominant for a 20 km stretch on both sides of the Pitt from Douglas Island to Pitt Lake (UBC: T. Taylor, s.n.).

Despite its relative abundance it is still considered a rare plant in BC due to its limited range and heavy development pressures in the lower Fraser River.

Lilaea scilloides (Poir.) Hauman - Juncaginaceae

A rather succulent annual that is often overlooked because it grows in wet tidal mud in our area and is rather inconspicuous amongst the sparse vegetation. Known from 18 sites in Greater Vancouver along tidal shores of the Fraser and Pitt Rivers (UBC: Henry s.n.). It is also known from Pitt Lake. I would not expect it to occur outside areas of tidal influence in our area.

Some sites are threatened by riverside development, while others are secure as part of the tidal wetlands that are not presently under direct development pressures.

Lindernia dubia (L.) Pennell var. anagallidea (Michx.) Cooperr. - Scrophulariaceae

Known from about 30 sites in Greater Vancouver and rarely elsewhere in the Fraser Valley such as Hatzic Lake and Sumas Mt (UBC: Lomer 6842). Elsewhere in British Columbia it occurs from the Okanagan north to Kamloops Lake and Shuswap Lake. In the Fraser Valley it grows in a variety of ephemeral habitats: pond and lake shores, tidal river flats and muddy shores, dried pools, field depressions, cranberry fields, mud puddles, dredged sand landfills, etc. and even as a roadside weed in pavement cracks and gaps. It survives in man-made habitats and thus is able to persist under the development pressures in the Lower Mainland, but these populations are prone to disappear over time.

Lupinus rivularis Dougl. ex Lindl. - Fabaceae

This attractive lupine grows in man-made habitats such as dykes, railroad Track sides, dredged sand piles and roadsides in Greater Vancouver (UBC: B. Klinkenberg 01-13). It is also occasionally planted in semi-natural sites. Often these plants are a genetic mix with other species. It is unclear to me whether this species is native to the Fraser Valley, but it does occur natively to the south in Washington (as well as Sooke on Vancouver Island), and may have spread naturally into the Lower Mainland, thus it is tracked as a rare native plant.

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