Monday, April 23, 2007

Antelope Brush & Cacti

Its almost time. Its oh-so-close to time! Very very soon, the antelope brush of the southern interior of BC will be BURSTING into their gorgeous yellow blooms!

I was down at Hayne's Point again yesterday - yes, my favourite park - and checking out what was starting to pop out for Spring. This park is not only a protected wetlands reserve, but it is also home to an abundance of Antelope Brush, which is one of the most endangered plants in Canada! In fact, the "Antelope Brush Ecosystem" is one of the 4 most endangered ecosystems in Canada.

Once I 'googled' antelope brush, I managed to find out a lot of information about this 'endangerment' and some interesting articles/studies done about them. If you're interested in all that environmental stuff, click here to read more.

So, I could see that these plants were nearing their blossom time. I searched through the bushes in the sunniest location and managed to find a few open blossoms already. A few more warm sunny days & they should all start popping open. Hope to go back there this coming weekend & see if they are ready yet.

This is how the bushes look right now. In the winter & fall, when they have no leaves at all. They look rather menacing. Black leggy creatures spread out in the sandy valley. Almost like a big spider or something. I always think they look like the creatures from the movie "Starship Troopers". It was a cheesey space movie about killer bugs (but I loved it) and winter antelope brush always makes me think of it.

Because Haynes Point is, as the sign above states, a sensitive wetland preserve, people are advised to stick to the trails & not wander into the grasses or trailsides so as not to damage any of this delicate ecosystem. Now I realize that it is not only for the ecosystems' protection but for ours too. Because this sort of ecosystem not only contains grasses & different sorts of brush, but if you're not careful, you can stumble into a big pile of CACTUS!

I was just about to kneel down on the edge of the path to photograph these antelope brush blossoms when I looked down and saw that I was almost about to kneel in this pile of those prickly beauties. Yikes! That would have been a most unwelcome surprise. So instead, I knelt in the middle of the path & attempted to get some photos of the cacti themselves.

Thinking I was might lucky to have avoided that unpleasant shock, I suddenly looked down at myself wondering if they could sporadically jump out and attack me. Guess I stepped too close to the edge of the path because sticking out of my shoe was this image below...

So, don't forget to obey the signs, and, watch out for the bits that may stray across your path anyways. But do enjoy the beautiful sights, smells & textures (non-prickly) of Spring!


  1. Had a run in with a cactus myself one time. I was vacationing in Arizona, and unlike our blog friend Sharon Lynne who knows how to shift gears on a dirt-bike, I tried to ride up a sand dune in the wrong gear. My quad conked out and guess what? I rolled backwards down the hill, right into a spiny cactus. Ouch... I guess following the rules and sometimes learning the rules are pretty important, right? (Sounds like future posting material for Adventurous Living, eh?)

    Hope your yard sale was a success. I've had a few of those in my day. In fact, my sisters tease me and say, "I wonder how long before Sue puts that in her next yard sale." (smile)

    And I love lilacs too. Planted one a few years back and enjoy the sweet scent drifting through my window.

  2. Susan - I don't know how to shift gears either, hence, the quad hubby just got for me only has forward & reverse. Eventually I'd like to learn to ride a dirt bike, gears & all but right now, its just baby steps...I'm not ready for the dunes yet, or cactus up my butt. LOL Hope you got all the prickles pulled out!

    Thanks - yard sale went well. Probably still enough stuff to do another one eventually but they are pretty exhausting! For now, I'll enjoy some gardening weekends instead!

  3. Ouch! That was a good post! And I loved the Lilacs post. I haven't seen lilacs around in our area. I always wondered what they looked like. I have an old book my grandmother gave me "Under the Lilacs" by Louisa Mae Alcott (I think)

    Happy Birthday on Saturday!!!! I hope you have a wonderful day!

    My birthday is on Sunday!

  4. I have always been fascinated with Canada and in particular British Columbia, and so viewing your amazing plant photo's as well as reading about them too, give me further education.

    Thank you for sharing such a wonderful post.

  5. Another beautiful entry Beck - I am very partial to the Antelope Brush... now if I recall correctly a healthy size bush - say one that is like our shoulder hight is actaully very very very old, right? Or is the greasewood? I'm just not sure now... will have to do some research.

    Zikes, these cacti, I swear, jump... ok, so they might not SAY anywhere they do that, but how the heavens do they get on my shoes and pants when I carefully walk in the very center of a trail, huh, huh, huh?

    Do we have a date today... or?

    I may go and do some gardening... but will check my 'inbox' and listen for the phone (after 3, ok?)



  6. SQUEEE!!! You're coming to MY house....

  7. Beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing. Oh, and happy 30th birthday!