Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Coastal BC Plants: Vancouver Groundcone

Vancouver Groundcone

Last spring, up on the cliff near my garden plot, I noticed an unusual plant pushing out of the ground at the base of a fir tree.

Using my guidebook, I identified it as a Vancouver Groundcone. It's a parasitic herb that grows with salal and obtains nutrients from its roots. While this specimen was pushing its way through the duff at the base of a tree, it was right next to a big patch of salal.

Vancouver Groundcone grows to about 12 cm (4.7 in) in height from a thick underground tuber that was sometimes eaten raw by First Nations people. They come in red, yellow and purple. Mine were a rich golden (almost pinkish) yellow. These are the first I've noticed, but the book says each one produces 300,000 plus seeds. I may be seeing more soon.

Are you interested in plant identification? I use Plants of Coastal British Columbia by Jim Pojar and Andy MacKinnon. I like it because it includes trees, shrubs, wildflowers, aquatics, grasses, ferns, mosses, lichens and, of course, some oddball (and very interesting) plants. In addition to the color pictures, line drawings, and identification information, the narratives include how the plants were used by First Nations people and early settlers. I highly recommend it for the casual observer as well as experienced botanists. -- Margy


  1. Interesting Margy, I have never seen this plant and we have salal coming out our ears up here. I will have to look now that you have peeked my curiousity! Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Strange-looking plant! I've never seen it either, although I'm quite familiar with that book - it's an excellent resource.

    BTW - Just came back from a wonderful weekend getaway along Sechelt Inlet and I'm very envious of those living on the Sunshine Coast! :)

  3. Interesting indeed....loved learning about plants in my youth, maybe I'll get back to it♪

  4. The Vancouver Groundcone looks wonderful. It must be indigenous to your surroundings. Here in the Netherlands we don't have them.
    Thanks for your visit and extra information about the Vikings. I know that they were in North America. They called it Vinland, I believe. They left their traces all over Great Britain. William the Conqueror was a French Viking.
    You are right :Norway is the most beautiful country I have seen and it looks like New Zealand and a bit like Scotland.
    I wish you a happy week.
    Wil, ABCW Team.

  5. What a fascinating plant; I've never seen anything like that.

    SamuraiFrog, ABCW

  6. Strange plant!

  7. Very unique and unusual for me. Haven't seen them here. Great captures, thank you for showing.
    Happy ABCW!