by Ted Lea
BOTANY BC took place June 20 to June 25,
1994 in the Haida Gwaii (the Queen Charlotte Islands) and was one
of the finest meetings ever, comparable to the earlier Bamfield
meeting of 1989. The organizing committee of Ros Pojar, Jim Pojar,
Trudy Chatwin and Evelyn Hamilton should be congratulated for a
well organized and excellent program of both botanical and non-botanical
A short morning session of informative talks
by Jim Pojar, Leslie Goertzen, Alvin Yanchuk, and Mike Hawkes, followed
by field tours of tidal wetlands, coastal forests and sand dunes.
The expertise of Jim Pojar, Hans Roemer, Wilf Schofield and many
others was greatly utilized by participants. We saw some interesting
sand dune plants: beach peavine (Lathyrus littoralis), beach
lupine (Lupinus littoralis), seashore bluegrass (Poa douglasii
var. macrantha) and beach glehnia (Glehnia littoralis).
An evening salmon feast in the sun at Tlell, was followed by Woodhenge
on the beach, celebrating summer solstice. The site was blessed
by an eagle feather which assured no rain for the remaining days.
This was also the scene for a variety of bizarre botanical rituals.
Some botanists also took the opportunity to visit the famed Golden
The following day consisted of field tours
visiting an amazing array of bogs, including the blanket bogs with
their sundew, yellow waterlily, and natural bonsai of hemlock and
yellow-cedar, as well walks up Tow Hill and to the blow hole. That
evening incredible hors d'oeuvres in Masset were followed by a Haida
feast in Old Masset (Haida) where botanical and piscerian products
were consumed with great relish. This was followed by native dancing,
including a male only dance for botanical guests.
A highlight of the whole tour was the boat
trip through Skidegate Inlet to the west coast aboard the Anvil
Cove, hosted by Barbara and Keith Rowsell. Meals were again to high
standards, and camping in the forest was a wonderful experience
without the usual Queen Charlotte rain. Early morning sessions on
marine plants by Mike Hawkes led to the search for the elusive Sea
Palm (never found). Tidal pools teamed with interesting sea life
such as, sea cucumbers, sea anemones, starfish, many species of
marine algae and much, much more.
Unfortunately, the helicopter trip to the
alpine limestone areas and endemics, was cancelled due to low cloud,
however, hearty souls hiked as close as they could get and were
treated by seeing filmy fern, Mecodium wrightii and the Queen
Charlotte endemics: Newcombe's butterweed (Senecio newcombei),
Queen Charlotte butterweed (S. moresbiensis), curly-hair
moss-heather (Cassiope lycopodioides ssp. crista-pilosa),
Queen Charlotte violet (Viola biflora subsp. carlotae),
Calder's lovage (Ligusticum calderi) and Taylor's saxifrage
Many people took the boat tour to Gudal Bay,
and Marble Island to see the Horned Puffin nesting sites and the
speedy Peregrine Falcon. No whales were seen, assuring a return
to the Misty Isles in the future.
The new book Plants of Coastal British Columbia
was put to many uses during the field sessions. Many keen botanists
were busily seen keying out plants, while others were seen using
it as a fine seat cushion or sun block.