Vignette: Whytecliff Park, 15 May 2022

Most people go to Whytecliff Park for the beach, to scramble over the rocks at low tide to get to Whyte Islet, or to go SCUBA diving in the sheltered bay. And sure, we do enjoy wandering over to the islet – at least when the rock is dry, unlike today. But there’s a spot that was introduced to us which harbours a superb patch of chocolate lilies. It’s not hard to find – in fact it’s right next to the trail – but it seems that not many people, and perhaps then only locals, bother to explore the small network of trails on the forested knoll behind the beach.

The park is another good spot for some (now) uncommon flowers, at least in the Vancouver area. Out on the islet we’ve found sea blush, blue-eyed Mary, and at least one variety of succulent. Then there are the chocolate lilies – which I haven’t seen anywhere else close to Vancouver – with some coastal strawberry, white fawn lilies, and death camas. If anyone knows of other places some of these grow (other than the Lighthouse Park, the Gulf Islands, or Vancouver Island) then I’d love to know!

But the stars of this show are the chocolate lilies, which we were a little late visiting this year as they were beginning to fade. Nonetheless, there were plenty to admire, while the even light and recent rain made them all the more photogenic. Here’s a selection from this visit.

While the lilies are definitely the main draw, the blue dots of blue-eyed Mary are not to be overlooked. Much harder to photograph, but just as pretty to look at!

Last, but not least, we found a stunning little patch of intense pink western coralroot that I simply could not ignore.

So there you have it. There’s more to Whytecliff Park than just the beach, at least for flower afficionados!

This post is dedicated to the late Caroline Helbig, an online friend I never had the pleasure of meeting in person. I have her to thank for letting me know about the chocolate lilies in the park, and I will be forever grateful.

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