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Lovely flowers on the river banks


Although most people are familiar with the Alouette River from walking the dikes, there are many tributaries that feed into the river and lake.

The water flows through Maple Ridge Park, Allco Park, the 224th Street area and up near Academy Park and the Malcolm Knapp UBC Research Forest, at the east end of  Maple Ridge.

There are also many lesser streams feeding into these tributaries. All of these waterways are important to the health of the river bank and the spawning Salmon.

One of the delightful  things to see at  this time of  year in the grasses and under the trees along the river banks are the many wild  flowers.

The trillium, which has three large white petals and dark green leaves, stands tucked in the grass. It is easy to identify because it is always growing by itself. The flower is part of the lily family and, if picked, will be seriously injured and not grow again for many years. In fact, it is protected in our parks bylaw.

It is one of the plants that has its seeds spread by ants, who like the sticky coating around the seeds and carry them off to their nests, where they eat the coating and discard the seed in their garbage dump, giving the flower a fertile place to grow.

Another flower you will find is the wild bleeding heart. Smaller than the garden variety, it spreads like a pale pink carpet under the trees. The heart-shaped flowers hang like small bells along the stem of the plant and are surrounded by feather-like leaves. This, too, is a flower that has its seeds spread by ants.

The fringe cup is a member of the saxifrage family. It is scented and you can’t mistake its long stems with deeply fringed small round flowers running along it. The leaves are round with frilly edges and they grow in clumps. They used to be used as a herb to aid the appetite   but I would not recommend trying it.

These are just three of the many lovely flowers growing in the forest and along the river banks, all part of the fragile  eco-system  of the area.

Liz Hancock is a member of the Alouette River Management Society