Plants of the Bog

Keep your eye out for some of these species that you might be able to see if you look in the right places!

Plants are abundant in Burns Bog, both in numbers and diversity! There are 14 different plant communities in Burns Bog. Many of these communities exist in the Delta Nature Reserve, as the historic lagg of Burns Bog features many variable climatic characteristics. This includes the amount of precipitation, depth to mineral soil, and the proximity to mineral rich upland runoff. As a result, the Delta Nature Reserve features several plant communities that change right before your eyes as you walk along the boardwalk.

BOG LAUREL

Kalmia microphylla

Found across western North America often in acidic peaty soils. This plant requires environments without an abundance of trees or larger shrubs, as it rarely grows to 2 feet tall. Sometimes mistaken for Labrador Tea, its bright pink blooms can be seen in April-May.

LABRADOR TEA

Rhododendron groenlandicum 

This species is found across Canada, and northern U.S. states in bogs and acidic soils. Uses of the plant include the brewing of leaves into a tea, although overconsumption can have adverse health effects such as nausea and dizziness due to terpenoid ledol.

BOG CRANBERRY

Vaccinium oxycoccos

Native to Western Canada and the U.S., First Nations harvested these berries for eating and were a huge part of their food economy. Still popular today as a gathering fruit, they act as a food for a variety of wildlife. Many birds also use the plant for nesting and foraging.

SWEET GALE

Myrica gale

Found across North America and is abundant in wetlands of the Pacific Northwest. Waxy leaves produce a sweet scent that has been used to repel insects. This plant has also been known to attract animals and can be used to help increase biodiversity.

COTTON GRASS

Eriophorum chamissonis

Found throughout B.C., this plant commonly grows near aquatic environments with saturated soil. Though it does not produce a flower, the grass features an inflorescence at the tip, which creates its fluffy appearance.

SPAHAGNUM MOSS

Sphagnum spp.

Sphagnum mosses are also known as peat mosses, and a variety of them can be found within the Bog. This species of moss thrives in aquatic environments and can form dense mats, both small and large, across the Bog’s floor.

SUNDEW

Drosera rotundifolia

This small sunlight loving plant is actually carnivorous, often ensnaring the same insects that pollinate it with its sticky leaves. Along with its long red hairs, this plant also flowers every year with small white petaled flowers.

HARDHACK

Spiraea douglasii

A common plant throughout B.C., this flower grows densely around rivers and streams and earned its name from colonizers who found it difficult to hack through. This plant attracts a variety of butterflies and is virtually pest and disease free.

CLOUDBERRY

Rubus chamaemorus

This plant is usually found in northern regions like Scandinavia. Burns Bog is unique, being the lowest altitude it has been seen in. Its flowers  attract many birds and butterflies, and its bright amber berries are edible and very tasty.

YELLOW WATERLILY

Nuphar lutea

Initially native to the eastern U.S., but has naturalized to all of North America. It can often be confused with the more common water lily (Nymphaea). First Nations consumed the rootstocks, and the seeds were ground into flour.

BOG BILBERRY

Vaccinium uliginosum

Uncommon south of 52°N, but native to Burns Bog, this plant attracts and acts as a food source for various birds, insects, and mammals. First Nations of the area also harvested them to be eaten fresh or cooked.

SKUNK CABBAGE

Lysichiton americanus

Native to North America, this plant is typically found in wetlands. It gets its name from its pungent odour which attracts pollinators such as bees and dragonflies. While edible with proper preparation, it is not recommended.