Plants in our Coastal Douglas-fir Zone
Coastal Douglas-fir ecosystems are among BC’s most imperilled coastal ecosystems. Being highly accessible, they were the first coastal forests to be targeted for corporate logging or cleared for agricultural and urban development. Only about 0.5% of the land base formerly occupied by CDF forest is now composed of “older forest” (greater than 120 years old). S’ul-hween-X’Pey (Elder Cedar) Nature Reserve is a rare and fine Gulf Island example of an older CDF forested ecosystem.
Gabriola’s most common flora
Hundreds of species of wild flowers can be found on Gabriola, but a few dominate. The Gabriola Museum grounds contain many of those less rare species.
- GaLTT member Phyllis Fafard has maintained a list of Gabriola native flora (PDF download) spotted on our island over the last thirty years, with help from several visiting botanists and plant enthusiasts. In 2022 Phyllis updated her list referencing the 2018 edition of Flora of the Pacific Northwest, by C. Leo Hitchcock, Arthur Cronquist and others. (NOTE: Asterisks (*) indicate introduced taxa and bold type indicates either “red listed” (endangered) or “blue listed” (at risk) plants. Mosses and lichens are not included in this list.)
- GaLTT member Nick Doe closely observed Coats Marsh Regional Park between 2015 and 2021 and you can also download Nick’s observations of Coats Marsh flora.
You may see photos and locations of the largest native tree species on Gabriola in our Big Tree Registry.
In moister ecosystems, western red cedar, western hemlock, grand fir, big-leaf maple, red alder, and western flowering dogwood are common forest canopy associates of Douglas-fir, along with understorey shrubs such as salmonberry, thimbleberry, red elderberry, and Indian plum. Common herbaceous plants on moist sites include sword fern, vanilla leaf, western trillium, and three-leaved foamflower.