Meet Your Coastal Rainforest Friends!
This belongs to
These notecards will introduce you to three groups of coastal rainforest plant life:
berry-bearing shrubs ferns & trees
Taking Care of the Forest The Young Naturalists’ Motto is “Observe and Conserve.” When visiting natural spaces, practise respect and care: • Walk quietly; you will see more wildlife. • Stay on designated trails at all times. • Leave everything as you found it.
How many of these are living in a forest near you? These cards are organized into families. Read the first card of each family group, then take a look at some of the family members. Can you find them?
Note on Respecting Parks Everything you find in a park is either food or shelter for something else. Do not remove things from parks - in many parks, it is actually illegal to do so.
are important things to The 10 Essentials
carry with you when outdoors. In an emergency situation, they could save your life! For more information please visit: northshorerescue.com/education/what-to-bring/ Flashlight Extra clothes Whistle Pocket knife Fire starter First aid kit Extra food and water Navigation (GPS or map) Communications (charged cell phone) Shelter and/or rain cape (big, bright plastic garbage bags work fine)
Note on the definition of ‘family’ We define “family” as “any group of individuals closely related to each other.” We are not using the taxonomic definition of Family.
Note on Latin names of species Each species has two words in its Latin name. The first word is the genus and the second word is the species. For example: the Latin name for Thimbleberry is
Living organisms that are the same species can breed with each other and produce babies that are eventually capable of breeding themselves. Living organisms that are the same genus share similar characteristics, such as having aggregate berries (the Rubus genus).
Friends of the family All living things in a particular habitat or ecosystem are connected. They can be linked by food, shelter, or shared space. The Friends of the Family cards highlight some of these connections.
Invasive species Invasive species are plants or animals that humans brought from far away that cause harm to the ecosystem. They may have been brought here on purpose for crops or garden plants, or by accident, attached to other cargos. By competing with native species for food, water, shelter, and space they cause big problems in ecosystems.
Legend Information pages
Friend of the Family
Look for this!
The Berry Family
The Rubus family has
This means their berries are made of many smaller berries! There are
If you like to eat raspberries or blackberries, you have already eaten
a member of the Rubus
hundreds of members of
the Rubus family.
We have chosen 4 to show you.
The leaves are very soft to the touch due to the tiny hairs on either side.
Thimbleberry Rubus parviflorus
gm Walter Si
Thimbleberry is sometimes called ‘nature’s toilet paper’, due to its incredibly soft leaves. The berries are edible, but very seedy. They were often dried then eaten by First Nations people.
A thimbleberry can fit over your finger like a thimble.
Salmonberry Rubus spectabilis
Photo by D
Rufous Hummingbirds migrate north annually by following the blooms of salmonberry bushes. When you see the flowers start to appear in the spring, look for hummingbirds!
If you cover the top leaf, the bottom 2 look like a butterfly.
The berries can be yellow, orange, or pink-red.
The leaflets are in groups of three.
Photo by D
Trailing blackberries are delicious â€“ raccoons, squirrels, and even banana slugs love to eat them. This is the only native species of blackberry found in this area.
Trailing blackberry canâ€™t hold itself up, so it stays close to the ground.
Himalayan Blackberry Rubus armeniacus
Photo by Ki
invasi species! ve !!
Himalayan blackberry can grow up to 10 metres in a year and produce up to 13,000 seeds in just one square metre! Even if only 1% of them sprout, that means there will be over 100 new blackberry plants. By growing and reproducing rapidly, it can squeeze out native species.
The berries are delicious - if youâ€™re out in the summer, try one! Just be very careful to identify it properly - not all types of wild berry are edible. Ask an adult to make sure.
Himalayan blackberry grows in dense thickets.
The leaflets grow in clusters of 5.
Cedar Waxwing ily f the fam o d n frie
Cedar waxwings are found in the Lower Mainland year-round, but they are easier to spot in the summer when theyâ€™re eating berries. By ingesting the fruit and depositing their seeds in different parts of the forest, birds such as cedar waxwings help Rubus species to spread to new areas.
Known for the orange crest and black mask on their head.
Cedar waxwings in particular have evolved the amazing ability to eat the berries, seeds and all â€“ they do not have to spit them out.
Red wing tips.
The Fern Family
The fern family is known to scientists as â€œpteridophyta.â€?
over 12,000 species
There are worldwide and they have existed since before dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Ferns do not have seeds. Instead, they have
spores located under their
leaves, in clusters called sori.
The different species can be very difficult to tell apart.
Spiny Wood Fern
Spiny wood fern leaves are among the most intricate of coastal rainforest ferns.
Spiny wood fern likes wet soil on the forest floor. Look for it under the canopy of evergreens, where the branches blocking the sun help the soil to stay moist. Photo by
These spots on the back of the leaves are sori!
This unique fern is often seen on the mossy bark of maple trees. It gets all the nutrients it needs from the rain and air, so it does not harm what itâ€™s living on - whether a maple tree, rock, or rotting log.
The rhizome, an underground stem, tastes like licorice!
The roots were used as a remedy for colds and sore throats by local First Nations people.
Grows only on mossy rocks or branches.
These orange spots on the back of the leaves are sori!
Sword fern is one of the most common ferns in the Lower Mainland. Look for the “hilt” on the leaflets, just like a sword! The “hilt”
The “hilt” of the Sword fern
Photo by Raymond Frye
This fern is a favourite with many people - a great way to incorporate native plants into your garden.
Deer fern is an important winter food source for - you guessed it - deer!
Banana Slug ily f the fam o d n frie
Ferns would not be spread as widely as they are without the help of the banana slug. The slug’s slime transports spores across the forest, helping new ferns to grow. But don’t worry - these aren’t the slugs you find in gardens eating your vegetables. Those slugs are usually invasive species.
Try saying this 3 times fast: “Banana slugs are a spore spreading species!” Pacific banana slugs are the second largest land slugs in the world, growing up to 25 cm! They are dark yellow or green, sometimes with brown splotches – much like a real banana.
The Tree Family
There are lots of trees in a
But don’t let the wall of green discourage you. Luckily, there aren’t that many different
Once you can tell these ones apart,
you will be able to identify the
majority of the conifers
in BC’s Lower Mainland forests!
Needles are different lengths.
Hemlocks are able to grow on top of rotting stumps and logs. Their roots help to break up the rotting wood and turn it into soil, which other plants can use.
The cones are usually only a couple of centimeters long.
Western Redcedar Thuja plicata
Photo by Leah Grunske
This tree is very important to First Nations people. They use the bark, wood, and roots to make canoes, totem poles, clothing, hats, baskets, ropes, masks, buildings, and more! Look for redcedar in wet or damp areas.
Western redcedar is known for its distinctive swooping branches.
Flat, scaly needles
The thick, grooved bark of the Douglas fir provides a great home for banana slugs, spiders, sow bugs (isopods), ants, and even little brown bats. Since the bark of a Douglas fir can be up to 30 cm thick, it is also able to survive forest fires better than many other trees.
Cones have â€œmiceâ€? inside them, according to legend.
Recognize this shape from a flag?
e Sm Photo by Mik
These trees are well named; the leaves are often 30 cm across, but can be up to 60 cm! Bigleaf maple is important to many wildlife species, from bees that sip its flower nectar, to squirrels that eat the seeds, to beavers that munch the leaves.
These are the seed pods that â€œhelicopterâ€? down to the ground.
Bigleaf maples often have moss, lichen, and licorice fern growing on their bark and branches.
ve invasi !!! species
Photo by Raymond Fryer
English Holly Ilex aquifolium
People brought this invasive tree to BC because they like the Christmas-red berries. Unfortunately, some birds like them too! They spread the seeds to new areas when they eat the berries. Don’t mix this up with Oregon grape, a native shrub with similar leaves. Oregon grape has yellow flowers and dark blue berries.
TIP: If you have holly in your house for Christmas, don’t compost it. Regular household compost won’t kill the seeds, and new holly trees could grow from wherever the compost is spread.
ve invasi !!! species
Red-breasted Sapsucker ily f the fam o d n frie
Sapsucker holes in hemlock bark.
Trees have many friends and connections in the forest. Grids of holes (like a cribbage board) in the bark of trees are drilled by the red-breasted sapsucker. Insects come to feed on the sweet sap. Then the sapsucker comes back to feed on both the insects and the sap! What a smart strategy.
Photo by Raymond Fryer
Now itâ€™s your turn! There are endless family groups that can be created by observing different things in the rainforest. Use the suggestions in the next few cards to start creating your own groupings.
Draw a plant that is growing in an interesting place. Are there other ones nearby?
Draw a picture or write about something you can hear. Do other things make similar sounds?
Pick something up off the ground. Draw it or describe it. Where did it come from?
Find something that is high up in the trees. Are there other living things up there?
Dig into some soft soil. Did you find anything alive? What else is down there? Be careful not to kill anything.
1620 Mt. Seymour Rd. North Vancouver, BC V7G 2R9 Acknowledgements: Lauren Krakau (content development), Azalea Moen (design and illustration), VSB TREK students (ground truthing), with contributions from Daphne Solecki, Kristine Webber, Dawn Hanna and Ruth Foster This project was made possible through the generous support of: BC Parks Enhancement Fund, Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation and TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.