Sunday, October 12, 2008

Bog berry bounty (and bonus: a mystery).

Domestic cranberries, freshly-picked. A lot of pea-sized or smaller fruit in this batch.

Richmond BC is one of Canada's major cranberry producers. That's because about half of it was once bog, which, once cleared and drained, makes for good cranberry (and its Ericacean relative, blueberry) growing conditions.

Uncultivated cranberries on the vine -- usually smaller than the farmed ones, regardless of species, but this year the wild-grown berries seem extra puny. A bad growing season? September too dry?

In unfarmed boggy remnants it is still possible to find cranberries growing wild, but more often than not they are feral domestic berries rather than the native species. I have previously written about the two species and how to tell them apart, here.

Bog blueberries, Vaccinium uliginosum.

Feral domestic high-bush blueberries are also widespread in the bog remnants, but in "purer" spots it is possible to find the low-growing native bog blueberry. More on these two species here. At this time of year little constellations of the baby-pea-sized bog blueberries shine up through the taller bog plants.

Bog blueberries and cranberries growing together from a hummock of a red Sphagnum. Click to spy the elusive crans.

The best vantage point for viewing bog vegetation is ground-level. You can take along a garbage bag or two, to kneel or lie down on the moss with out getting damp, but I always forget and end up half-soaked. (Sponges also give water back.)

The most peculiar thing ever to happen in a bog. And no, I didn't put it there.

The mystery, as advertized above: I found, perched in the fork of a Labrador tea, and not along a trail, a strange, arboral cranberry. Did a bird drop it? Is it an elfin signal? What can it mean?

A final Crantasia.


PSYL said...

A friend of mine recommended me your site when she knew that I am interested in doing a blog too. Now, I am absolutely addicted to RPL and need to visit it everyday.

So I just want to use today to thank you for your beautiful words and wonderful pictures, and making the natural world a little bit clearer for me each day.

By the way, I "borrowed" your idea of "Georgia Depression" and incorporated it in my blog title, hope that's all right.

Happy Thanksgiving, Hugh.

Hugh said...

Thank you for your kind words, and thanks for reading! I'm fine with the name of your blog and will check it out. And Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

mr_subjunctive said...

Elfin signal. Obviously. Probably traffic-related.