Plants of British Columbia
I've organized the photos by Family and names are recorded in Latin. There are so many common (of folk) names for plants that it's hard to effectively share our knowledge without some kind of universal nomenclature (aka. fancy name system). What I call Bearberry, you call Redberry, and Mary calls Kinnickinick but we can all agree it's Arctostaphylus uva-ursi. So Latin is a worldwide naming system that facilitates the organization of plants and helps us communicate across space and cultures.
O.K. here's quick crash course in how plants are organized: Family > Genus > Species. The species concept is really complex but let's just say that anything that looks the same, acts the same, and can reproduce together, are the same species. Back in the day (like thousands/millions of years ago) when a bunch of species used to be the same plant, they were in genus mode. Over time, 1 plant became 5, they broke off and started their own thing — but they're all still related and are now the same genus. Salmonberry and blackberry are from the same ancestor, so they're both Rubus plants. Eventually they speciated (became different species) and salmonberry became Rubus spectabilis (spectabilis is species) while blackberry became Rubus ursinus. The family follows the same idea but it's an older and more inclusive category. I organize by family so you can get know to family traits. A family trait would be like you, your brother and your cousin that all have red hair. Or, salmonberry, blackberry and raspberry are all edible. You can learn family traits (like edibility, toxicity), so that where ever you are in the world, you'll have a rudimentary understanding of the local plant life.
Time to botanize!
Welcome to my introductory BC Ethnobotany page. British Columbia has so many varied bioregions and a long history of Indigenous knowledge tied to the plants that dwell here. Ethno (people) botany (plants) is a field of botany that explores the knowledge some people have of plant life; their uses and life histories, and how that knowledge fits into worldviews, resource management, and human-plant co-evolution.
Let me quickly acknowledge that all the information here comes from years (millennia) of tried and tested knowledge, of living and being on the land by Indigenous Peoples.. That knowledge shared with me (and the other researchers) is to be respected. This information was used with permission from friends and colleagues as well as a few very important sources. One of these important resources includes the decades of passionate work that my mentor and colleague, Dr. Nancy Turner, has put into the troves of literature I use on a daily basis. Please find out more about her work here. Also— if you live on the Coast and do not have a copy of Pojar and Mackinnon's Coastal Plants then you're not living right! If you're in the Interior you'll want Parish and Friends.