Highlights of the 5th Schofield Bryophyte and Lichen Foray

The 5th Annual Wilf Schofield Bryophyte and Lichen Foray was held September 11 to 14, 2014 near Creston, BC. The Foray undertook an inventory of selected areas of the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Darkwoods Preserve, a 55,000-hectare property in the central Kootenays ranging in elevation from approximately 450 metres in the Creston Valley to over 2,400 metres in the mountains. The weather for the event was very pleasant; sunny with cool temperatures. The Foray drew an enthusiastic, diverse, and friendly group from as far away as Manitoba, Washington State, Alberta, and BC.


Photo by Olivia Lee

On the first field day, the group travelled several kilometres north on logging roads to an area known as Washboard Rock. These huge granite outcroppings were upslope (2,000 metres elevation) from a previously harvested area, and the habitat included Larix sp., Pinus monticola, Abies lasiocarpa, Vaccinum sp., Rhododendron albiflorum, Menziesia ferruginea, Chimaphila umbellata, Carex spp., Juncus spp., Paxistima myrsinites, and others, as well as several bryophytes (Kiaeria sp., Polytrichum spp., Lophozia spp. Marchantia polymorpha, Racomitrium spp.) and lichens (Cladonia spp., Letharia sp,. Peltigera spp.).


Washboard Rock photo by Donna Fleury

The second stop was at a damp rock waterfall area (1,135 metres elevation), which yielded several good specimens, including a few rare ones. The habitat included Thuja plicata, Tsuga heterophylla, Larix sp., Salix sp., Alnus viridis, Acer glabrum, Oplopanax horridus, Orchid spp., Ligusticum canbyi, and several ferns. Interesting finds included two species of Buxbaumia – B. piperi and B. aphylla, Blasia pusilla, Pilophorus acicularis (Devil’s matchstick), Scapania sp. and numerous different liverworts and Sphagnum species.


Photo by Donna Fleury

The third stop (1,026 metres elevation) was a large bryophyte- and lichen-covered granite outcropping (Racomitrium spp. and Cladonia spp.) with a habitat of Abies grandis, Mahonia aquifolium, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, Holodiscus discolor, Paxistima myrsinites, etc. Special finds included several Ramboldia cinnabariana, Dicranum scoparium, and three species of Racomitrium.


Photo by Donna Fleury

Day two in the field started several kilometres north-west up a rough logging road to Wolverine Lake (1,709 metres elevation). This small deep lake with native trout was ringed with Picea engelmannii, Abies lasiocarpa, Vaccinum sp., Rhododendron albiflorum, Menziesia ferruginea, Xerophyllum tenax, Carex spp., Juncus spp., Equisetum spp., a large marshy moss area and some granite outcroppings. This was a particularly rich habitat area for liverworts, mosses, and lichens. Some interesting finds included: Cladonia bellidiflora, Diplophyllum taxifolium, Conocephalum conicum, and several species of Sphagnum still to be identified.


View of Wolverine Lake from cliff. Photo by Katrina Poppe


Photo by Heide Blakely

After lunch, the group headed to a steep granite cliff outcropping (1,760 metre elevation) up the road from the lake. This 90 degree south-east facing rocky slope was covered with Xerophyllum tenax, Picea engelmannii, Abies lasiocarpa, Acer glabrum, Vaccinium spp., Juniperus scopulorum, Sedum lanceolatum, etc. On the way back, the last stop was at a large bouldered waterfall and creek edge.


Photo by Donna Fleury

Evenings were spent in the hotel conference room identifying ‘finds’ from the day, sharing specimens and collaborating on identification. The Foray will contribute an extensive list of bryophytes and lichens to add to the Darkwoods Inventory.


Blasia pusilla. Photo by Donna Fleury.


Marchantia polymorpha. Photo by Donna Fleury


Buxbaumia piperi. Photo by Peter Whitehead.


Sphagnum squarrosum. Photo by Donna Fleury.


Cladonia bellidiflora. Photo by Peter Whitehead


Letharia columbiana. Photo by Donna Fleury


Pilophorus acicularis. Photo Donna Fleury.