When I left Vancouver Island in October, it was raining due to an atmospheric river flowing over the Pacific coast. When I returned in May, it was still raining. We are now into June and while it’s not constant rain, we are being ‘blessed’ more days than not.
So when the rain stops and the sun comes out, it is truly glorious. A perfect excuse to take a walk along the coast and through the rain forest.
Abundant rain and relatively mild temperatures make for lush green forests. Trees grow taller and bigger here. One of my favorite walking paths is the Ancient Cedars loop on the Wild Pacific Trail. The giant cedars measure more than 12 meters (39 feet) around the base and are thought to be 800 years old.
No less spectacular is the plant life closer to the ground. From tiny rain drops glistening on spruce leaves to the luxuriant undergrowth of shrubs and bushes.
I am always amazed when I walk by this particular plant. The leaves are huge, growing up to five feet long and in patches that are twice as wide.
The plant has many names, including swamp lantern, rainforest crocus and skunk cabbage. It’s called skunk cabbage because of its musky odor. I’ve never noticed the smell myself but then I’ve never gotten down close to one either. On the other hand, I have smelled skunks without ever getting close, so I think it might be a bit of an exaggeration.
In its raw form, skunk cabbage is toxic. However, it has medicinal properties which have been used by both humans and animals. First Nation people use the roots in poultices for aching joints and apply heated leaves to draw out thorns from the skin. According to this article, people have even “… seen wounded bears roll in skunk cabbage leaves in order to adhere the leaf like a bandage to their wounds.”
Given the size of the leaves, I’ve always thought they’d make excellent wrappers. A little research shows that I was right. The leaves were used by early settlers to line baskets, package food and wrap fish for cooking. It was an early, greener form of wax paper!
For this week the Friendly Friday Challenge is GREEN and you are welcome to post whatever or however the topic inspires you.
It can be GREEN, as in a featured color
It can be GREENS, as in your favorite vegetable
It can be GREEN, as in your favorite environmental story
How ever you’re inspired, your Friendly Friday Challenge is GREEN.
Create a post, tag it ‘Friendly Friday’ and link it back here.
I look forward to reading it!