When you take a rainforest tour on Vancouver Island, it's hard to take your eyes off the giant mossy trees glowing like stained glass in nature's cathedral. Some of the tallest stretch over 90 meters, while others measure as much as 20 meters in circumference. At more than 1000 years old, the oldest are impressive to be sure. Even with your eyes closed there is a humid, fragrant coolness that enables the mosses and lichens clinging to the tree branches to grow so well. Multiple canopy layers, forest openings with berries and other pioneer species, dead standing trees with holes for owls, bats, squirrels, and nut hatches are just a few of the highlights.
For wildflowers, April and May are great times to see what's flourishing in the ancient rainforest. Coral root and Calypso orchids, trilliums, wild cherry, elderberry and salmon berry are some of the flowers that you can find in the spring. Starting in June and lasting into September, you also can taste the wonderful parade of berries that result from this profusion of flowers. (Be sure to take along a field guide or an expert to avoid any poisonous plants.) There are some very tasty and nutritious plants like stinging nettle (cooked) and many medicinal ones as well.