• Tricia Edgar

Tracking the Green Wave

It's just about time for leaves to start emerging! Have you seen any fresh green leaves lately? This morning I saw my first salmonberry flowers and leaves, which makes sense because yesterday I saw my first rufous hummingbird. The hummingbirds drink from the salmonberry flowers.

The Green Wave is the name of the wave of green that sweeps up North America this time of year. As leaves and flowers begin to appear, so too do spring animals like the hummingbird.

This website tracks the green wave! It also explains the importance of tracking when leaves emerge and fall, as this can be an indicator of climate change.

Can you find any new leaves on plants today?

The sword fern has tough leaves that stay on all winter.

Plants have different survival strategies in the winter months. Some plants like the sword fern have winter-hardy leaves that are able to resist the rain, snow, and darkness of Vancouver's winters. Can you see the tiny swords that make up the bigger frond?

Other plants go halfway - a young red huckleberry plant, for example, has some dark green leaves that stay on in the winter to give it a boost of energy, while its larger surrounding huckleberries have only deciduous leaves that fall off in the winter. If you go for a walk in the forest, can you see any little huckleberry plants that have these leaves?

Red huckleberries can have permanent dark green leaves when they are young.

Still other plants have clever ways to make food in the off season. For instance, the vine maple makes food through its green bark!

Some trees can make food through their bark even when they don't have any leaves.

Are you curious to know what trees you have in your neighbourhood? This great provincial government resource can be downloaded to use as a tree reference guide. Note that it covers native trees, and some of the plants in your neighbourhood are likely ones that are not originally from this province.


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