Reds and Greens

Photo by Gayla Trail

I saw a lot of red berries, green leaves, and mossy walls in Vancouver. It was a lot like Portland in that sense. Also look, the grass is green! I miss the colour green so much already. I got off the plane in Toronto just after a snowstorm so the world here is primarily white, quickly shifting to brown/black.

Visiting the Pacific North West is a good reminder of just how many plants are out there in the world that I do not know. I saw this bush all over the place but have no idea what it is. I am baffled. Can anyone identify it?

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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8 thoughts on “Reds and Greens

  1. MY GUESS… How about Kinnickinnick ‘Vancouver Jade’… ?
    Arctostaphylus uvaursi) The variety is named ‘Vancouver Jade’. This native evergreen ground cover thrives in well-drained soils, even in sand. It needs little care. Prostrate trailing branches thickly covered with small dark green leaves yield white or pink blossoms in late spring. Bright red edible berries follow, lasting well into winter. Native Americans valued the berries as food and the leaves in smoking mixtures, though now the fruit is most often eaten by birds. It is a beautiful way to cover a lot of ground in a hurry. It is great for sunny slopes and cascading down from atop walls. …so… …somebody wanna try smoling the leaves?

  2. Or, how about…
    Rockspray Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster horizontalis) ?
    …Although it looks like the birds ate most of the berries…

  3. Sadly none of these suggestions look right.

    The Arctostaphylos leaves look too succulent. I’m sure I saw Cotoneaster but this isn’t it.

    I am leaning towards the firethorn but am still unsure.

    There are a few specifically distinguishing features like the reddish stems and the deep green, elongated oval leaves with deep veining.

    Tricky plant to identify.

  4. It looks like what I call “bouncy bushes”. They line the sides and centres of streets at UBC, and can be found here and there at SFU, as well as other sort of institutional/civic gardens. I call them bouncy bushes because the thick, sturdy, and flexible branch system under the leaves allows you to jump up and down on them, like a trampoline. I’m not kidding.

  5. Ciao all,

    I don’t think it’s pyracantha. That’s all over California and the leaves are smaller & drier. Plus, like the common name suggests, it’s covered in really evil thorns up to a cm long. I see it a lot growing up fences like ivy, not so much cascading like the plant in the picture.

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