Prairie-like meadows and oak woodlands occur in places with the warmest and driest summers. This mosaic of ecosystems is unique in Canada and represents the northern tip of the distribution of plant communities that stretch southwards into California.
Herbs, including beautiful edible wildflowers, dominate the meadow association typical on very dry sandy and gravelly and rocky knolls. Garry oaks (Quercus garryana Dougl.) and numerous shrub species grow widely on shallow and deep soils and as dwarfed scrublings on rocks.
Changes Over Time
The meadow plant community has its origins in the earliest vegetation following retreat of the glaciers. Aspen parkland inhabited by now–extinct bison covered the area. By six thousand years ago the Victoria region supported widespread Garry oak woodlands mixed with meadows. As the climate cooled and got moister Garry Oak and meadow vegetation was restricted to only the warmest and driest sites where we see it and its rare species today. In its place Douglas-fir and red cedar forest expanded.