One vicious plant; The Devil’s club

The Devil’s Club (Oplopanax horridus) is a distinctive plant native to the forests of North America, specifically in the Pacific Northwest region, which includes notable areas like Harper Park.

A fully grown devil's club found in Juneau Alaska. The plant has flowered and produced fruit
A devil’s club found in Juneau, Alaska

About the Devil’s Club

Reaching heights of 1 to 3 meters (3 to 9 feet), the Devil’s Club stands tall as a deciduous shrub. Its most striking attribute is its dense covering of yellow spines that extend along the stems and leaves. These spines serve as a potent defense mechanism, deterring herbivores and protecting the plant from potential damage. The sharp spines can cause irritation and itching when they come into contact with the skin, earning the plant its intriguing name.

In addition to its thorny armor, the Devil’s Club boasts remarkably large leaves, measuring between 20 and 40 centimeters in diameter (8 to 15 inches). The impressive leaf size serves multiple purposes for the plant’s survival and growth. Firstly, the larger surface area allows for greater light absorption, maximizing the plant’s ability to carry out photosynthesis. By capturing more sunlight, the Devil’s Club can produce higher levels of energy, supporting its overall health and development.

Moreover, the expansive leaves play a crucial role in water retention. In the shaded understory environment where the Devil’s Club often thrives, capturing sufficient moisture can be challenging. However, the plant’s sizable leaves enable it to collect and retain water from various sources such as rainfall, dew, and humidity. This adaptive feature ensures a steady water supply, contributing to the plant’s resilience and ability to survive in its habitat.

A birds eye view of the devil's club.

During the spring season, the Devil’s Club produces distinctive flowers. Starting as white and green blossoms, these clusters of flowers eventually transform into vibrant red berries during the summer months. The bright red berries serve as a valuable food source for local wildlife, including bears and birds. These animals play an essential role in seed dispersal, helping to propagate the Devil’s Club across the forest landscape.

In Harper Park

As far as i’ve seen, there is only one shrub of the Devil’s Club that i have seen this year in the park, but i am sure that more will come in following time.

In conclusion, the Devil’s Club is a remarkable shrub found in the forests of the Pacific Northwest region. Its unique attributes, including the spiny exterior, large leaves, and striking flowers and berries, contribute to its distinctiveness and ecological significance. Despite its challenging nature, the Devil’s Club coexists with its environment, providing food and shelter for wildlife while offering cultural and medicinal value to human communities.

Learn more about the Devil’s Club;

It’s Official!

Me and my second cousins and my brother are in the pictures. We finally got our sign up!  Sooooooooo happy so it’s really a thing now: we are the caretakers of Harper Park!

Robins’ Eggs

 Sorry this one is late and if you like our website I’m even more sorry today I’m going to talk about the robins egg Ill leave the website where I got the info with pictures of robins down below, a robins diet it usually worms, beetles, seeds, and berries. A robin’s egg is very small with a beautiful light blue colour, the babies must be extremely small when they’re born right? I’ll bet they’re the size of the top of your pinky! well, it depends how old you are for me they’d be about that size. A robin will mate and lay eggs about 2-3 times from April to July. A robin’s babies are SO UGLY and I mean SO UGLY (the website has photos, look at them if you dare!) A robin’s predators are squirrels blue jays and crows, at least those are the ones I know of. Baby robins take about 12-13 days to leave the nest. Baby robins will take about 13-14 days to leave the nest. Here are a couple more interesting facts about robins, robins will eat the baby bird poop! Since it’s pretty much just a little membrane it doesn’t have much bacteria in it it’s a nice way of keeping the nest clean too! Mama and Dada robin will take turns leaving the nest, that’s the most efficient way to get food if you ask me! Thanks for reading once more (or not if this is your first time haha) and I promise the next one won’t be so late, see ya!

Broken robin's egg shell in boy's hands


Since there isn’t much garbage to clean up (which is good) I thought I might talk about the trees in the park. The main ones are the Western Red Cedar and the Douglas Fir. There’s another one too, it’s a bit uncommon but you might find it if you look up at the leaves of the trees. It usually has bright green leaves and they won’t blend in with the other trees. Take a guess, let’s see if you’re right: it’s the big-leaf maple tree!

Now I’ll tell you about the stats of the trees. The Douglas fir is large to very large tree, with an average height of 20-60 meters. The Western red cedar has an average height of 30-53 meters. And lastly, the big-leaf maple has an average height of 9-21 meters. Pretty cool right? Here are some pictures that we took during the week, thanks for reading!

Glacial erratic in Harper Park
On top of the other glacial erratic in Harper Park (near the Smiling Creek bridge). Douglas firs, Western red cedars, and big leaf maples in the background.

Skunk Cabbage and Bear Poop

Last week, we saw bear poop and new skunk cabbage: not a coincidence!

Did you know skunk cabbage creates heat and smells bad because bugs like flies and beetles think it’s a dead animal? And thats good for the plant because from time to time they will land on other plants, right?  And then they will land on the skunk cabbage and it gets pollinated!

Bears love skunk cabbage too for a very weird but cool reason! And the link down here is why:

Naturespeak: Skunk cabbage is a bear’s BFF

Skunk Cabbage

The Rock

Nothing interesting really happened on the trail today so I’m going to talk about the rock. The rock in the park has a lot of history, it actually came from a glacier, called “glacier erratic” and I guess it just left the rock there a long long long time ago. It weighs about 50000 to 100000 pounds. it’s really hard to tell what it’s made of because it’s covered in moss! It’s probably made of limestone, diorite or granite, I’m guessing.


There are three “famous” glacial erratics near us, including the famous white rock for which the town and beach of White Rock is named. There’s one in Aldergrove. And there’s another in Coquitlam, only 8 km away (as the crow flies), which seems to be the same kind as in Harper Park (possibly granodiorite).

Park Spark Week 4

Sorry this one’s a bit late —I was too lazy to write the blog on Friday, heh heh heh.

The park was very clean, on Friday and we has only brought in one bag of garbage!

Today, I went on another walk and found two GEOCACHES. It was really fun.

Geocaches are hidden little boxes or maybe just a little notepad where you write your name down. There are little riddles that you have to solve to find them and Harper Park is full of them!

Anyway its been a good weekend and I hope you look at the app which I’ll post below

Park Spark Week 3

Week 3 was not so hard as last week. We only got 1 bag of garbage this time so that’s good news.

I found out about this new app that my mom showed me that shows you what plant you’re looking at and all you need to do is take a picture of it and it’s incredibly cool. I’ll show you some photos of plants that live in Harper Park and the app itself:

Park Spark Week 2

There was a lot of garbage this time so we decided we’d make another round next week but we already brought in 3 bags of garbage! Most of it was fast food garbage so it was probably teenagers who either forgot or did on purpose, i’m probably gonna say they just littered because there was a lot of garbage which is kind of annoying because people are trying to take care of trails but other people don’t even care so they just litter. There will be a lot less garbage next week because we picked most of it up this time. Next time if any teenager brings fast food to the woods they should bring a bag to put their garbage in.