Harewood Plains

Photo – Lynda Stevens


Harewood Plains

Harewood Plains is located at the south end of the City of Nanaimo. It is bounded by the Nanaimo Parkway to the north, McKeown Way to the east, and Harewood Mines Road to the west, and home to a mixture of critically imperilled ecological communities that includes open Garry Oak woodlands and vernal seeps.

About Harewood Plains

The site is home to a mixture of critically imperilled ecological communities that includes open Garry Oak woodlands (Garry Oak / California Brome and Garry Oak / Oceanspray) and vernal seeps (Tiny Mousetails / Montias spp. / Macoun’s Meadowfoam) (GOERT, 2011). The areas of greatest conservation importance are the open, seasonally wet meadows found in the north and east of the site. A combination of thin soils over bedrock and a slow release of winter-accumulated rainwater provides the physical conditions for the survival of these plant communities and species, some of which are found in few other places in Canada.

The BC Conservation Data Centre (CDC) has records for five species at risk on the site, some dating back many years. In recent years, another nine species at risk have been added to this list through iNaturalist users. Scroll down the page for the complete list. The most famous of these species is Bird’s-foot Lotus (Hosackia pinnata, prev. Lotus pinnatus), Nanaimo’s official flower. It is known from only six sites in Canada, all of them near Nanaimo. This species, like many others of Harewood Plains, depends on the site’s unique hydrology and rock formations.

Ownership and control of the Harewood Plains Priority Site is complex. About three-quarters of it falls on private managed forest lands (PMFL). This includes a 140-metre-wide transmission right of way (ROW) that cuts across its north end. This ROW, which occupies about 7.6 hectares, contains an important part of the mapped species at risk on the site.

With the exception of Lotus Pinnatus Park, which is municipal land, the rest of the site is privately held. A 36.6-hectare private lot was purchased in 2020 by a numbered company based out of Vancouver and includes a 10.5-hectare covenant established in 2012 (City of Nanaimo, 2012).

Protecting Harewood Plains

Harewood Plains Campaign

On May 18th, 2023, Nature Nanaimo hosted a panel discussion to look at what is worth protecting on the Harewood Plains, what protections are in place and why we need more. Paul Chapman, Executive Director with NALT, discusses what’s at stake and priority conservation.


To view the full panel discussion with all speakers, click HERE and reset the video to the beginning.

What can you do?

Click on the PROTECT HAREWOOD PLAINS brochure image to learn more. Help us build community support for the protection and conservation of this unique jewel of Nanaimo.



There are many ways you can donate to the  HAREWOOD PLAINS CAMPAIGN. Visit our donation page for more information. Please specify your donation is “FOR HAREWOOD PLAINS”.
If the Harewood Plains Campaign cannot be completed, then the funds will be held in an Aquisitions account to be used for another Aquisitions campaign.

Images of the Rare Abundance of the Harewood Plains

Harewood Plains, Photo – Joe Bordenaro
Harewood Plains
Harewood Plains, Ghost Flowers
Fairy Slipper Orchid, Photo – Lynda Stevens
Harewood Plains, Camas
Harewood Plains

At-Risk and Watch List Plants

Harewood Plains
(NOTE – the list is currently under construction, check back soon)


Photo – Lynda Stevens

Bog Bird’s-foot Lotus, Hosackia pinnatus
(formerly Bog Bird’s-foot Trefoil, Lotus pinnatus)
COSEWIC Endangered
SARA Sched 1, BC Red list

More coming, check back soon