Friday, May 23, 2014

Pacific Northwest Wild Flowers

Title photo taken along Elk Creek - Hwy 38, Oregon
Flowers from left to right:
Oxeye Daisy, Blue-Eyed Grass, Red Clover, Yellow Oxalis, Farewell-to-Spring
One of the most diverse regions of the country, both in climate and vegetation, is the Pacific Northwest. From mountain ranges and valleys to seacoasts and deserts, the vegetation of this area exhibits a great diversity of ecological habitats in response to variations in latitude, proximity to the ocean, rainfall, and temperature from east to west and north to south. Forests west of the Cascades, for instance, are moist coastal rainforests dominated by conifers, while forests east of the Cascades are more like the Rocky Mountains, with a mixture of conifers and deciduous trees. Woodland wildflowers, many of which are unique to this region, abound in the shady forests, while desert and grassland species thrive in the warm, dry conditions of the interior valleys. Coastal areas offer a completely different palette of wildflowers. This collection includes some of my most favorite wildflowers I encountered in various habitats of the Pacific Northwest.
By slowing down and looking for the "simple things" I found that within these complex ecosystems, the gift of wildflowers flourish.
It wasn't until I came across one of the most "illusive" endangered Northwest wildflowers, that I gained an interest and respect for natures most precious, colorful and delicate treasure...the wildflower. While hiking and photographing the dramatic waterfalls within Silver Creek State Park, I was fortunate enough to discover the rare "Deer Orchid." Finding this endangered flower began a new goal to photograph the many Northwest wildflowers...the flowers I have missed along my many hiking adventures. This BLOG entry shares just a "petal" of what I discovered. Here are some of my favorites:
(I document the flower's location as to where I photographed it. These locations are not the only places where the flower may grow.)

Calypso Fairyslipper - Hider-of-the-north
(Calypso bulbosa)
Photographed at Silver Creek State Park, Oregon
This beautiful little native orchid is rapidly being exterminated in its natural habitat due to trampling and picking. Though the orchid is widespread in the western temperate forests of Oregon, it is rather illusive and often hard to find. Calypso means 'concealment'. Native American girls from the northwest Haida tribe believed if they ate the orchids bulbs, it would improve their bust lines. Picking this orchid will break the roots and kill the it is best to look but don't touch. The least used common name, 'Hider-of-the-north' is unfortunately becoming more and more of its true name.

(Camissonia cheiranthifolia)
Photographed within the Oregon Dunes Recreational Area

This delicate little native flower grows in the harsh environment of the open Oregon Dunes. Its survival in such an extreme landscape is due to the large taproot that seeks out water deep within the sand. The flower is short lived, so seeing them in bloom is a great treat. Without flowers, this plant looks much like an ordinary dandelion weed.

Shore blue-eyed grass
(Sisyrinchium littorale)
Photographed at Cape Arago State Park, Oregon

This native flower was difficult to identify. I knew it was a 'blue-eyed grass', but which one, took a while and I am still not sure if I still have the right 'blue-eyed grass'. The genus is one of the most perplexing group of plants, with many, often integrating variants named as species. The name 'blue-eyed grass' is very appropriate for this flower that appear like beautiful blue 'eyes' from the side of a grass-like stem. At first I didn't see this flower. It was well hidden amongst the tall blades of field grass.

(Stenanthium occidentale)
Photographed near Latourell Falls - Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

In truth this long stemmed native tiny flower would be one I'd pass over, until I actually sat down beside one and looked at it closely. The colors intrigued me. The flower grows mostly on the wet side of the Oregon Cascades and Oregon Coast Range.
(Impatiens capensis)
Photographed east of Crown Point - Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

This bizarre native flower amazed me. Never before had I ever seen such a treasure. I had stopped along the roadside to photographed a pink flower, when out of the corner of my eye I saw something orange. The plants leaf looked similar to the stinging nettle, so I chose not to touch any part of the plant or flower. It grows in small pockets throughout the Cascade foothills and the Gorge, and prefers moist soil and shade.
Originally the species name appears to have been nolime-tangere, meaning 'touch-me-not.' The plant is called this because the ripe fruits, when touched, suddenly burst open (hence impatiens, meaning 'impatient'). The phrase 'touch-me-not' is in reference to the spoken words of the risen Christ to Mary Magdalene, in the Bible - Luke 20:17.

(Abronia latifolia)
Photographed at China Creek, Bandon-by-the-Sea, Oregon
This rare and endangered native plant is a flat to mounding nearly non-frost tolerant perennial that will 'disappear' all the way to the roots, under stress. The flowers are yellow and grow is hemispherical heads, the size of a golf balls. The flowers are trumpet-shaped.
It grows in the loose, shifting beach sand of the fore-dunes along the immediate coast, 100-200 feet from the surf. The soil must be very loose and free of organic debris in order for the plants survival. The plant is geared for salt spray and will not tolerate regular water nor extreme drought.
Abronia is from abros, the Greek word for 'graceful' or 'delicate.' A major part of the plants endangerment is due to the non-native European Beach Grass which is has taken over the fore- dune. The Yellow Sand Verbena needs open sand to grow successfully.
This was one of the hardest flower to find. I made several trips to fore-dune areas but came home empty handed every time. While in Bandon, in late August, I finally found it. I walked a three mile stretch of the coastline between the South Jetty and China Creek, finding only three mounding clusters.

(Abronia umbellata)
Photographed at "Dog Beach" - Port Orford, Oregon
Salt and sand are this plant's requirements for a happy habitat. Just like the Yellow Sand Verbena, it's so adapted to salt spray that it will not tolerate regular water or extreme drought. It anchors itself in the loose shifting sand with a thick heavy taproot and grows thick, fleshy leaves to retain water during the summer dry period.
If the beach is a difficult place to survive in ordinary circumstances, imagine how much harder it is now for the pink sand-verbena. Its habitat is being crowded out by the European and American beach grasses, and while they may be here to stay, unless we intervene, the pink sand-verbena may not be.

The Pink Sand Verbena, was declared extinct in Washington and British Columbia for several years but has been re-discovered on a beach in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve of Canada in 2001...yet did not grow in 2002. Small spotting's of the plant has been documented in Washington, but there has been no yearly successes. Pink Sand Verbena is listed as an endangered species by the State of Oregon and is considered a Species of Concern by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Historically, this species was known from beaches along the Pacific Coast from Vancouver Island, British Columbia, to northern California. Invasion by introduced European beach grass, the disturbance by off-road vehicles, and encroaching beachfront developments have all contributed to the steep decline in the numbers of Pink Sand Verbena.
There are currently only about ten populations of Pink Sand Verbena in Oregon. The population at "Dog Beach" was planted by man. 

In this photo, appropriately taken at "Dog Beach," my hiking buddies are completely oblivious to the small Pink Sand Verbena growing so close on the main trail to the beach. Foot traffic will determine the success of this plant. Both the Yellow and Pink Sand Verbena can be found in "large" quantities at "Dog Beach." A special thanks to Robin Sears, from the Oregon State Parks, for helping me successfully locate the Pink Sand Verbena.
Cobra Lily - Cobra Plant
(Darlingtonia californica)

Photographed at the Darlingtonia State Park - Florence, Oregon
The Cobra Lily is native to southwestern Oregon and northern California. This carnivorous plant lures it's insect prey with a sweet nectar which is inside the leaf opening under it's hood. Once inside, the insect becomes confused by the many transparent areas of the upper leaf surfaces, which appear to be exits. As the insect checks these false exits searching for an escape route, it is led down the tube structure and is unable to return to the top of the plant because of the slippery smooth surface of the inner tube and the sharp, downward pointing hairs which effectively block any chance of escape. Eventually, the insects will fall into a pool of liquid digestive enzyme in the base of the leaf where they are absorbed as food for the plant. This plant is designated as uncommon due to its rarity in the field. It grows in cold wet coastal bogs and wetlands. The name 'Cobra Lily' stems from the resemblance of its tubular leaves to a rearing cobra, complete with a forked leaf - ranging from yellow to purplish-green - that resemble "fangs" or a serpent's "tongue." I have seen the cobra lily many times, but never had I been in view of the plant when the flower was in bloom...until now. Though I had seen pictures of the flower, seeing one in person was a great experience. The flower is just as bizarre and unusual as the tubular stem.

Mission Bells - Chocolate Lily
(Fritillaria lanceolata - Fritillaria affinis)

Photographed on the Starvation Creek Ridge Trail - Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

I had just crossed a bridge-less creek and started up the trail leading into a steep sloped alpine meadow. Once leaving the shadows of the scrub oak trees, many wildflowers greeted me. It was the first time on my wildflower quest that I was able to photograph up to ten different species from one small area. The native Checker Lily was one of them. The bulbs of checker lily were eaten by most Coast and Interior Native American peoples, either boiled or steamed in pits. The bulb-lets are said to be tender and delicate, resembling rice, except for having a slightly bitter taste. The Checker lily is quite rare in many places and should be left undisturbed.
(Corallorhiza mertensiana)

Photographed near Hanging Rock - Coquille River drainage, Oregon

I have often mistaken this rare gem as a fungus of some sort. It is definitely not a fungus once a closer inspection was taken. The small native orchid flower grows in shady conifer forests at low to mid elevations. It is easily overlooked, even at 22 inches tall. The Western Coralroot is named after F.C. Mertens, a German botanist of the late 18th and 19th centuries.

(Carpobrotus chilensis)

Photographed at Indian Sands - Samuel Boardman State Park, Oregon
The common name Ice Plant is shared by other plant groups worldwide, but this group includes the succulent ground cover familiar to West Coast travelers and beach-goers. Its aster-like, satiny blossoms come in purples, reds and magenta's so brilliant they seem fluorescent. The flowers only open in full sun. The botanical name comes from the Greek word karpos, for fruit, and brota, for edible. (I have not tried to eat one.) The Sea Fig has become very comfortable growing in the sandy shores of Oregon and California. This plant is not native to Oregon and thought to be native to South Africa. The history of how it came to Oregon is unknown.

Oregon Lily - Tiger Lily
(Lilium columbianum)
Photographed near Crown Point - Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

This native lily is found in a variety of habitats all over Oregon. From alpine heights to sea level, Columbia lily grows in forests, thickets and meadows. It’s a fine addition for most well-drained soil in the maritime Northwest. Indigenous people used the bulb as a starchy food source. Roasted, boiled, mixed with salmon roe, soups or dried into cakes, the lily scales added slightly sweet starch with a hint of pepper taste to the palate. The spots on the petals give rise to the superstition that smelling the lily will give you freckles.
Cat's Ear
(Calochortus elegans)
Photographed at Indian Sands - Samuel Boardman State Park, Oregon
Calochortus elegans is a species of flowering plant in the lily family. It is native to the western United States from northern California to Montana. It is a perennial herb producing a slender, generally un-branched stem up to 6 inches in height. The basal leaf is 4 to 8 inches long and does not wither at flowering. This unique flower appear to be alive...animal like. It can easily be missed if you were not looking for it.
Western Cordilleran Bunchberry
(Cornus canadensis)
Photographed on the summit of Larch Mountain - Columbia Gorge Region, Oregon
Unlike the 50 foot native Pacific Dogwood tree, the native Dwarf Dogwood grows only 4 to 8 inches high. This small dogwood grows best in an acid soil and full to partial shade. The white bracts are produced in late spring and are followed by red fruits in late summer. The plant spreads slowly by underground stems and will eventually form a thick mat. A natural beneath trees, by streams or paired with ferns and rhododendron.
Climbing Nightshade
(Solanum dulcamara)
Photographed along the Oneonta Creek trail, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
The Bittersweet plant is a Eurasian species, now established fairly widely in temperate North America, in our region mostly as a garden escapee. Both the vegetative parts and fruit of the European Bittersweet-Nightshade are poisonous to all kinds of livestock and to children because they contain the glycoalkaloid solanine. Symptom of being poisoned by this beautifully deceptive plant include anorexia, nausea, salivation, abdominal pain, emesis, constipation or diarrhea, apathy, drowsiness, progressive weakness/paralysis, name a few. Nervous signs build to a maximum followed by death or recovery within 1 to 2 days. It is definitely "bitter sweet" to encounter this flower.
Western Goats Beard
(Tragopogon dubius)
Photographed roadside - Hwy 38 near Drain, Oregon
The Yellow Salsify is a weedy species introduced from Europe and grows throughout most of Oregon. The coagulated latex of the Yellow Salsify was chewed by some Native American Indian tribes like we would chew gum. This flower is a "sun lover" or "sun follower." Although the flowers do not actually follow the sun, they do close up at midday or in cloudy weather, a habit that make them often hard to find and earns them the name 'Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon."

Indian Paintbrush - Giant Red Paintbrush)
(Castilleja miniata)
Photographed on the Tom McCall Preserve Trail - Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
Oregon is blessed to have a large collection of native varieties of Indian Paintbrush. From a distance, the flowers all look alike and one would assume they are all the same kind of Paintbrush...but a closer look reveals differences in the foliage and colors of flowers.
The Castillejas, (Indian Paintbrush) are parasitic on the roots of other plants. They sometimes fasten their roots upon those of their neighbors and prey upon juices already partially absorbed. For this reason, Indian Paintbrush do not transplant well.
Native American Indians made a decoction of seeds from the Scarlet Paintbrush and swallowed for coughs and taken as a purgative and diuretic. They also used the decoction for stopping bleeding, helping a lame back, stiff lungs and sore eyes. Their children sucked the flower nectar of these plants. The root bark was used as an ingredient to color various kinds of animal skins. Native Americans also covered the bright flowers with snail slime and used the mixture to trap hummingbirds.
Indian Potato
(Brodiaea coronaria)
Photographed along Catherine Creek Trail - Columbia River Gorge, Washington
Native Americans gathered up the bulbs of this beautiful native plant with a wooden digging stick and ate potato-like tasting bulbs. They harvested the bulbs about the first of May when the shoots were just appearing above the ground. They cooked the bulbs in an earth oven and/or boiled them. The Harvest Brodiaea were easier to dig than a close relative, and so it is believed that the plant name comes from the fact that the "Brodiaea" were the ones to "harvest"...(Harvest the Brodiaea). An alternative explanation for the common name is that brodiaeas bloom later in summer than most lilies. They bloom during the harvest.
(Nymphaea odorata)
Photographed in the Oregon National Dunes, Oregon
Nymphaea odorata is native to the eastern half of North America, including southern Canada. It has been introduced as an ornamental in many parts of the world. It is believed that the fragrant water lily was introduced into the Northwest during the Alaska Pacific Yukon Exposition held in Seattle in the late 1800s. Although found throughout the Northwest, the fragrant water lily is especially prevalent in lakes west of the Cascades where it has been intentionally planted by property owners who admired the showy flowers. This beautiful flowering plant is on Washington's and California's invasive noxious weed list. Why "environmental" Oregon doesn't have it listed on their noxious weed list is mystery.
(Dichelostemma congestum)
Photographed roadside - Hwy 38 near Drain, Oregon
I was just entering Drain, when out of the corner of my eye I noticed a hillside of green with purple "dots" waving in the wind. This plant impressed me. Each flower cluster stood on a one foot tall, stout stem. This beautiful flower grows in poor soil. I returned later in the summer and collected some of the seeds. Since the plant grows in poor soil, I might try growing it in my backyard.

Corpse Plant - Ghost Plant
(Monotropa uniflora)
Photographed along the upper Oneonta Trail - Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
An old expression says that "where there's a will, there's a way." In the natural world, however, it often seems to be the other way around. "Where there's a way, nature invents the will." The fascinating plant called Indian Pipe is a great case in point.
Indian Pipe is one of the easiest plants to recognize, when or if you can find them. Though common in the wet western forests, the plant 'seems' to appear and disappear. I think finding them is a treat.
Unlike most plants, Indian-pipe doesn’t have chlorophyll, the ingredient that makes plants green. Since Indian-pipe has no chlorophyll, it can actually grow without any sunlight...but it can't make its own food like most plants. Therefore, it has to "borrow" nutrients, either from decaying plant matter, or from another organism. Roots of the Indian-pipe are connected via fungi to the roots of nearby coniferous trees. Though this flower looks like a is not, but it does rely on fungi to survive.
In the Nlaka'pamux Indian native language, the name for Indian-pipe means 'wolf's urine'. They believe it grows wherever a wolf urinates. It also indicates that the harvest of the wood mushroom is near. The plant was also used medically to help stop bleeding wounds that would not heal.
Even though Indian Pipe is an unusually beautiful plant, don't bother picking will wilt and turns black very quickly.

Mountain Collomia - Grand Collomia
(Collomia grandiflora)
Photographed along the Catherine Creek Trail - Columbia River Gorge, Washington
Though the name of this native flower gives reference to being 'grand' and 'large', it is actually quite small compared to most flowers...but the plant can grow to 3 feet. The plant is an annual and is more abundant on disturbed sites than in relatively undisturbed grasslands or sagebrush, which means that it is a common plant along the roadside. Collomia is from the Greek kolla for 'glue,' since the seeds have a coat that turns very sticky when wet.
Sitka Columbine
(Aquilegia formosa)
Photographed near Bridal Veil Falls - Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

This beautiful native flower should have been Oregon's state flower, in my opinion...but the Oregon Grape won that title. Aquilegia comes from the Latin word aquil, meaning eagle, referring to the shape of the petals. Formosa means beautiful. Indeed, the native columbine fits the descriptive epithet. The common name, columbine, stems from the Latin word, columbina, meaning dove-like. Native American people used the columbine for many different purposes. Some thought the flower, as well as the whole plant, was a good luck charm, they warned the children to not pick the flower or it will rain. California Natives ate it as a vegetable after boiling the early spring greens. British Columbia natives treated the flowers like candy, the children sucking out the sweet nectar from the wonder it rains a lot in western Canada, hence the name Red Rain-flower.
I am amazed how many uses the Native People found for this plant. Medicinally, the plant was used as an analgesic and antirheumatic by rubbing the leaves over aching joints. Some chewed the leaves for coughs and sore throats and made a decoction of roots for a cold remedy. They made perfumes by chewing the seeds and rubbing it on their bodies and clothing, and not from the flower, although we often think it is the source for fragrance. The columbine was considered a love medicine plant. The women used it as a good-luck-charm, to gain men’s affection.

(Sedum lanceolatum)
Photographed in the Blalock Canyon - Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
The Lance-leafed Stonecrop is native to the northwest, and grows on basalt or sandstone outcrops and rocky soils at high elevations, even though this plant is growing just a few hundred feet above sea level.  The word Sedum comes from the Latin word sedo, "to sit," referring to the way many species grow.  I chose this flower based on the photo. I liked the way the sedum was growing amongst the drought stricken rock moss.

Red Chickweed - Poorman's Barometer
(Anagallis avensis)
Photographed in an abandoned gravel parking lot - Coos Bay, Oregon
The Scarlet Pimpernel is known to most people as a famous literary character but it is the common name of this flower generally regarded as a weed in the Northern Hemisphere. Anagallis arvensis goes by a lot of names: the "red pimpernel", "red chickweed", "poor man's weather glass", "shepherd's weatherglass" and "shepherd's clock", to name some.
It is a low-growing, non-native annual plant in the Myrsinaceae family, originating in Europe, and grows in Asia and North America.
The common names "poor man's weatherglass", "shepherd's weatherglass" and "shepherd's clock" relate to the fact that the flowers close when bad weather is approaching.
The presence of the flower is usually an indication of light soils. The flower is most noted for being the emblem of the fictional hero the Scarlet Pimpernel.
Western Trumpet Honeysuckle
(Lonicera ciliosa)
Photographed near Sheppard Dell Falls - Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
This native honeysuckle runs freely on the ground or clambers up trees, sometimes reaching a length of 18 ft. The flower attracts hummingbirds and other wildlife for the sweet nectar. Berries may be mildly poisonous if eaten.
The woody vines were used by native peoples for weaving, binding, lashing, and even for suspension bridges. The Orange Honeysuckle was first noted by the Lewis & Clark Expedition on June 5, 1806, at Camp Chopunnish, Idaho County, Idaho.
(Vancouveria hexandra)
Photographed atop Latourell Falls - Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

Inside-out flower is named after Captain George Vancouver and its epithet hexandra, means six stamens. The flowers resemble the blossoms of the native Shooting Star. The Inside-out flower grows in woodlands dominated by Douglas fir, White oak, Western hemlock, Silver fir, Noble fir and Western red cedar, as well as mixed evergreen and broadleaf deciduous forests. The Native Americans chewed the leaves for a cough medicine. Modern medicinal uses are for sinus congestion, chronic rhinitis and hay fever.

Mosquito Bills - Sailor Caps
(Dodecatheon hendersonii)

Photographed on the Starvation Ridge Trail - Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
All shooting stars belong to a genus of flowering plants Dodecatheon...and there are many. Their unique look makes them an easily identifiable flower. Shooting Stars are exclusively native to North America where they grow in leafy and slightly moist soils in woods or meadows in partially shaded to sunny spots.
(Dodecatheon dentatum)
Photographed within the Oneonta Gorge - Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
It was almost a given to find this rare native flower growing within the canyon walls of the Oneonta Gorge. The White Shooting Star grows in shady places along streams, and within wet meadows. Shooting Stars are good examples of the 'buzz pollination.' They have to rely on bees and other flying insects to provide proper pollination for their survival.
Dodecatheon means 'twelve gods,' from the Greek word dodeka ('twelve') and thoes ('god'), which can be interpreted to mean, a plant is protected by the pantheon...'every god.'
English Daisy - Common Daisy
(Bellis perennis)
Photographed at Cape Arago State Park, Oregon
Most English Daisies are white with the yellow center, but every once in a while you'll come across a cluster of them with purple tips. It is thought that the name "daisy" is a corruption of "day's eye", because the whole head closes at night and opens in the morning. Chaucer called it "eye of the day". Geoffrey Chaucer was an English author, and poet and was sometimes called the father of English literature...hence the "English Daisy."
This native to Europe is not affected by mowing and is therefore often considered a weed on lawns, though many also value the appearance of the flowers, including children who spend many summer hours making daisy chains.  Daisy is also a common girl's name and is a nickname for girls named Margaret, which originally comes from the Latin word for daisy.
In ancient Rome, the surgeons who accompanied Roman legions into battle would order their slaves to pick sacks full of daisies in order to extract their juice. Bandages were then soaked in this juice and then would be used to bind sword and spear cuts.
(Balsamorhiza rosea)
Photographed on Badger Mountain - Tri Cities, Washington

This rare native plant is found on rocky soils and is limited to a small area near the Wallula Gap in Oregon and Washington, the Columbia Basin, and the Columbia Scablands. It is considered a hard flower to find even though it grow in large quantities in its limited habitat. Rosy balsamroot is an attractive, ground-hugging perennial with a carrot-like taproot. The taproot is in part the reason for its success in the harsh desert environment. The flowers are deep yellow, becoming rosy red with age.

Common Harebell - Blue Rain Flower
(Campanula rotundifolia)
Photographed near Crown Point - Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

Some Native American Indians called this paper like native flower the 'Blue Rain Flower.' Much like the legendary myth associated with the Red Columbine, children were told not to pick this flower or it would rain.  It grows on moist slopes and in meadows, and is found in the summer along the roadside throughout the western region of the Columbia Gorge.

(Myosotis stricta)
Photographed in the Oregon National Dunes - Coos Bay, Oregon
This small native little flower can easily be overlooked...they are that small. I just so happen to be photographing another flower when I noticed this grouping of the Small-leafed Forget-me-Not growing next to me.
The Forget-Me-Not flower is a favorite wild flower of many, however, this small, blue flower has been a symbol of both love and hope, adopted by many organizations. There are many myths and legends attached to the naming of the Forget-Me-Not flower. In a German legend, God named all the plants when a tiny unnamed one cried out, "Forget-me-not, O Lord!" God replied, "That shall be your name."  In another legend, the little flower cried out, "Forget-me-not!" as Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden. The Christ child was sitting on Mary's lap one day and said that he wished that future generations could see her eyes. He touched her eyes and then waved his hand over the ground and blue forget-me-nots appeared, hence the name forget-me-not.
Henry IV adopted the flower as his symbol during his exile in 1398, and retained the symbol upon his return to England the following year.  In the 15th century Germany, it was supposed that the wearers of the flower would not be forgotten by their lovers. Legend has it that in medieval times, a knight and his lady were walking along the side of a river. He picked a posy of flowers, but because of the weight of his armor he fell into the river. As he was drowning he threw the posy to his loved one and shouted "Forget-me-not". This is a flower connected with romance and tragic fate. It was often worn by ladies as a sign of faithfulness and enduring love. Most people use these in weddings for love.
Elegant Clarkia
(Clarkia unguiculata)
Photographed at the Elk Creek Tunnel - Hwy 38, Oregon

In the moist conditions of the Pacific Northwest, these lovely meadow native annuals can reach about 3 to 4 feet for a magnificent show. All clarkias are named for Captain Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. These pretty red flowers really do mean that spring is over, you'll find them growing beginning in late April after the rains have ended for the season. This grouping of flowers was man planted, after the bridges were replaced at each end of the Elk Creek Tunnel. Native annuals, perennials, and native trees were replanted over the disturbed land.
Sour Grass - Sleeping Beauty
(Oxalis corniculata)
Photographed in my flowerbed - Coos Bay, Oregon
This non-native plant originated from South America. It is considered an obnoxious weed and can take over a flowerbed if you don't pull them when the plant is small. I personally like the little "clover" and yellow flower, so I have allowed it to grow in some areas. It does make for a great ground cover though. The name Sour Grass is easy to remember by children who have tasted the leaves or unripe seed capsules. The tart bite of this plant is not unpleasant but the plant should not be consumed in large amounts due to the toxicity of the oxalic acid, the chemical responsible for the sour taste.
Deer Flower
(Synthyris reniformis)
Photographed in Silver Creek State Park, Oregon

This native flower is one of the humbler, early flowering Synthyris species and grows in the dim light of the early spring woods. Its low dark flowers are easily overlooked. In fact, I wouldn't have noticed this flower if it wasn't for the time I was photographing a waterfall. I lost my balance and slid down an embankment. When I came to a muddy stop, there next to me was the Snow Queen flower. Discovering it by my accident made me forget my fall, and was glad I did fall.

(Allium siskiyouense)
Photographed on Hanging Rock - Southern Coast Range, Oregon
This rare wild onion is native to the Klamath Mountains and Coastal Range in southwestern Oregon and nearby ranges in northern California. It grows in open, usually serpentine, rocky soils in higher the elevations.
Blue Violet - Sand Violet
(Viola adunca)
Photographed at Cape Arago State Park, Oregon
The Western Dog Violet, is a common early blooming native violet found throughout the Western United States and states bordering Canada. Because of its wide distribution, it goes by many names, including early blue violet and hooked-spur violet. In the Pacific Northwest, it begins blooming in March at lower elevations. They are fairly small flowers that grow low to the ground, so they can often go unnoticed or stay hidden in the grass. They are found in a variety of habitats, however they prefer meadows and around forest edges. It is edible and the color makes for a splashy garnish or salad additive.
Cow Lily - Yellow Pond Lily
(Nuphar polysepala)
Photographed in the Oregon National Dunes, Oregon
This native aquatic plant gives off alcohol instead of carbon dioxide as it takes in oxygen. Native Americans ground the seeds for flower and also roasted them as popcorn. It was also used medically for numerous illnesses, including colds, tuberculosis, internal pains, ulcers, rheumatism, chest pains, asthma, heart conditions, and cancer.

The diverse landscape of Oregon and Washington provides an excellent array of thousands of wildflowers that love the Pacific Northwest.  I have photographed over 300 different wild flowers so far, but the flowers in this blog posting are just a few of my favorites. 


harrisonite said...

I enjoyed the photos greatly!

I look forward to new additions.

You must have seen a great deal of our great NW. I am envious!

I need to get out of downtown Seattle more often.

Anonymous said...

Looks like you are an expert in this field, you really got some great points there, thanks.

- Robson