Sunday, November 27, 2011

Red Alder cones, Alnus rubra

These female Alder cones were discovered yesterday after falling onto a bed of moss. The cones are sometimes used by aquarists to lower water pH.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pixie Cups, Cladonia fimbriata

About 15 years ago I arranged some rocks to line the perimeter of a turn-around on our driveway. At the time, I had no idea that I was creating ideal habitat for Pixie Cup lichens. This photo shows the results of many years of slow but steady growth.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Purple Jelly Drops, Ascocoryne sarcoides

While tromping through the woods today, a fallen Alder branch blocked my path and these tiny fungi were right at eye level. The largest one is only about 1/4" long.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Western Wahoo, Euonymus occidentalis

Thanks to seedmoney on for identifying this plant for me.

Also known as Western Burning Bush, this plant has very unusual flowers and was found growing near the East Fork of the Lewis River in SW Washington.


5-10-2012 update, the immature flowers look pretty strange, too:

Monday, September 5, 2011

Coast garter snake, Thamnophis elegans terrestris

I was walking through the woods today and came across this colorful snake staring back at me.

Canada Goldenrod, Solidago canadensis

This native perennial, often considered a weed, can be used to make tea.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Queen Anne's Lace, Daucus carota

Much to my wife's distress, here is a picture of an immature Queen Anne's Lace flower in our back yard.

Wall Flower, Lactuca muralis

This common weed has flowers that are pretty but nothing special-

But occasionally, they give way to an awesome geometric pattern-

Monday, July 4, 2011

Oregon Bedstraw, Galium oreganum

This plant is in the same family as Cleavers (10-25-09 blog post). I found it growing along a logging road on Spotted Dear Mountain in Clark County, Washington. I was surprised to see that my reference books don't have any reports of this plant being spotted in Clark County before.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Northwestern Twayblade, Listera caurina

Very similar to my June 3, 2009 posting of Heartleaf Twayblade, the small number of this uncommon plant on Spotted Dear Mountain will undoubtedly be uprooted/destroyed by logging operations scheduled for the near future.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sleepy Catchfly, silene antirrhina

The Catchfly family get its name from sticky hairs that act as flypaper. This annual native was photographed in the Columbia River gorge.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Fringe Cup, Tellima grandiflora

A resident of the Columbia River gorge; bugs seem to really like this one!

A different plant with more colorful petals

 Here is a closeup of a Fringe Cup taken at the West Linn, OR Camassia Preserve

Monday, May 30, 2011

Woods Forget-Me-Not, Myosotis sylvatica

Growing along the road near Ainsworth State Park in the Columbia River gorge, this member of the Borage family is not native to the area, but doesn't appear to be taking over.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Devil's Club, Oplopanax horridus

Five years ago I planted Devils' Club seeds harvested from a plant growing in the nearby forest. Two years later, three plants sprouted- one of which is shown below. The picture captures the dual nature of the plant - graceful stems with unfurling leaves and wicked spines that are on every surface of the plant.

5-20-2017 update:

5-20-2017 flower close up:

Here is a nice specimen growing nearby in the forest:

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Oregon Fawn Lily, Erythonium oregonum

Just outside Yacolt, Washington is a very small area that has conditions that are ideal for this attractive lily. After taking this picture, it was very sad to see a local resident use a pocket knife to cut every flower he could get his hands on......

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Snow Queen, Synthyris reniformis

This is one of the few flowers I saw today while walking through Moulton Falls Park. This native perennial grows low to the ground and the flowers are only about 1/4" long and easy to miss.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Trumpet Daffodil, Narcissus

Although not native to the Northwest, there sure are a lot of them around here! Recent rains broke the stem on this one so it now resides in a vase in the kitchen.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Focus Stacking

Even though I have posted Pixie Cup images before, I wanted to share another as this is my first result of using StackShot hardware and Zerene Stacker software. The above image is a composite of 14 separate pictures taken at f/4. Stack Shot is a motor driven mechanism that sequentially moves the camera closer (or farther - your choice) to the subject, thus allowing the images to capture a deep in-focus area. Zerene software then blends the images into a composite that results in a depth of field that can't be obtained otherwise.

Here is another "focus-stacking" example that is comprised of 20 images of a 3" long twig viewed end-on.

Here is one of the 20 images:

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Yellow Coral Mushroom, Clavulinopsis corniculata

This picture shows a small portion of a 3-foot diameter Douglas Fir stump that for the last 18 years has had nothing much growing on it. About 3 years ago the bark fell to the ground and a few weeks ago I noticed these 1" high coral mushrooms sprouting from the trunk.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Red Pixie Cup, Cladonia Borealis

Taking advantage of a lull between storms, I took a trip to the Moulton Falls area on the East Fork of the Lewis River in SW Washington this afternoon. There is a very large fallen Cedar tree that is home to many lichen and I stumbled across this interesting specimen. It is only about 1/10" across and reminds me of a miniature goblet with red ornaments around the perimeter.

I suspect that the odd, but similar looking lichen to the lower left of the Red Pixie Cup is the immature form.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hair Ice, Haareis (German), Silk Frost, Frost Flower

This has got to be one of the strangest things I have ever seen. I was walking in our woods this frosty morning and came upon this old Alder branch that had fallen to the ground. At first I thought this was a fungus that I had never seen before, but I broke off a piece and it literally melted on my fingers - this strange sculpture is made of ice finer than a human hair! The only thing I can figure is that moisture inside the branch was forced out into the freezing air through extremely small openings. The entire 'frost beard' is about 6" long and 2" high.

Here is a link to a You Tube video that I made:

Same branch, different frosty morning (2-18-2011). When this picture was taken, temperatures had been below freezing for only 2 hours which probably explains why this ice formation is only 1/4" high.
After 15 minutes I went back to check on the ice and to my amazement it had doubled in height to 1/2"

Today (2-20-2011) again had the right conditions for silk ice formation; the picture below shows the same branch as the previous two sessions

I searched our property for more examples and out of the hundreds of Alder branches on the ground I found two more branches with silk ice:

Closeup of ice strands exiting the third branch that I found.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Deer Fern, Blechnum spicant

This evergreen, medium sized fern is found along stream banks in moist to wet forests, so it is easy to see why so many are found in the Pacific Northwest!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Bog Deervetch, Lotus pinnatus

Growing along the banks of the East Fork of the Lewis River near Moulton Falls, this interesting bi-colored flower is found in wet areas. A member of the Pea family, and also known as Meadow Bird's-Foot Trefoil. Here is a view looking straight down from above:

Side view: