Thursday, June 25, 2015

Bear-Grass, Xerophyllum tenax

Last week I took a hike up Silver Star Mountain, and near the summit the Bear-grass was putting on quite a display.


Bog Bunchberry, Cornus suecica

This low-growing member of the Dogwood family is growing near the Summit of Silver Star Mountain in SW Washington.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Alpine Aster, Aster alpigenus

Growing along the trail near the summit of Silver Star Mountain, these Asters were just one of many wildflowers that are present on the mountain.

Subalpine Spiraea, Spiraea densiflora

Growing along the trail on the way to the summit of Silver Star Mountain in SW Washington, these low-growing flowers are similar to the more common Hardhack, Spiraea douglasii, whose flowers have a more cone shaped overall appearance as opposed to the Subalpine Spiraea that has a more flat-topped overall appearance.

Immature flower:

Mature flower:

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Mountain Sweet-Cicely, Osmorhiza chikensis

Growing near a creek on our property, this native perennial has interesting seeds.  Immature seeds are visible in the first photo even while the flowers are blooming.  The second picture shows more mature seeds and hopefully later in the season I can photograph fully mature seeds that taste somewhat like licorice.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Arrow-Leaved Groundsel, Senecio triangularis

This native perennial is growing along a small un-named creek on Bells Mountain in SW Washington.

Idaho blue-eyed grass, Sisyrinchium idahoense

I found this native perennial growing adjacent to a logging road on Bells Mountain in SW Washington.  It was very challenging to photograph as the flower was on the end of a long almost horizontal stem and very slight air movement would keep it in motion.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Slender Bog-Orchid, Platanthera stricta

This native perennial inhabits wet areas and a small group was found growing on Bells Mountain in SW Washington.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Varied-leaf Collomia, Collomia heterophylla

This native annual was found growing at an elevation of 1800 feet in full sun in a recently logged area in SW Washington.

Queen's Cup, Clintonia uniflora

This member of the Lily family was found growing on Bells Mountain in SW Washington.  Plants that receive some direct sunlight seemed to have their leaves and flowers quite close to the ground.  Plants in deep shade had their flowers on long stalks as the second picture shows.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Bastard Toad-Flax, Comandra umbellata

The West Linn, Oregon Camassia Preserve is the location for this flower.  It is a native perennial that has extensive roots that allow it to form large patches.

Poison Oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum

These flowers were found on a Poison Oak plant in the Camassia Preserve in West Linn, Oregon.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Oregon Mariposa Lily, Calochortus tolmiei

On display at the 2015 Glide, Oregon Wildflower Show.

Common Fiddleneck, Amsinckia menziesii var. intermedia

Glide, Oregon Wildflower Show specimen.

Eastern Solomon Seal, Polygonatum biflorum

 Another flower on display at the 2015 Glide, Oregon Wildflower show.

Henderson's Brodiaea, Triteleis hendersonii

This unusually colored flower was on display at the 2015 Glide, Oregon Wildflower show.

Whipplevine, Whipplea modesta

This flower was found growing near the Umpqua River, East of Glide, Oregon.  The plant has trailing stems and is a perennial native.

Goldthread, Coptis laciniata

While participating in a Wildflower Walk sponsored by the Glide, Oregon Wildflower Show we happened upon many examples of this low-growing native.  Unfortunately it was too late in the season to see the flowers- all that was visible were these whorls of green seedpods.

Morel mushroom, Morchella deliciosa

Growing along the Umpqua river, East of Glide, Oregon, this tasty mushroom was growing right on a heavily used trail; No, I didn't pick it!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Fairyslipper, Calypso bulbosa

This delicate, low-growing Orchid was found growing in the Columbia River Gorge, East of Stevenson, Washington.  It has a single green leaf that lies flat against the forest floor,

Closer to home, here are a couple examples that were found growing near Spotted Deer Mountain in SW Washington.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Marsh Violet, Viola palustris

Today I found a couple small patches of these native Violets growing at Lucia Falls County Park in SW Washington,  Unfortunately, they are growing in an area that is regularly mowed, so you have to be there are the right time to see them.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Sun Dog (Mock sun, Parhelion)

While hiking through the nearby forest in an unsuccessful attempt at finding some native vegetation/flowers to photograph I looked up in the sky and saw:
This glowing spot (Sun Dog) in the sky not too far from the sun is caused by sunlight refracting off of ice crystals high in the atmosphere.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Camellia japonica, Nuccio's Pearl

For some reason, possibly the mild Winter we have been having this year, our Camellia plant is producing an unusual number of beautiful flowers.  Unfortunately, I waited a day or two too long to take these pictures and some of the flowers are just past their prime.

Little Baldy Indian Pit hike

For a long time I have been intrigued by the descriptions and pictures of the Indian Pits on Silver Star Mountain in South West Washington.  It is believed that Native Americans made these pits by digging and re-arranging the abundant chunks of basalt found on the flanks of the mountain.  The purpose of the pits is thought to be for meditation or vision quests.  While searching for the pits on Google Earth I happened upon what appeared to be a large pit on Little Baldy Mountain which is a couple of miles East of Silver Star.  This pit can be seen at 45 Degrees 44' 49.38"N, 122 Degrees 12' 18.00"W.

Last September I decided to give the roughly 9 mile journey a try and starting hiking from the trail head North of Silver Star. I took Ed's Trail and after a while could see Little Baldy in the distance:

Part of the attraction of Ed's Trail is that the route takes you underneath a rock arch:

After passing Silver Star Mountain and heading East, Little Baldy was becoming more prominent:

There is no trail to the summit of Little Baldy and it is a combination of bush wacking (I wouldn't recommend wearing short pants) and careful climbing up the steep, unstable basalt rocks.  It is quite a bit steeper than it appears in the picture.

Arriving at the summit it was easy to find the pit that is visible from Google Earth:

It was very disappointing to conclude that this pit had been worked on by modern people.  The sun facing side of undisturbed rocks have abundant very slow growing yellow lichen (possibly Golden Moonglow lichen, Dimelaena oreina) whereas this pit was lined with rocks that were devoid of lichen.

Undisturbed rock with lichen:

Here is a small, shallow pit that has been undisturbed:

Finally, a picture of double-peaked Silver Star Mountain taken from the summit of Little Baldy:

Thursday, January 1, 2015


A fallen tree lying across Little Salmon Creek in SW Washington is home to a number of Licorice Ferns.  With the recent cold weather, splashing water from the creek hits the ferns and freezes.