Thursday, October 19, 2017

Oregon Excursion

At the Meadows Ski Area on the slope of  Mt. Hood.
In the summer of 2000, I attended a botanical conference in Portland, Oregon,and as always, took the opportunity to explore for wildflowers in the vicinity.  Though I had been in the northwestern section of Washington State many times, I found much that was new in the somewhat more southerly state of Oregon.

Wildflower gardens abound on the slopes
of Mt. Hood.  Here we have purple-blue
lupines, asters and other flowers.
I first headed to the Mt. Hood area.  The volcanic
mountain is a slightly downsized version of Mt. Rainier to the north.  At 11,250 feet, it is a little more than 3000 feet shorter than Rainier, though the wildflowers are all well below either of these snow-capped peaks.  The particular area accessed by road near the Meadows Ski Area seems to be drier and warmer than Paradise on Mt. Rainier, and in fact, at 4500- 5000 feet, a bit lower than Paradise.  Wildflowers were abundant and diverse however in the many open meadows.

Mimulus lewisii, the pink monkey flower,
is common along streams.

The Indian Paintbrush, Castilleja angustifolia is also common.

Calochortus subalpinus is common in meadows.
Another monkeyflower, Mimulus guttatus,
is also found along streams.

Lotus corniculatus is a common member of the legume family, Fabaceae.

The second phase of the excursion was along the Pacific Coast, where the coastal bluffs and forests have their own set of wildflowers.  The highlight of the coast was a visit to the small Darlingtonia State Natural Site, dedicated to the preservation of the "Cobra Lily," actually a carnivorous pitcher plant, Darlingtonia californica.  Having already sought out the carnivorous plants of Florida, I was eager to see this one in person.

Phlox diffusa (Polemoniaceae)
As usual, I have attempted to identify all the plants as accurately as possible, but welcome corrections from experts or local wildflower enthusiasts.

A boardwalk leads past a population of the unusual pitcher plant, Darlingtonia californica,
("Cobra lily")

The carnivorous leaf traps of
Darlingtonia are covered by a snake-
like head. 
Goldenrod, Solidago canadensis, is
common along the coast.

Hypericum perforatum (Hypericaceae)
Oenothera biennis (Onagraceae) is an
attractive Evening Primrose found along
the coast.

Myosotis scorpioides, in the Boraginaceae,
is common in the  coastal forest.

A grove of white birch trees provides a
contrasting color pattern in a forest
near Saddle Mountain.

Wild blueberries are to be found throughout the woods of
coastal Oregon.

A colony of Sedum oregonum hangs
from the rocks on a road cut.
The red huckleberry, Vaccinium
, provides a tasty treat to birds
and other wildlife.
Anaphalis margaritacea (Asteraceae)

Fuchsias are native to the cool mountain
forests of Central and South America,
but adapt readily to the cool, damp
climate of the Oregon coastline.
A thallose liverwort is almost unnoticed on the ground.

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