Columbia Kittentails (Synthyris stellata)
This subspecies, stellata is endemic to the Columbia Gorge, and is one of the first flowers to bloom there every year. A very similar relative missurica, also called “Mountain Kittentails” and “Tailed Kittentails”, is found in Northeast Oregon, Southeast Washington, and Northwest Idaho. Some sources say they are found in the forest. Russ Jolley (Wildflowers of the Columbia Gorge) says they are found on “north-facing shaded banks and ridges in the west Gorge, chiefly on the Oregon side. ” We found them in two different spots on the same April morning; in huge groupings on the cliffs above McCord Creek Falls and scattered along the rocky slopes near Wahclella Falls. In both cases, they seemed to be enjoying the misty spray of nearby waterfalls. Related to another early bloomer, the as-yet-unposted Snow Queen.
Happy Birthday Shirley from Northwest Wildflowers!