A collection of flora from the pacific wonderland.

Snow Queen (Synthyris reniformis)

Silver Falls State Park, OR, 5/2014.

Silver Falls State Park, OR, 5/2014.

There are nine species in the Synthyris genus.  Four appear in the Pacific Northwest.  Only two appear in the Columbia Gorge; this one, and Columbia Kittentails.  Both bloom early in the spring.  Compared to Kittentails, these are smaller, less showy, and harder to find.  One must look closely, sometimes under and amongst other small plants, for their tiny, whorled heads of blue-to-purple flowers.  The leaves are heart-shaped, almost like those of violets, but covered with hair and toothed.  The whole plants rarely rise more than a few inches from the forest floor.  Alternate common names include “Spring Queen”, “Deer Flower”, “Kittentoes” and “Grouse Flower.”

Cape Horn Trail, Columbia Gorge, WA, 3/2015.

Cape Horn Trail, Columbia Gorge, WA, 3/2015.

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