Flett’s Violet (Viola flettii)
These lovely flowers are endemic to the Olympic Mountains.
We found plenty of more common Hook Violets at lower elevations, but only saw these beauties above treeline, peaking out from shaded rock crevices, as we scrambled toward Buckhorn Peak above Marmot Pass (avoiding getting too close to the family of resident mountain goats). They’re easily identifiable from other violets by their dark-veined, kidney-shaped leaves, yellow center, and their overall more sturdy appearance. Cohabitating with them in the rarified alpine air and rock were splotches of orange and yellow lichen and the bright green, toothed leaves of the still-to-come (and also endemic) Piper’s Bellflower. We assume the name makes reference to J.B. Flett, the early 20th century Mt. Rainier ranger who authored Features of the flora of Mount Rainier national park (1922).