White-stemmed Frasera (Frasera albicaulis var. Columbiana)
This attractive member of the gentian family is also sometimes called Elkweed. This are two variations of Frasera albicaulis in the Columbia Gorge. This, more common var. Columbiana, we captured in our late-spring hike on Major Creek Road. The other, Frasera albicaulis var. albicaulis is a dark purple color and is more common at the Washington-Idaho border. We have also seen the rare blooming Monument Frasera.
Note the upturned, white/silver edges on the leaves, which can be used to identify this plant when not in bloom.
The genus is named after John Fraser (1750-1811), a Scottish plant collector who hobnobbed with Thomas Jefferson and Czarina Catherine II, and played a large part in introducing novel American plants to the old country. His travels are highlighted in Wikipedia:
“As the 18th century came to a close, botanists who hunted plants afar were adventurers and explorers, John Fraser among them, fielding shipwrecks, sieges, slavery, pirates, escaped convicts and hostile natives. Fraser travelled extensively, from Scotland to England, the Americas, the West Indies, Russia, and points between. He began by collecting in Newfoundland …and then moved on to the Appalachian Mountains…all without the benefit of railroads or well-established highways. By the time he completed his journeys, John Fraser had introduced about 220 distinct species of plants from the Americas to Europe and beyond.”
Tygh Creek Trail, Badger Creek Wilderness Area, OR, 6/2017.