Henderson’s Stars (Triteleia hendersonii)
Pacific Crest Trail near Green Springs, Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, OR, 7/2019.
We were excited to find this dramatically-colored flower in a recent trip to the Siskiyou Mountains in southern Oregon.
We were equally excited to learn that is somewhat rare, endemic to the area, and bears the name of a local botanist legend. We originally mistook this umbel-shaped lily for Pretty Face, an all-yellow Triteleia we found (over 10 years ago!) in Oregon’s Strawberry Mountains. Like fancy versions of the common garden Daylily, these lilies stand several feet tall.
Louis F. Henderson (1853-1942) is a founding father of northwest botany. This is our first post of one of the over a dozen northwest flowers that bear his name. Born the grandson of a Mississippi Senator, his long and interesting life began in Massachusetts. He and his brother graduated from Cornell University, after which he headed to Oregon where he taught at the(!) Portland high school (Lincoln High) before becoming the state botanist of Washington. He eventually taught college in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, each of which now house pieces of his vast herbarium. Like us, he spent his off hours hiking and botanizing the trails around Portland, and traveled (mostly by train!) to his favorite areas in Oregon’s Siskiyou and Blue Mountains. He is said to have swam across the Columbia River days before his 70th birthday. We can all hope for as much!