Bastard Toadflax (Comandra umbellata)
This native flowering plant is one we often see on spring hikes in the Columbia River Gorge, and always get a kick out of its common name. Unfortunately the meaning is “not readily apparant” according to one source. It seems to allude to a resemblance of this plant’s leaves to an actual toadflax (linaria), but doesn’t really look like either of the non-native linarias that we’ve seen.
More interesting is its partial parasitic nature. Not purely parasitic, like the many mycotrophic wildflowers we’ve posted, plants in the Sandalwood family also contain chlorophyll (as witnessed by the green leaves) and thus can create energy from sunlight, in addition to what their rhizomes can glean from the roots of nearby plants.
The waxy white-to-pink flowers are petal-less, the five lobes you see are actually sepals. We have yet to observe the globe fruit that replaces each flower in the fall.