A collection of flora from the pacific wonderland.

Unique to Northwest

Elmera (Elmera racemosa)

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Mt. Ellinor trail, Olympic National Forest, WA, 8/2020.

We often see these spikes of cream-colored bells on rocky peaks and ridges.  (more…)


Cardwell’s Penstemon (Penstemon cardwellii)

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Boundary Trail, Mt. St. Helen’s National Park, WA,  6/2018.

Yet another brilliantly colored Penstemon, P. cardwellii thrives in thin sandy soils, like the northwest side of Mt. St. Helen’s, where we found a stunning display.  (more…)


Vanilla Leaf (Achlys triphylla)

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Three Corner Rock Trail, Skamania County, WA, 5/2020.

It’s nearly impossible to hike in the Cascades without recognizing large drifts of this common plant in the understory, but nearly as rare is seeing it in bloom.  (more…)


Thick-leaf Thelypody (Thelypodium laciniatum var. laciniatum)

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Lyle Cherry Orchard Trailhead, Columbia Gorge, WA,  4/2016.

This early bloomer is only found in dry rocky sites at lower and middle elevations. In fact, most of the photos we’ve seen of this uncommon plant have it springing directly from a rock face. (more…)


Oregon Geranium (Geranium Oreganum)

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Pacific Crest Trail, Hobart Bluff, Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, OR, 7/2019.

We found these large purple flowers in alluring sun-spotted drifts while hiking this summer in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument along the Pacific Crest Trail.  (more…)


Roundleaf Alumroot (Heuchera Cylindrica)

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Tygh Creek Trail, Badger Creek Wilderness, OR, 5/2016.

Roundleaf Alumroot is a demure relative of the bold colored Heucheras one finds in home gardens. (more…)


Wedgeleaf Violet (Viola cuneata)

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Eight Dollar Mountain, Selma, OR, 4/2015.

A special two-colored violet found only in serpentine soils at the Oregon-California border, a unique botanical environment we return to again and again. (more…)


Bell Catchfly (Silene campanulata)

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Viewpoint Mike Trail, Lost Creek Lake, OR, 4/2018.

We recently photographed this uncommon catchfly, and then realized we had also seen it on a previous trip visiting, Oregon’s southern Cascades.  Although common in this limited area, we more often see Parry’s Catchfly, elsewhere in the northwest.  (more…)


Toothed Owl’s Clover (Orthocarpus cuspidatus)

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Pacific Crest Trail, Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, OR, 7/2019.

At one point in the spectacular Hobart Bluff-Soda Mountain section of the Pacific Crest Trail in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, we found the trailside covered in these pretty Owl’s clovers we had never seen before.  (more…)


Henderson’s Stars (Triteleia hendersonii)

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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.

(more…)


Farewell to Spring (Clarkia amoena)

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Tire Mountain, Willamette National Forest, OR, 7/2019.

Often seen growing amid browning grasses from drying soil, this lovely flower gets its common name from the fact that it appears as many spring blooms are dying back, often carpeting full hillsides.    (more…)


Bach’s Calicoflower (Downingia bacigalupii)

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Hyatt Lake Recreation Area, Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, OR, 7/2019.

What a pleasant surprise to discover large patches of these tiny blue & yellow flowers in the dry outlet of Hyatt Lake, in Southern Oregon. (more…)


Royal Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium carneum)

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Cone Peak Trail, Willamette National Forest, OR, 6/2016.

We rarely see this flower in full bloom, and then hardly ever without an insect of some sort on its lovely petals.  (more…)


Giant White Wake Robin (Trillium albidum)

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Camassia Nature Preserve, West Linn, OR, 4/2019.

“What a pleasure, seeing the year’s first trilliums in March or April, just when the winter rains feel like Forever!”  —  Daniel Mathews, Cascade-Olympic Natural History

We couldn’t agree more! (more…)


Leatherleaf Saxifrage (Leptarrhena pyrolifolia)

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Bagley Creek, Mount Baker National Forest, WA, 7/2016.

We didn’t initial think this plant was a saxifrage because we mostly saw the red seed heads and stems, (more…)


Varied-leaf Collomia (Collomia heterophylla)

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Glacier Lake Trail, Goat Rocks Wilderness, Gifford Pinchot NF, WA, 6/2018.

The Varied-leaf Collomia is a much smaller sibling to the previously-posted Grandiflora collomia. Although their tiny sweet pink flowers (more…)


California Groundcone (Boschniakia strobilacea)

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Jacksonville Cemetery, Jacksonville, OR, 4/2018.

We found this parasitic, purple-hued “flower” in a couple wooded locations in an early southern Oregon trip, (more…)


Tolmie’s Saxifrage (Saxifraga tolmiei)

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Vista Ridge Trail, Mt. Hood Wilderness, OR, 8/2016.

Yet another of the many northwest saxifrage species; (more…)


American Sawwort (Saussurea americana)

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Home Sweet Home, Olympic National Park, WA, 8/2018.

If ever one needs a reminder that flowers exist to attract pollinators rather than for  human enjoyment, look no further than the homely sawwort.  (more…)


Round-Headed Buckwheat (Eriogonum sphaerocephalum)

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Umtanum Creek Recreation Area, Yakima River Canyon, WA, 6/2018.

We encountered this bright yellow buckwheat shrub dotting the pale dry sagebrush steppe in the Yakima River Valley in early summer.  (more…)


Sagebrush Mariposa Lily (Calochortus macrocarpus)

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Umtanum Ridge Trail, Yakima River Canyon (BLM), WA 6/2018.

The exquisite sagebrush mariposa lily, the largest in size of the many calochortus, (more…)


Washington Twinpod (Physaria alpestris)

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Burnt Mountain Trail, William O. Douglas Wilderness, WA 6/2018.

This uncommon, low-lying member of the mustard family, also known as bladderpod, is found in dry sandy soil.  (more…)


Spotted Saxifrage (Saxifraga bronchialis)

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Upper Royal Basin, Olympic National Park, 7/2016.

This less-common saxifrage variety can be identified by its matted, basal, rosette-shaped leaves (shared with the Tolmiei species) and its upright, red stems, but mainly by the yellow, orange and red spots on its petals.  (more…)


Martindale’s Desert Parsley (Lomatium martindalei)

Silver Star Mountain, WA, 5/2015.

Silver Star Mountain, WA, 5/2015.

Although we’ve long enjoyed the “spring gold” dusting of these flowers across rocky landscapes in the early spring, (more…)