Douglas's spiraea (Spiraea douglasii), family Rosaceae ( Rose)
These plants grow in moist areas and are commonly seen all through summer. WIKIPEDIA offers this about this genus: Spiraea is a genus of about 80-100 species of shrubs in the Rosaceae, subfamily Spiraeoideae. They are native to the temperate Northern Hemisphere, with the greatest diversity in eastern Asia.
Spiraea species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Brown-tail, Emperor Moth, Grey Dagger, Hypercompe indecisa and Setaceous Hebrew Character.' End quote. In my opinion the larvae mentioned above are welcome to munch all they like. My sniffer was not all that attracted to the scent of this flower. My eyes liked it very much though :)
Plant location: This specimen was photographed along the Jackson Highway near Toledo Washington in late June 2007.Bloom period: Early spring through summer.
Elephantheads (Pedicularis groenlandica), family Orobanchaceae (Broomrape)
This rather bizarre looking plant is an old familiar resident of Mt Rainier, a place dear to us for it's marvelous populations of wildflowers and good hiking. The plant can be said to reach for the skies; it grows in a tall stalk-like configuration and can be found in elevations up to 12,000 feet. The common name of the genus family is Lousewort , as unflattering as it sounds. Some of the plants in the group were thought to cause lice infestations in livestock. Others of the lousewort group are also bizarre looking and described by such names as rams heads, sickles, and bird's beaks. WIKIPEDIA has this on the plant's genus: 'Pedicularis is a genus of perennial green root-parasite plants belonging
to the broomrape family Orobanchaceae. Between 350-600 species are accepted by different authorities, mostly from the wetter northern temperate zones, as well as from South America. The highest diversity is in eastern Asia, with 352 species accepted in China alone by the Flora of China.' End quote.
From the marvelous book by Janis Lindsey Huggins WILD AT HEART is this: 'If using Louseworts for medicine or food use caution. They can absorb toxins from nearby plants. For example, louseworts growing with Senecio species are known to contain their toxic alkaloids'. End quote. AND, while the genus name Pedicularis means 'little louse' and plants from the group were believed to give animals grazing nearby lice...hair and wigs were long ago powdered with the plant's substance to get rid of lice! Ok then!
Plant location: Sighted July 4 and August 18, 2007, in the Mt Rainier area. (Washington state) Mark shot the excellent pale pink photo on a short hike in Box Canyon. The other views of these Elephantheads he took on a hike, also in the Mt. Rainier area, the trail to Bench and Snow Lakes..Bloom period: a somewhat short bloom time of July and August. Our technical photography of these flowers was somewhat lacking. We found ourselves focused on closeups of the bizarre looking 'faces' looking back at us. It will be fun to capture more of the plant 'entire' next season.
Pine Sap (Monotropa hypopitys) formerly placed in the family Monotropaceae (old Cronquist system), but now included within the Ericaceae (Heath/Heather)
This counts as one of the most bizarre and interesting of the pink group that we have seen. As we hiked the Wonderland Trail on Mt. Rainier we first came across the little guy in the next panel. We thought it some kind of mushroom. Who could blame us! Later in the hike we came upon this 'taller' specimen and thought, ah ha! The mushrooms from before just were not all that developed yet. Hehe! The Pine Sap is described in the book WILDFLOWERS OF MOUNT RAINIER as the most common of the saprophytes. Ha! Never in all our hiking had we seen these. Striking, eh?!! More on these guys in the next panel...
Plant location: Seen on a hike in Mt Rainier (Washington state), part of the Wonderland Trail system in early August 2007.Bloom period: June through August.
Bog Laurel (Kalmia microphylla), family Ericaceae (Heath/Heather)
The genus is small with about 7 species. As the name suggests they like a watery area, and acidic as well. Most of the Kalmia's are native to eastern North America. And watch out, the flowers may look delicate and appealing but it can KILL YOU. Especially if you are a sheep. Every good literate sheep ought to infer a heads-up upon hearing some of the species names; lamb-kill, calf-kill, kill-kid, and the subtle sheep-poisen. Don't feel safe if you are not a sheep, humans are susceptible too. The foliage and twigs will get you.
Plant location: Seen on July 4, 2007 - Bench and Snow Lake Trail on Mt Rainier (Washington state).Bloom period: July and August, an evergreen shrub considered subalpine.
Fringed Pine Sap!! (Pleuricospora fimbriolata), family Ericaceae (Heath/Heather)
Yes, folks, botanically this is a FLOWER. Not some weird kind of mushroom as we first thought. But this sighting was indeed as special as we first felt about this extremely interesting and unusual plant. While Fringed Pine Sap is a known inhabitant of the Mt Rainier area, it is not a common sighting. Don't we feel special! The following information is from Wikipedia: 'Monotropaceae was a small family of flowering plants under the old Cronquist system of plant classification. It included the eight genera Allotropa, Hemitomes, Monotropa, Monotropsis, Pityopus, Pleuricospora, Pterospora, Sarcodes. Recent genetic research by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group has however demonstrated that these genera are better placed in the family
Ericaceae. Before this, it was sometimes also placed under Pyrolaceae. All monotropes are myco-heterotrophs, meaning that they contain no chlorophyll and therefore do not get their food from photosynthesis, but instead derive nutrients from parasitizing fungi.' End quote. Ah ha..so maybe we were not quite so far off thinking we were looking at shrooms. So there you have it - our most interesting flower find to date.
Plant location: Seen on a hike in Mt Rainier (Washington state), part of the Wonderland Trail system in early August 2007.Bloom period: Supposedly June and July, but we saw them in August.
Rosy Spiraea -or- Mountain-sweet (Spiraea densiflora), family Rosaceae
These cheery pretty colored flowers light up their surroundings nicely. They bloom in a fairly broad elevation range of 2,000 to 11,000 feet. These plants are native to North America's temperate regions. The genus has 80-100 species, however, with the greatest variation occuring in eastern Asia. The book WILDFLOWERS OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST by Turner and Gustafson describes these flowers as uncommon sightings. It seems to us that we have seen them in multiple locations. But our photographic record only includes this one location from 2005. Technical information from WIKIPEDIA is this: 'Spiraea species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Brown-tail, Emperor Moth, Grey Dagger,
Hypercompe indecisa and Setaceous Hebrew Character. The genus was formerly treated as also containing the herbaceous species now segregated into the genera Filipendula and Aruncus; recent genetic evidence has shown that Filipendula is only distantly related to Spiraea, belonging in the subfamily Rosoideae.' End quote. Plant location: These lovely bells were sighted hiking the Bench Lake Trailhead at Mt Rainier in Washington state. The date was July 4, 2007.Bloom period: June through August, with beautiful fall foliage later in the season.
Pippsissewa or Prince's Pine (Chimaphila umbellata), family Ericaceae (Heath/Heather)
This is an elegant, classy looking flower. We saw Pippsissewa twice during the 2007 season. The two locations differed greatly. The plant was in a loamy soil in a forest setting the second sighting, and in a much drier arid place in Mark's viewing. The particular day that we hiked in Rainier it was rainy and the flowers themselves had been wetted. The shiny look of the flowers combined with their regal look gave the impression that they thrived in a moist environment. I had not yet seen Mark's photo's. I was surprised to see the flowers, then, in such a dry area as Twisp Washington. It turns out that Pippsissewa is most comfortable in that setting! The elevation to find the plants is from 1000' to about 9000', a pretty good range. A surprise
that our research revealed was that this plant is the source of a tasty flavoring that is used in candies and particularly in root beer - yum! According to the book WILDFLOWERS OF MOUNT RAINIER, the leaves of the plant contain a substance that can possibly dissolve kidney stones. Plant location: This was our second sighting of Pippsissewa. We took the photo during our hike on the Wonderland Trail on Mt Rainier (Washington state) on August 18, 2007. The large view was seen in Twisp Washington when Mark was doing some dual sport motorcycling. July 27, 2007.Bloom period: Quite short.June and July, although our 2nd sighting was a 'late bloomer'.
Twinflower (Linnaea borealis), family Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle)
The plant is undecided by botanists as belonging to a specific family. It is classed in two different families: Caprifoliaceae and it's own family Linnaeaceae. The pleasing shape of these hanging trumpet-shaped flowers is attention getting. But a surprise awaits - the insides of the blooms are a delicate hue of pinkish red. Altogether this is one charming little flower. The blossoms come in twos, giving the plants a sense of balance, as well as unity. They are not especially high altitude bloomers; 750' to 8000' tops. The book WILDFLOWERS OF MOUNT RAINIER by Laird R. Blackwell describes the flower as having a 'delicious honeysuckle fragrance'. We look forward to seeing for ourelves this season! This plant is rather unusual in
that it is the only member of its genus, although there are some sub-species in the group that conform to geographic locations; North America, Europe, and Asia. Per WIKIPEDIA, the flower is the provincial emblem of Sm?land in Sweden, Linnaeus' home province. In Great Britian the flower is listed as nationally scarce. Plant location: Sighted on July 7, 2007 in the Sunrise area of Mt Rainier, Washington state.Bloom period: June through August.
The flowers were in superb condition when I first saw them on Larch Mountain. It was love at first sight. They simply anchored themselves in my mind and continue to nestle there sweetly. This plant is found below 5000' generally with a fairly broad distribution. In both instances of sightings the blooms were shaded as well as quite small in size. This made photography challenging. It was most satisfying to capture good shots of the blossoms a number of times. The slide with two flowers is a juxtaposition of two of those shots. I very much like Mark's perspective of the bloom as well. Information from Wikipedia is this: 'Trientalis is a small genus of flowering plants containing three species known as starflowers or wintergreens. These plants have the unusual trait of sometimes bearing flower parts in sevens. They may also come in fives and sixes. The roots are tuber-like. They are native to North America and northern Eurasia.' End quote. With only three species in this genus, I savor the sightings of these special little flowers. Note that the specimens photographed are indeed an example of the seven bearing flower parts. Plant location: two locations are represented in this composite, Larch Mountain (Oregon state) and Mt Rainier (Washington state). The photographs are by both Mark and I about a week apart - early July 2007.Bloom period: May through July.
Bush Morning Glory -or- Old-Man-of-the-Earth (Ipomoea leptophylla), family Convolvulaceae (Morning Glory)
This plant can claim some serious longevity for a rather unprepossesing bushy plant. We were astonished to learn that it can live up to 50 years. The surprises do not stop there. The roots of the plant can be so huge that they have been found as big around as fence posts and weighed up to TWENTY FIVE POUNDS!! This is considered a plains plant, not exactly the habitat where we found it, but we sure wouldn't fight this plant over it! There are over 500 species in the genus Ipomoea. Interesting uses of the plants from this genera comes from WIKIPEDIA: 'Human use of Ipomoea is threefold: First, most species have spectacular, colorful flowers and are
often grown as ornamental plants, and a number of cultivars have been developed. Their deep flowers attract large Lepidoptera - especially Sphingidae such as the Pink-spotted Hawkmoth (Agrius cingulata) -, or even hummingbirds. Second, the genus includes food crops; the tubers of Sweet Potato (I. batatas) and the leaves of Water Spinach (I. aquatica) are commercially important food items and have been for millennia. The Sweet Potato is one of the Polynesian "canoe plants", transplanted by settlers on islands all over that ocean. The third way humans use Ipomoea is due to these plants' content of medically and psychoactive compounds, mainly alkaloids. Some species are renowned for their properties in folk medicine and herbalism; for example Vera Cruz Jalap (I. jalapa) and Tampico Jalap (I. simulans) are used to produce jalap, a cathartic preparation accelerating the passage of stool. Kiribadu Ala (Giant Potato, I. mauritiana) is one of the many ingredients of chyawanprash, the ancient Ayurvedic tonic called "the elixir of life" for its wide-ranging properties.' End quote. Plant location: This plant was on Hwy 2 just outside of Brighton Colorado. July 3, 2008Bloom period: June through August.
Meet the vivid Lewis Monkeyflower (Mimulus lewisii), family Phrymaceae (Lopseed)
This lovely plant puts on a really lively show, doesn't it. Since it likes the water, there is often the soothing sounds of moving moisture that accompanies the presence of this pretty plant. Like it's yellow counterpart in the 'Yellow Pages' on this website, the Lewis Monkeyflower's 'throat' bears flypaper! It is a meat-eater - if you can call insects meat! The preferred elevation (always of interest to us hikers) is in the range of 4000' to 9500'. There are a good number of species within the genus Mimulus - about 150. The book WILDFLOWERS OF MOUNT RAINIER speaks of the Lewis Monkeyflower as the 'quintessential flower of Rainier's wet environments' and that it could even rival the Avalanche
Lily as the signature flower of Mount Rainier. With the glorious profusion of wildflowers to be seen in this area during prime wildflower season, that is a marvelous compliment to this plant. Plant location: Seen on the Pinnacle Peak trail, Mt. Rainier (Washington state) late August 2007. If you visit Yellowstone National Park, see this plant there as we did on August 29, 2009. The plant was located at GPS coordinates N44.47.468 W110.26.819, elevation 8860'.Bloom period: Enjoy while you can, the bloom period is SHORT - only July and August!
Wild Rose (Rosa woodsii), family Roseaceae
This abundant plant is found in many habitats. Our specimen was a lovely sight along side a stream on the way to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado state. There are 100 species in this genus, mostly native to Asia and some to North America. The uses of rose is varied; perfume, rose oil, brewed tea for it's high content of vitamin C, and rose hips for the making of jam/jellies/marmalade. Thye historical information and beliefs about roses in ancient cultures is interesting. From WIKIPEDIA is this: 'The rose has always been valued for its beauty and has a long history of symbolism. The ancient Greeks and Romans identified the rose with their goddesses of love referred to as Aphrodite and Venus. In Rome a wild rose would be placed on the door
of a room where secret or confidential matters were discussed. The phrase sub rosa, or "under the rose", means to keep a secret - derived from this ancient Roman practice. Early Christians identified the five petals of the rose with the five wounds of Christ. Despite this interpretation, their leaders were hesitant to adopt it because of its association with Roman excesses and pagan ritual. The red rose was eventually adopted as a symbol of the blood of the Christian martyrs. Roses also later came to be associated with the Virgin Mary. Rose culture came into its own in Europe in the 1800s with the introduction of perpetual blooming roses from China. There are currently thousands of varieties of roses developed for bloom shape, size, fragrance and even for lack of prickles.' End quote. Famous writers through history has referred to the rose in their works; William Shakespeare, Robert Burns, Mark Twain, James Oppenheim, and Getrude Stein. Plant location: Hwy 119, outside of Boulder Colorado on July 17, 2008.Bloom period: June to August.
Sticky geranium (Geranium viscosissimum), family Geranicacae
The foliage of this geranium species is easily confused with Oregon Geranium. That plant is uncommon to the area where we sighted this fellow so the Sticky geranium rules the day. There was a stand of these plants fairly close together near the edge of a stream bed. We actually stopped the car to look at what appeared to be a critter in the middle of the stream - wrong - it was a tree branch. Oh well. It was a good time to stretch our legs, and look at what we found! This is our only sighting of Sticky geranium to date. The members of this genus are also called cranesbills. Supposedly the seed-heads look like, well..cranes bills. Our candidate you can judge for yourselves, but there are also 422 others to
choose from! These delectable plants are among the group that are devoured by the larvae of certain moths including the Mouse Moth. Hmmm, must be pretty delectable.Geranium Family Factoid:Weber and Witmann's book Colorado Flora Eastern Slope has a fascinating discourse on the family's method of propagation: 'The geraniums have developed a remarkable method of planting their seeds. The gynoecium splits into 5 1-seeded units (mericarps), each attached to a split length of style that coils like a spring. Falling to the ground, the spring coils and uncoils with changes in atmospheric humidity. If the spring lies against a grass stem or other fixed object, it drills the sharp pointed mericarp, containing the seed, into the earth.' End quote.
Plant location: seen outside of the Cle Elum Washington area in June 2007.Bloom period: May through August.
Field Bindweed -or- Small Flowered Morninglory -or- Creeping Jenny (Convolvulus arvensis), family Convolvulaceae (Bindweed -or- Morning Glory)
These very pretty little flowers would be much more appreciated if they were not quite so tenacious in their growth. They are found all throughout the United States and in many states are too much of a good thing. In Colorado they are a 'C' list noxious weed. There are 18 genera in Convolvulaceae, with 9 species in Convolvulus. Yet some of the members of the family are valuable to us. Per WIKIPEDIA is this 'The leaves and starchy tuberous roots of some species are used as foodstuffs (e.g. sweet potato and water spinach), and the seeds are exploited for their medicinal value as purgatives.' End quote. These
plants may be too present in many of the United States, but the Native American Ethnobotany website has a number of interesting records on this species: 'Navajo, Ramah Drug (Dermatological Aid) Cold infusion of plant taken and used as a lotion for spider bites. Navajo, Ramah Drug (Gastrointestinal Aid) Cold infusion taken with food after swallowing a spider. Pomo Drug (Gynecological Aid) Decoction of plant taken for excessive menstruation. Pomo, Kashaya Drug (Gynecological Aid) Decoction of stem with leaves taken for excessive menstruation. Okanagan-Colville Fiber (Cordage) Stems used as a "pack rope" for carrying birds and marmots home after hunting.' End quote. Plant location: Near Brighton Colorado on July 3, 2008. The plants were right off the roadside for us to see while stopped at a red light. These perennial vine/herbs were
introduced from Europe and will be seen in cultivated fields, roadsides, and open areas. Bloom period: May through October.