Sunday, June 17, 2018

Finding the Rare One – An Audubon-Sponsored Wildflower Trip to the Blues

Which way?
This way?

Yes, this way.

A glorious day of hunting wildflowers in the Blues with our guides Jeff and Cheryl Fredson was a day of discoveries.  The flowers were bagged one by one with checkmarks on a list prepared ahead of time by Cheryl.

Early on I lost my yellow, #2 pencil in a field of flowers. When I backtracked to locate it, I couldn't find it, but I spotted the tip of a pencil under some wild strawberry leaves.  Here was my replacement writing implement. A rare first find in the woods:

Although the flowers were absolutely the highlight of the trip, the trees offered their own version of sensuous and lovely.

Pine Tree Buds Opening
The emerging buds of a pine tree (above) appear as if they are the petals of a flower, but the cone flower below is a flower with green petals.  A child once asked me if there were flowers with green petals.  I thought not.  Shortly afterwards,he spotted one of these green cone flowers alongside a road in the Blue Mountains in Oregon.  Proved me wrong!

Western Cone Flower

Green can be a most sensuous color.

Leaves of the California Corn Lily - Common in Target Meadows, OR
An unidentified bug coming in for a Landing on a Corn Lily
Alpine Mitrewort

The blossom of the Alpine Mitrewort (above) is only an eighth of an inch wide, but a very tiny bug would appreciate the beckoning arms.  The plant with a backdrop of green is easy to overlook by humans.  We found it by a tiny stream in Target Meadows.

Least you be tired of green, here are a few of of the other flowers that we saw:

Big Head Clover

Skyrocket Scarlet Gilia and Harsh Indian Paintbrush (orange)

And a rare flower – previously unlisted on the Umatilla Forest Species List – a Silver Crown Luina:

At least, that is what we are hoping!  These are normally found in the Cascades in Washington and into northern California.  Cheryl is returning on Monday to check again.  Fingers crossed.  A new rarity for the Blue Mountains!  

A Silver Crown Luina?  I would have named it the Wild Hair Flower.

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