Posted by: Sandy Steinman | April 11, 2017

Columbia River Gorge Wildflower Reports 4/10/17

Oregon Wildflowers posted 4 new reports today for the Columbia River Gorge

Columbia Hills/The Dalles Mountain Ranch – Stacker Butte, and reports that although few flowers are blooming at the trailhead, there are more to be seen as you gain elevation. The balsamroot and lupine have not really started yet. Some of the varieties currently blooming include: Obscure Buttercup (Ranunculus triternatus), harsh paintbrush (Castilleja hispida), Spring beauty (Claytonia lanceolata), redstem spring beauty (Claytonia rubra), small-flowered blue-eyed mary (Collinsia parviflora), upland larkspur (Delphinium nuttallianum), desert shooting star (Dodecatheon conjugens), yellow bells (Fritillaria pudica), bulbiferous prairie-star (Lithophragma glabrum), nine-leaf desert parsley (Lomatium triternatum), Watson`s desert-parsley (Lomatium watsonii), Hood`s Phlox (Phlox hoodii), and grass widow (Olsynium douglasii var. inflatum) — this variety is found only in the Gorge near the summit of the Columbia Hills at higher elevations.

Eagle Creek – a number of wildflowers are in bloom, including: Columbia Kittentail (Synthyris missurica ssp. stellata) which are endemic to the Columbia River Gorge, Glacier Lily (Erythronium grandiflorum), Dutchman`s Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria), Small-flowered Prairie Star (Lithophragma parviflorum), Gold Stars (Crocidium multicaule), and Peak Sax.

Mosier Plateau –  Balsamroot is starting on Mosier Plateau. Other wildflowers are blooming as well, including: Pungent Desert Parsley (Lomatium grayi) especially near the waterfall, Glacier Lily (Erythronium grandiflorum), Fringe Pod (Thysanocarpus curvipes), and Prairie Star.

Lyle Cherry Orchard –The most profuse flowers at lower elevations (within and just above the forested area) include: Miner`s Lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata ssp. perfoliata); Rigid Fiddleneck (Amsinckia retrorsa); Small-flowered Prairie Star (Lithophragma parviflorum); Smooth Prairie Star (Lithophragma glabrum); Ball-head Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum capitatum var. thompsonii); Small-flowered Blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia parviflora); and plenty of Poison Oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum). (STAY ON THE TRAIL!)

Also blooming at lower elevations are: Midget Phlox (Microsteris gracilis); Bulbet Prairie Star (Lithophragma bulbifera); Bigroot (Marah oreganus); Columbia Desert Parsley (Lomatium columbianum; Pungent Desert Parsley (Lomatium grayi); Spring Whitlow-Grass (Draba Verna); Salt and Pepper (Lomatium piperi); Slender Popcorn Flower (Plagiobothrys tenellus); several patches of Great Hound`s Tongue (Cynoglossum grande); and Naked Broomrape (Orobanche uniflora)*.

As you enter the meadow, you will see copious amounts of Panicled Death Camas (Zigadenus paniculatus) beginning to bloom. (These are approximately two weeks behind schedule.) There are also profuse amounts of Barestem Desert Parsley (Lomatium nudicaule) and Columbia Gorge Broadleaf Lupine (Lupinus latifolius var. thompsonianus), though neither of these has started blooming yet.

Blooming at higher elevations just below the ridgeline: a profusion of Gold Stars (Crocidium multicaule); more Prairie Star (Lithophragma sp.) and Pungent Desert Parsley (Lomatium grayi); Arrowleaf Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata); and what might be Carey`s Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza careyana) (I am not 100% certain about this ID).

Blooming along the ridgeline: Upland Larkspur (Delphinium nuttallianum); Western Buttercup (Ranunculus occidentalis); LOTS of Poet`s Shooting Star (Dodecatheon poeticum); more Ball-headed Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum capitatum var. thompsonii) and Small-flowered Blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia parviflora); Oaks Toothwort (Cardamine nuttallii var. nuttallii); Northwestern Saxifrage (Saxifraga integrifolia var. claytoniifolia); and a few remaining Glacier Lily (Erythronium grandiflorum var. grandiflorum) just before the first pond. Though past peak, there are still many Grass Widows (Olsynium douglasii) blooming. Yellow Bells (Fritillaria pudica) are mostly finished, though there are a few hanging on.

*Watch for the tiny Orobanche uniflora on the left/uphill side of the trail after the wooden greeting sign and just before crossing several rocky sections. There is more blooming between those rocky s

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