Native Plants

Found the first trilliums (Trillium ovatum) today on a west-facing slope at 4300 feet elevation. The snow has been gone for a week and a half, maybe. These tender green leaves poke up through the soft soil and unfold, to reveal the purest white petals. Like violets, I have known these flowers my whole life, and I never tire of finding them. Every spring is a joyous reunion.

This week, the Washington Native Plant Society celebrates native vegetation. Living here in the rain shadow of the Cascades, I enjoy a great abundance and variety of native vegetation. To the west are plant communities that thrive on moisture, cooler temperatures, and higher elevations. To the east, it’s a little drier and warmer. Turn the corner, cross a slope, head up a draw–you will find something different within a short distance. The area is a geological jumble, with volcanic, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks contributing to a variety of soil conditions. The plants depend on the terrain and climate. This is not a dull place to be a plant-lover.

As the snow melts, the trail crew will follow spring deeper into the mountains, and I will still be finding trilliums in early July. One week is not nearly long enough to celebrate native vegetation. Go out and discover for yourself how conifers are woven into our life here. Now is the moment for the soft green-bronze of emerging cottonwood leaves. The silvery leaves of sagebrush are plump with rain, and the balsamroots under the pines turn their yellow sunflower faces to the sky. Go out there and see for yourself what grows and blossoms after winter ends.

Emerging larch buds against the bark of the tree (Larix occidentalis)

3 thoughts on “Native Plants

  1. We’re bonded by many of the same plants in our far apart eco systems, Deb… I, too, am enjoying both the white and the purple Trillium just now as newly arrived visitors. Dogwood shrubs are beginning to bloom. There are wild strawberry blossoms. New leaves. Little forest floor plants.. several types. Mosses are blooming, too! We’re a mossy place.No sage. **smiling** Our White Tails taste nothing like Pronghorn! BTW… it amazed me that Wyoming elk hunters would hunt Pronghorn for the sole purpose of making jerky to carry on their elk hunting forays. Oops. Back to new life and flowers… my bad. I’ll pay even more attention than usual when I’m “out there” today. Thanks.

    1. P.S. I intended to mention that I grew up hearing the Trilliums referred to as “Stinkin Benjamins”.

  2. Hi there, I popped over from Girl… MaryJanes site…
    I love what you wrote here today… and being a transplant from the ” wild west” to New England I completely get what you are saying about New England Sensibilities…. that being said, I love the traditions, and the quaintness and beauty of this area… It’s a huge contrast from the sage covered ground I came from but it is HOME.. where ever my family ( and flowers are ) that is home to me…I’ve been digging in the garden all day… tending newly planted seeds, planting new landscape roses and weeding… Just a perfect day to be outside… at one point I realized I wasn’t ” thinking ” about anything… just being in the moment! Now, it’s time for dinner…
    Thanks for the thoughts!
    PS… I’m MaryJanesBeachFarmgirl blogger. Do you read her farmgirl blogs? I am a fan of all of them!

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