Nature Notes

Paradise Valley
Vol. I August 14, 1923 No. 5

Issued weekly by the Rainier National Park Nature Guide Service.
F. Schmoe, Naturalist. O. A. Tomlinson, Superintendent.


A question very frequently asked of the naturalists this time of the year is "What are the bright red berries we see everywhere?" This is frequently difficult to answer unless a very good description is given of the plant as there are so many different red berries at present. A small low four leaved plant with a bunch of red berries at the tip is common in the lower woods along roads and trails. It is the Canada dogwood or bunch berry. At low elevations, aslo in the marshy places is the big leaved, thorny Devil's Club with a cluster of red berries at the tip. Two shrubs are seen along the road, one with a large compound leaf and rounded bunch of small berries, the other with a smaller compound lead and a flattened bunch of larger berries. The first is the western Elder berry and the second is the Mountain Ash. Another shrub with single berries of a very intense red scattered over it is common, the red huckleberry. Most of these berries are edible but none are especially desirable for food.


The most common berry in the park is the blue berry or blue bush and the other the low bush blueberries. These berries are ripe now and are good for "man or beast" the bears, especially being fond of blueberries.


Two very interesting flowers were recently found by the guides on the Cowlitz cleaver at an elevation of 11,000 feet. One, a small cluster of white flowers, Smelowske ovalis, belongs to the mustard family and probably holds the altitude record on the mountain. The Naturalist was unable to determine the name of the second, but it is very likely another mustard, the Draba aureola.


Three new flowers are very common now in the valley and are among our most beautiful plants. The blue gentian growing in masses in marshy meadows and the red and yellow mimelus growing in and along streams. The red mimelus or monkey flower is the most plentiful but very common also is the yellow alpine mimelus. All three of these flowers may be seen along the road, on the Skyline trail or on either of the Glacier trails.


The white and yellow avalanch lilies that grew in such great profusion during the first half of the season have almost entirely disappeared now, leaving only the triangular seed pod with us. No yellow lilies have been seen within a week and only a few white ones remain where the snow lay longest. Indian basket grass, marsh marigold and buttercups have also almost entirely disappeared, their place being taken by the lupine, paint brush, asters, etc.


Nearly all of the coniferous trees are maturing cones at this time of the year. Watch along the road for the heavy erect cones of the firs, the masses of smal cones on the tips of the cedars and hemlocks and the long curves cones of the pines. You will find them very interesting.


A large buck whose tracks are often noted was seen near Pinnacle Peak this week resting on the snow. A doe and two fawns were reported from the auto road and our bears still report for food. Cony or rock rabbits are beginning to pile up their winters supply of hay to cure in the sun and half grown marmots are very much in evidence.

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