Nature Notes

Vol. X July, 1932 No. 7


Summer has moved in upon the mountain's slopes - bag and baggage! The timbered lowlands are brightened by the pure white petals of the Forest Anemone, Canadian Dogwood, Queen's Cup and many others, sparkling under the spell of some shaft of sunlight that has found its way through the evergreen canopy overhead to the forest floor below. But bright colors in the woods are rare. Most generally one must look closely to observe the delicate blossoms that are found there as in the case of the Fairy Bells and Star-flowered Solomon Seal which hide their blossoms among their abundant foliage.

sketch of plants

So here the more somber shades of green predominate, green of mosses and ferns and the fresh shiny green of plans just emerging into a new season. Early flowers here are white or cream-colored like those already mentioned, but they add a note of color in flashing contrast to the surrounding forest. Later will come the waxy pink of the Pipsissewa, the fragrant rose-hues blooms of the Twinflower and the Coral Root, whose peculiar appearance and coral color attract one's attention upon the dull brown background of the decaying forest litter. But never do we find the boisterous, flashing colors in the forests that we see in the higher meadows which are just now being released from their bondage of winter's snows. Here, already, we find the yellow and white Avalanche Lilies and the Western Anemones is beginning to lift its had into the sun upon its characteristic thick, fuzzy, stem. Wherever patches of bare ground are coming into view one sees evidence of the vanguard of colorful flowers. Where melting snow forms marshy patches we see the first of the Marsh Marigolds. Here and there at rare intervals we catch our first glimpses of the red of the heathers.

sketch of plants

sketch of plants

And we are thus reminded of the hillsides a few weeks hence, when theis same heather will flame in massed order in the sub-alpine meadows. There will be a white heather too -- and a yellow species. Both will add their notes of color to the medly of blooms. Now look aloft to some beetling cliff that flanks the steely hues of some glacier sweeping down from "The Mountain's" summit. Basalt it is, but its dark shadowy bulk is relieved by the pressures here and there of the flaming red of the Pentstamen or "Pride of the Mountains", which has found a bit of earth in some small crevice there upon that bald, inhospitable pile. Here and there, in some moist situation at the bases of such a cliff you will find the Mertensia, its light blue flowers nodding in the breeze upon their long succulent stems. There too, we find some species of the Yellow Mimulus. And this is also a promise of color to come later - for no more beautiful sight than the massed red and yellow of the two most common species of Mimulus that thrive in the moist habitat along the streams of the sub-alpine regions late in the summer.

The drive to Paradise now and the many inviting trails on the way that one sees from the highway are not without their appeal to nature-lovers. The tall erect clusters of white flowers that one sees are the Bear Grass or Indian Basket Grass. No more conspicuous plant is found on "The Mountain", and visitors seeing it for the first time rarely fail to marvel at its beauty.

Each day - each week - brings new floral beauties. One watches the trend in botanical development here with interest and in anticipation of the time, now but a few weeks hence, when the flowers will be at their peak. Then it is that it seems that nature had daubed the mountainsides with brilliant, flaming hues, thousanes of plants of a hundres species or more, bidding for one's attention and interest.


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