Nature Notes

Vol. XII August, 1934 No. 8

wildflowers August's Flowers

Red, white and blue - our national colors - are blazing forth from the hillsides in Mt. Rainier Nat'l Park at this time. The Hudsonian meadows are alive with rainbow hues. Red Heather (Phullodoce empetriformis) and the various Indian Paintbrushes lend the red to this combination; Valerian (Valerian sitchensis), Mt. Dock (Bistorda bistoitoides) and many others contribute the white while the blue is most noticeable in the masses of Lupine (Lupinus latifolius var. subalpinus) which is found in such abundance in these meadows at this time. The early season has brought the flowers to their peak more than a month earlier.

The higher elevations of the Tatoosh Range are a riot of color with such plants as the Phlox (Phlox diffusa), Gilia (Septodectylon nuttallii), Purple Pentstemon (Pentstemon menziesii), Stonecrop (Sedum divergens), Sandwort (Arenaria capillaris var. nardifolia) and many others being the most prominent.


The lower and less rigorous habitats in the meadows are characterized by those habits in the meadows are characterized by those mentioned in the first paragraph as well as many others, particularly the varioius members of the Composite family such as the Arnica, Senecio and Purple Aster while a bizzarre note is contributed by the peculiar flowers of the various louseworts which account for the odd names of Butterfly tongue (P. contorta) and Bird's beak (P. ornithorhynaca) - all indicative of the shape of the blossoms. Mimulus - both red and yellow - is found in moist places along the stream courses while the large, leafy stalk of the Hellebore (Veratrum viride) attracts its share of attention because of its size. Another plant that, in spite of its small stature, always finds a ready group of admirers is the Veronica or Speedwell (Veronica cusickii) for it is very abundant in the moist, well drained soils of these Hudsonian meadows.

On the upper fringe of the forests of the Canadian zone, one finds the shrubby White Rhododendron (Rhododendron albiflorum) with its white flowers. It is a beautiful plant that suffers from lack of attention because of the fact that many people, knowing of is relation to the showy state flower of Washington, expect much more of it.

Huckleberries promise to be adundant this year if one is to judge from the abundant flowers on the Low-bush Huckleberry (Vaccinium delicosim) and by the time this issue of Nature Notes reaches you the luscious fruit of this plant will be about ripe.

On might journey many miles before seeing a flower display such as is characteristic of the Hudsonian meadows in Mt. Rainier National Park. The abundance of the plants themselves, the variety of different habitats and their vivid colors in massed effect has justly contributed to the fame of this national park.

C. Frank Brockman
Park Naturalist.

Oregon grape and Sweet-after-death

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