The question most commonly asked during the late summer is, "What is that shrub we saw along the road with the bunches of bright red berries on it"? Usually the berries were all that were seen and it was impossible to secure a description of the plant. As there are no less than a dozen such bushes with red berries on them we could only refer the questioner to our collection of such plants and let him decide for himself which it was that impressed him.
The three most striking of such plants that were common along the road were the Western Elder-berry with its spike shaped bunches of small scarlet berries growing on large bushy shrubs with ash-like leaves, the Mountain Ash with its flat bunches of large red berries, woody stems and locust-like leaves, and the Devils Club growing in marshy places with a single spike of small red berries borne at the tip of a club-like, spiny stem, and surrounded with a rosette of giant maple-shaped leaves, also with thorns.
Other common "red berries" are the Salmon Berry, the Bunch Berry or Canada Dogwood, the Solomon Seal, Kinnikinnick, Western Yew, and the Red Huckleberry.
Although Rainier is world famous for its fields of multi-colored wild flowers the hillsides of the high mountain valleys are clothed in colors during the height of the flower season no more brilliant than those of late fall when the frost has spared no pains in painting the landscape with the most vivid reds and yellows of nature's paint box. The reds of the dwarfed Huckleberry bushes and the Vine Maples equal in brilliance and surpass in varieties of shades the magenta, Indian Paintbrush; the yellows of the Mountain Ash leaves and the Black Cottonwoods are rivals of the buttercups or the still-blooming Alpine Mimulus.
The seasons growth of tender blue-green tips on the tall spire-like Alpine Firs and Mountain Hemlocks gives countless shades of green to the massed tree growth of the high country and these darker shades help to accentuate the flaming colors of mother nature's autumn dress.
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