Nature Notes

Vol. III July 8, 1925 No. 2

THE TWIN FLOWER (Linnaea americana)
By Charles Landes, Nature Guide

All the plants of the forest are shade loving plants but some are more tolerant than others. Nature seems to try to cover up her ugly spots with verdure and the dainty little twin-flower is a very effective aid to Mother Nature in this respect.

The twin-flower, being a shade lover, grows luxuriantly in our forests, and old logs, stumps and the entire forest floor are in many places completely covered with a carpet of leathery evergreen leaves, bright green and glossy.

The plant belongs to the Honeysuckle family and is made up of a profusion of delicate trailing branches that creep over the ground or sprawl over logs and stumps to form an almost perfect mosaic, with their leaves hiding everything beneath.

The trailing woody runners send up at short intervals erect stems terminating a short distance above the leaves in two pendant blossoms, one on either side, hence its name, twin-flower. This delicate bell-shaped blossom was the favorite flower of the father of botany, Linneaseus, in whose honor it was named Linnaea. Add to beauty of foliage and flower a fragrance like Heliotrope, so marked that the plant may be detected by the odor before it is seen and you have a plant well worthy the great botanists admiration.

The Twin-flower grows from sea-level up to about 4,000 feet elevation but reaches its greatest development at about the altitude of Longmire Springs. (2700 feet)


No doubt the Indians of the Northwest looked up at the great peak which towered majestically above them with mingled fear and reverence. It is true of any aboriginal people - and almost as true of us, although we hesitate to admit it - That what they cannot understand they fear, and what they fear they worship. There is no question but what the local Indians worshipped this mysterious fire-mountain with its changing moods as they worshipped the spirits of the sea. And is it not a fact that our own reverence of the old peak is very close to worship.

Late in the eighteenth century came Spanish traders to the waters of the Northwest lured as Columbus some three hundred years before by the hope of great discoveries and the assurance of sea-otter skins. Close upon the heels of the roving Spaniards came Captain Robert Gray of Boston on a trading voyage, followed by Captain George Vancouver of the Royal British Navy on his "Voyage of Discovery" Vancouver was intent upon spreading the Empire and incidentally securing a few "Sea-Otter skins" for himself.


It was Vancouver who on the eighth of May, 1792 first sighted the rounded snowy dome of the mountain. At least Vancouver was the first to leave any record of having seen the mountain. Another pause of almost half a century and the Puget Sound region saw the coming of those great explorers-traders, the factours of the Hudson Bay Company, and with them Dr. William Fraser Tolmie, a surgeon who was also interested in botany.

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