Altho the recent rains came too late to do much good to the rapidly passing flower fields of the high valleys there are a few species that are still at their prime. Everywhere the hillsides are covered with asters, arnicas, hellebore, and wild parsnips while in marshy places and along streams the blue gentian and the mimulus are blooming in great profusion.
Another flower just now coming into bloom along small streamlets is the Grass of Parnassus. None at this time of year are more beautiful than this pure white, butter-cup like blossom, with its hair-fringed petals, violet-like leaves and masses of delicate flowers. Along the Skyline Trail between Paradise River and Edith Creek are numerous small stream beds which are at present filled with bunches of Parnassia fimbriata. Each day hundreds of the beautiful white buds are opening into delicate waxy cups and gradually the little stream beds are becoming swap gardens of exquisite beauty.
Strange as it may seem only two species of trees are found in the high mountain meadows of the Park such as Paradise Valley, Spray Park and Indian Henry's. These are typical sub-alpine trees that grown no lower than about 4,500 feet elevation. Of the two, the Alpine fir, Abies lasiocarpa, is perhaps the most common. This is the tall spirelike tree with drooping branches that extend to the ground. The other species is the mountain or Black Hemlock, a tree quite different from its cousin the Western Hemlock. The two trees may be distinguished by the more symetrical shape of the fir, the inch long needles rather than the half inch needles of the hemlock and the yellow-green foliage of the hemlock in contrast with the blue-green of the fir. The species name of the hemlock is Tsuga mertensiana.
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