Nature Notes

Vol. IV August 4, 19<26/B> No. 6

F. W. Schmoe

We have spring every day in the season at some place on the mountain. Spring came very early in the high valleys this year, avalanche lilies were blooming almost two months earlier than usual, and now have been gone for almost a month. But it is still spring along the edge of the receding snowfields above timberline and spring flowers are still blooming. Ordinarily August first marks the peak of the summer flower season in Paradise Valley, but this year it has brought autumn flowers and autumn weather.

The mutli-colored flower fields are a thing of the past. Fall flowers are numerous and here and there on warm southern hillsides they make a very striking display, but the glory of the blue lupine, the squaw grass, and the heather is past. Asters of several different varieties and the orange paintbrush dominate the fields while the red and yellow mimulus change each dashing mountain streamlet into a natural Japanese garden. The real sign of the season however is the blueberry.

Blueberries are ripe. The bears are less regular in their appearance at tje garbage dump and the local Indians have started their annual migration to the alpine berry fields.

The common meadow mushroom, so much sought after by those who have experienced its delicious flavor is also showing its white crown above the grass in moist spots - fully a month ahead of schedule. In the dry stream-beds of the upper valley the Grass of Farnassus is also blooming in great profusion. It is a beautiful flower, pure white and buttercup shaped with a fringe of white hairs about each petal, and a glossy rounded leaf. It is not common in the valley with the exception of these few stream-beds.


New at least to the present generation of park naturalist and so far as we can find not before recorded from the Park is the Syringa, (Philadelphus sp.) recently found growing just below Reflection Lake on the Narada Falls Trail. It is a shrub common at lower elevations along the northwest coast and greatly admired wherever it is found. The species found, (only one bush growing on a southern hillside below a rock cliff in open country at 4,800 feet elevation) would seem to be Philadelphus lewisii although not definately determined as yet.

This plant gives us an interesting check on the differences in season occasioned by elevation. The Syringa, just beginning to bloom at 4,800 feet elevation was seen in bloom late in May at sea level. A difference in time of twenty days for each thousand feet of elevation.

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