Nature Notes

Vol. VI July 29th, 1928 Summer Season No. 3


During the past year three new plants have been described, two of which were found last summer, while the third was collected in 1896.

The first, a Hawkweed, a plant that belongs to the same family as the Dandelion, was found in Indian Henrys'. The plant grows among the rocks in the saddle between Iron and Crystal Mountains. The plant averages about a foot in height, has narrow leaves, which are quite furry. The flowers are yellow and are quite noticeable when in blossom. The scientific name is Hieracium Flettii, named after J. B. Flett, the veteran Naturalist of Rainier National Park.

The second is a Lousewort, so that now we have six species of Louseworts in the Park. The louseworts are very common in the alpine meadows. The new Lousewort averages about eight inches in height has finely divided leaves, which are purplish green. The flowers are a lemon yellow, shaped a little like the Duck-bill Lousewort. The plant was first found at Indian Henrys but it has been found in abundant quantities in other places since.

The last plant, a Loco Weed, which belongs to the Pea Family, was first collected on Mount Wow by O. D. Allen in 1896. The common name of Loco Weed is of Spanish origin, it means crazy in Spanish. The sheep in many mountain districts eating this plant go locoed and finally die. Though in this state the Loco Weed has not caused any trouble. The plants are usually about six inches in height, have leaves composed of many narrow leaflets, which are quite hairy. The flowers are yellowish and are borne in dense clusters at the tip of the stem. The plant has been found on the steep rocky slopes of Mount Wow. The scientific name is Oxytropis Mazama.

By Fred A. Warren, Ranger.


Stenanthium occidentale, a lily with a long raceme of small purplish-brown flowers and linear-lanceolate leaves, narrow, grass like and shorter than the stem, was found growing in the rocky cliff side on the Van Trump Trail.

This flower was new to the naturalist and it was quite a surprise to find a lily among the cliff dwellers, with Penstemon Rupicola as a near neighbor.

By Charles Landes, Ranger Naturalist.


I do not refer to the Garden of Eden by the first garden of another Garden of Eden--Paradise Valley.

Last summer one of the upper arches of the ice caverns of the Paradise Glacier fell in exposing a small area of rock, for the first time perhaps since the mountain was formed millions of years ago. By the end of the first season mosses and algeas were growing on the moist rocks although it is a mile to the nearest vegetation and a mile above timberline.

At present at least eight species of plants are growing on that rock which has been exposed to the sun for less than six months after a million years of ice.

Algeas and lichens, among the lowest orders of plants are most abundant as one might expect. At least two mosses, also a low order of plant life, have become established. The Horsetail, or some similar rush, two round-stemmed grasses or sedges, and one conspicuous flower, the Yellow or Alpine Mimulus.

For an area covering perhaps one hundred square feet there is a miniature rock garden surrounded on all sides by ice and snow. Natures' first garden.

By Floyd W. Schmoe, Park Naturalist.

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