Nature Notes

Vol. IX June, 1931 No. 5

Flowers of the Season columbine, fairy bells, star flower


Those who enjoy floral beauty will find much of interest in Mount Rainier National Park at this time. It is still several weeks before the alpine meadows, for which Mount Rainier is most famous, will be at the height of their beauty. Yet even now, one need not go far to satisfy his desire to see and study our flowers.

The roadside and trails everywhere at the lower elevations are broughtened with the Canadian Dogwood (Cornus canadensis), Forest Anemone (Anemone deltiodea), Star Flower (Trientalis latifolia), Wild Lily of the Valley and the Pink Cordyalis (Capnoides scouleri). The Bear Grass or Indian Basket Crass (Xerophyllum tenax) seems to be on the threshold of a big year. The large, spectacular flower clusters of this plant are found in abundance -- particularly in the "Silver Forest" where conditions are most suited to their best development. Star-Flowered Solomon's Seal (Vagnera sessifolia), Queen's Cup or Clintonia (Clintonia uniflora) and Fairy Bells (Disporum trachycarpum) are found everywhere. In fact so numerous are the flowers at this season that we are of the opinion that the principle reason that "The Mountain" is more famous for its alpine flowers in mid summer is simply because that is the time when most people have the opportunity to visit this region. For our flora is equally as interesting and as varied at this time of the year.

Red Mimulus (Mimulus lewisii) and Indian Paintbrush can be found quite readily -- the latter is particularly noticeable on the new West Side Road in suitable locations while the light blue bells of the Mertensia are much in evidence in the region of the Nisqually Glacier bridge on the Paradise highway.

Paradise valley itself is beginning to give one an idea of its floral brilliance yet to come. Where the snow has melted we find large numbers of the famous Avalanche Lilies (Erythronium montanum) as well as the Yellow Lilies (Erythronium parviflorum). Many Western Anemones are in bloom and in places which have been free from snow for some time these flowers are already beginning to form their characteristic seed pods. Buttercup, Marsh Marigold and many other flowers are also in bloom -- the advance guard of these that will come a few weeks hence.


The Educational Department of Mount Rainier National Park wishes to publically express their appreciation for the fine spirit of helpfullness and cooperation on the part of the Washington State Museum on the University of Washington campus. Their generosity and desire to aid us in presenting a more interesting and adequate story of the natural history of this region has resulted in the loan of a great deal of museum exhibit material. We are sure that everyone visiting the Park this summer will find it very much worth their while to visit the Park Museum for, without a doubt, any visit to "The Mountain" will be made more enjoyable by so doing.

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