Plants in the Wild

An Avalanche of Yellow Lilies

Despite several downpours and hailstorms a day, we've also had ample sunbreaks (I'd never heard that term till I moved to Oregon), which means the forests and mountainsides of the Columbia River Gorge are officially in flower.

The grass widows (formerly known as Sisyrinchium, now split off as Olsynium) are just about done in, but the camassia has yet to begin; larkspur and lupine, except in the odd hot spot, are still playing it safe.

Not so the glacier lilies (aka yellow avalanche lily), no ma'am, no way!!!

delicate yellow lily-like flowers

On the hike I took with my botanically-trained piano teacher Megan Hughes, we found acres -- honestly, acres -- of Erythronium grandiflorum blooming in the woods of Catherine Creek, 90 minutes outside of Portland. photo credit: Ketzel Levine, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption photo credit: Ketzel Levine, NPR

In case you've never met, Erythronium is a fabulous genus and a very garden-friendly plant, with lovely, pendulous flowers ranging from white to yellow to pink (not all in one flower, of course). It also comes in species with showy, mottled leaves.

And while I'm making introductions, consider spending a little time with Keith Wiley, one of horticulture's most electric plantsman. Several years ago, Keith visited the Pacific Northwest searching for erythronium. Just an update since he was last here; Keith is longer with The Garden House, but did show up recently in the Royal Horticulture Society Journal.

a gazillion glacier liles

The breadth and depth of yellow-blooming E. grandiflorum was way beyond my photographic skills; let's just say the forest floor was filthy with them as far as the eye could see. I expect to find acres of entirely different wildflowers when I return to this same preserve later in the week. photo credit: Ketzel Levine, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption photo credit: Ketzel Levine, NPR

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Wildflowers! They are just starting here! Bloodroot and Hepatica are blooming, Trillium, Bluebells, and losts of others will soon join them:)

Unfortunately...with development and invasive alien plants...there aren't very many places left to see wildflowers bloom.

Sent by Bob Vaiden | 12:12 PM | 4-9-2008