Monday, April 5, 2010

Keep an Eye out for Early Spring Season Growth

A unique black & white look up the trunk of an old growth Douglas fir at Lewis & Clark State Park in Lewis County.  GAP Photo

The clock keeps ticking and many plants are taking advantage of the slightly warmer days and additional minutes of sunlight. Leaves are burgeoning and a few plants are starting their early blooms. With the Osoberry past its flowering stage and developing berries, several deep wood plants are flowering even though many most plants are weeks away from their colorful spring zenith.
Deer Fern grows intermingled with moss on the north facing side of a Douglas fir.  GAP Photo

While strolling through the old growth stand of cedar and Douglas fir at Lewis & Clark State Park near Toledo this week, it was apparent that four plants were showing subtle to dramatic blooms even in the dreary conditions that we’ve endured in recent weeks.

Rubus spectabilis or Salmonberry blooms dot the forst floor.  The plant is a member of the Rose family.  GAP Photo
The most notable was the Salmonberry with its dainty little rose-like blooms high above your head as you navigate the wet, puddle-ridden trails within the park. Within a couple of months, this diminutive flora will produce one of the tastiest early summer berries in the deep Western Washington woods.

The trillium and bleeding heart are also giving subtle color to the forest floor. The magnificent trillium decorates it large leaf structure while the bleeding heart places and exclamation mark on a delicate fern-like plant.

Finally, a Red Flowering Currant grew on the south facing stump near the trailhead of the old growth trail. The blooms, were well behind it relatives growing in a more suitable, location like south facing canyon or road cut but it was striking and a surprise within the deep forest. 
Above-A rain-soaked Trillium populates the forest floor while a lone Red Flowering Currant was observed on the south face of a stump.  GAP Photo

Lewis & Clark State Park is one of the few local areas where one can observe many of the northwest’s more minute native plants in their preserved habitat.

Parting Shot

Woodwork and big wood at Lewis & Clark State Park.  A massive Douglas fir sits just adjacant to a viewing deck along the Jackson Highway that overlooks a wetland area within the park.  GAP Photo

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