Spring has definitely (and finally!) arrived in western Oregon, with wildflowers and gardens bursting into bloom. Mount Pisgah Arboretum and surrounding Howard Buford Recreation Area is an excellent place to see and photograph a good variety of native plants.
As usual, Osoberry and Spring Beauty were among the very first to bloom, soon to be followed by the Trilliums, always a northwest favorite.
Two species of Trillium are found at Mt. Pisgah: Western Trillium (Trillium ovatum) is common throughout the Pacific Northwest, while Trillium albidum, also known as Giant White Wakerobin, is only locally common.
The delicate white blossoms of the lovely Oregon Fawn Lily are popping up all over the forest right now, and in the Arboretum’s Patricia Baker Wildflower Garden there is a small patch of striking Pink Fawn Lily (photo at the top of this post).
The Oak Savanna of Mount Pisgah is prime habitat for Camas. In most areas of the Willamette Valley, the Common Camas is more prevalent and camas bulbs were a staple of the Native American diet at the time of Lewis & Clark’s expedition. Along the Arboretum’s South Boundary Trail, the many multi-flowered tall stalks of Great Camas are just beginning to open.
Spring is also the time when Poison Oak resurges, with reddish-tinged young leaves emerging from the winter’s bare branches. So stay on trail, watch your step, and remember “Leaves of three, let them be”.
This is just the start of wildflower season in Oregon, with many more species soon to bloom throughout the state. Mount Pisgah is a fantastic place to view and photograph native wildflowers, with miles of trails, no tripod restrictions, and only a small daily parking fee. The Arboretum’s annual Wildflower & Music Festival happens this year on May 21, 1917. Click the link for more info on the Arboretum and the festival.
Photographer Gary Randall has a great post about wildflowers in the Columbia River Gorge on his blog here. Dedicated wildflower enthusiasts will want to check out Greg Lief’s Oregon Wildflowers website. For help in identifying wildflowers, go to www.pnwflowers.com (and get the book!)
For other areas in the Pacific Northwest to photograph wildflowers check my Photographing Oregon and Photographing Washington guidebooks.
Where have you been recently, and what did you find?by