[Wildflower Bloom in Central and Eastern Oregon: 2016]

Silver Creek Marsh Campground

Fremont-Winema National Forest

May 18-20, 2016

Blooming antelope bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata) at the entrance to Silver Creek Marsh Campground, Fremont-Winema National Forest...........May 20, 2016.

Blooming antelope bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata) at the entrance to Silver Creek Marsh Campground, Fremont-Winema National Forest...........May 20, 2016.

Directions: From Silver Lake, Oregon, head west on Oregon Highway 31. Turn left (south) onto Forest Road #27 about 0.3 miles west of the turnoff to the Ranger Station. Road #27 heads south across sagebrush lowlands on a bumpy road due to frost heaving. You will want to drive no faster than 30 mph until those disappear! You will see the signed entrance to the Silver Creek Marsh Campground on the left about 10.4 miles south of Highway 31. The campground doesn't appear to be heavily used (except perhaps during holiday weekends, and when local backcountry horse groups gather there - check the ranger station to see if they know of heavy use times). Nightly rates are $6 per night. There are two vault toilets and potable water from Memorial Day weekend on. Water is also available along the front fenceline of the ranger station compound. The campground provides great birding and has a nice assortment of wildflowers. Check the grasslands at the south end of the campground. A walk west across Road #27 to the rocky rim has a different assortment of plants. Hike the signed trail across from campsite #5 south to the Fremont Trail #160. Head right to head upstream along the West Fork Silver Creek. The left fork leads down an old road to the creek, then crosses on the road bridge, then heads cross country towards Silver Creek and further east. The area is well worth spending some time searching for south-central Oregon flowers that are less common elsewhere!

Weather: Temperatures in the mid 40s in the morning climbing to the mid 50s by the afternoon. The morning saw partly cloudy skies with light wind which made the hike comfortable. The afternoon became mostly cloudy, with cold winds across the summit, although the winds abated once reaching parts of the trail in the forest.

* indicates the wildflower is currently in bloom.

Western Juniper: Juniperus occidentalis

Lodgepole Pine: Pinus contorta var. latifolia

Ponderosa Pine: Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa

Mountain Alder: Alnus incana ssp. tenuifolia

Creek Dogwood: Cornus sericea

Quaking Aspen: Populus tremuloides

Willow: Salix sp.

Common Horsetail: Equisetum arvense

* Meadow Foxtail: Alopecurus pratensis

* Cheatgrass: Bromus tectorum

Bottlebrush Squirreltail: Elymus elymoides

Star-flowered False Solomon Seal: Maianthemum stellatum

* Panicled Deathcamas: Toxicoscordion paniculatum

Western Blue Flag: Iris missouriensis - Past bloom.

* Mountain Sorrel: Rumex paucifolius

* Erubescent Miner's Lettuce: Claytonia rubra ssp. rubra

* Lineleaf Montia: Montia linearis - Fading out of bloom.

* Field Chickweed: Cerastium arvense ssp. strictum

* Longstalk Starwort: Stellaria longipes ?

* Western Columbine: Aquilegia formosa

* Upland Larkspur: Delphinium nuttallianum var. nuttallianum

* Swamp Buttercup: Ranunculus orthorhynchus var. platyphyllus

* Little Buttercup: Ranunculus uncinatus

Brown's Peony: Paeonia brownii - Just past bloom.

Spring Whitlow Grass: Draba verna - Past bloom.

* Tower Mustard: Turritis glabra

* Slender Woodlandstar: Lithophragma tenellum

* Wax Currant: Ribes cereum var. cereum

* Serviceberry: Amelanchier sp.

* Cinquefoil: Drymocallis glandulosa var. - Beginning to bloom.

* Broadpetal Strawberry: Fragaria virginiana ssp. platypetala

Rydberg's Largeleaf Avens: Geum macrophyllum var. perincisum

* Prairie Smoke: Geum triflorum var. ciliatum

Horkelia: Horkelia fusca ssp. parviflora - In bud.

Graceful Cinquefoil: Potentilla gracilis var. fastigiata

* Common Chokecherry: Prunus virginiana var. melanocarpa

* Antelope Bitterbrush: Purshia tridentata

Pearhip Rose: Rosa (woodsii var. ultramontana ?)

Menzie's Spiraea: Spiraea douglasii var. menziesii - green under leaves

* Sickle Milkvetch: Astragalus curvicarpus var. curvicarpus

* Woolly-pod Milkvetch: Astragalus purshii (var. lagopinus ?)

* Spurred Lupine: Lupinus sp.

Sticky Geranium: Geranium (viscosissimum var. incisum ?)

Oregon Checkermallow: Sidalcea oregana ssp. - In bud.

* Goosefoot Violet: Viola purpurea ssp. venosa

Snow Brush: Ceanothus velutinus var. velutinus

Groundsmoke: Gayophytum sp.

* Large-fruited Desert Parsley: Lomatium macrocarpum

* Nine-leaf Desert Parsley: Lomatium triternatum (ssp. platycarpum ?)

Green-leaved Manzanita: Arctostaphylos patula

* Frasera: Frasera albicaulis (var. albicaulis ?)

Pleated Gentian: Gentiana affinis

Scarlet Gilia: Ipomopsis aggregata ssp. formosissima

Ballhead Waterleaf: Hydrophyllum capitatum (var. alpinum ?)

* Small-flowered Blue-eyed Mary: Collinsia parviflora

Penstemon: Penstemon sp. - Long, thin, gray leaves

Hotrock Penstemon: Penstemon deustus (var. ?) - In bud.

Common Mullein: Verbascum thapsus

* Mountain Heliotrope: Valeriana sitchensis

* Black Twinberry: Lonicera involucrata var. involucrata

Common Snowberry: Symphoricarpos albus var. laevigatus

Yarrow: Achillea millefolium

* Low Pussytoes: Antennaria dimorpha - Fading out of bloom.

* Pussytoes: Antennaria sp.

* Rosy Pussytoes: Antennaria rosea

Leafy Arnica: Arnica chamissonis (ssp. foliosa ?) - Lowest leaves only. Riparian.

* Elk Thistle: Cirsium scariosum - Beginning to bloom.

Bull Thistle: Cirsium vulgare

Gray Rabbitbrush: Ericamaeria nauseosa (var. speciosus ?)

Yarrow-leaved Eriophyllum: Eriophyllum lanatum var. achilleoides - In bud.

Streambank Goldenweed: Packera pseudaurea var. pseudaurea

Narrowhead Goldenweed: Pyrrocoma carthamoides var. cusickii

Common Dandylion: Taraxacum officinale

Animals Observed During This Hike:

Jack Rabbits

Red Squirrel

Common Snipe



Red-tailed Hawk

Turkey Vultures

Long-eared Owls - Heard in campground.

Northern Fllickers

Common Ravens

Red-winged Blackbirds

Pinyon Jays - Heard.

Black-headed Grosbeaks

American Robins

Mountain Bluebirds

Western Bluebirds

Green-tailed Towhee

Yellow-rumped Warblers

Chipping Sparrows

Fox Sparrow

Dark-eyed Juncos

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Mourning Cloak

View down towards Silver Creek Marsh Campground, Fremont-Winema National Forest from the hillside to the southeast...........May 19, 2016. - Silver Creek Marsh Campground, Fremont-Winema National Forest...........May 19, 2016.

Silver Creek Marsh Campground, Fremont-Winema National Forest...........May 20, 2016. - Silver Creek Marsh Campground, Fremont-Winema National Forest...........May 20, 2016.

Views of Silver Creek Marsh Campground, Fremont National Forest.........May 19 & 20, 2016. The 19th of May dawned sunny and fairly warm. By the morning of the 20th, it was trying to snow!

Paul Slichter