[Wildflower Bloom in Central and Eastern Washington: 2013]

Wildflower Bloom in Central and Eastern Washington

Kamiak Butte

Whitman County Parks

June 10, 2013

View southeast from Kamiak Butte across the Palouse towards western Idaho.........April 29, 2013.

A view southeast across Palouse country towards western Idaho from near the summit ridge of Kamiak Butte, Whitman County Parks.........April 29, 2013. The deeper soiled areas of the south-facing slope support a good assortment of natural bunchgrasses and forbs although the season is still early and several weeks from peak bloom here.

View southwest from Kamiak Butte across the Palouse of eastern Washington........April 29, 2013. - View west across the south-facing ridgeline of Kamiak Butte in eastern Washington.......April 29, 2013.

The photo at left shows a view across the upper south-facing slopes of Kamiak Butte and westward across the Palouse of eastern Washington. The photo at right shows a view westward across the summit ridge of Kamiak Butte. The upper slopes of Kamiak Butte have shallower soils with outcrops of lichen encrusted quartzite. Conifers cover the north-facing slopes and young conifers are spilling down the south-facing slopes but are as yet uncommon. The upper half of the butte is fairly natural with only a few weedy species (bulbous bluegrass and several composites). Photos from April 29, 2013.

Kamiak Butte is a high, east-west trending ridge that stands above the loess-soiled farmland of eastern Washington and western Idaho. It is located east of Colfax, Washington and slightly southwest of Palouse, Washington. Its rocky high point is3641 feet which is about 1000 feet higher than the surrounding farmlands. It is an old mountain consisting of quartzite which was largely covered by Columbia basalts. During the Ice Age, fine soils were deposited at the fronts of the glaciers or deposited downstream along the Columbia and Snake Rivers. These fine soils or loess were lifted by the frequent winds and deposited over much of eastern Oregon and Washington and western Idaho. The depositions of loess are as much as 200 feet thick in eastern Washington, an area known as the Palouse.

The County Park allows camping, hiking and picnicking. There is no charge for day use, although a donation is requested. The gate closes at dusk so campers are restricted to the park overnight. There is a 3.5 mile loop trail which starts at the day use area on the forested north side of the park, with the eastern loop following an old access road while the well-maintained western loop climbs more steadily to the ridge top. The summit is more open with a mix of open forest and rocky meadows. The trail roughly follows the summit ridgeline and offers access to most of the wildflowers one will see. At the west end, there is a mix of private and county property so follow the directions of the numerous signs to limit wanderings onto private property. Elevation gain is about 900 feet. Allow 3-4 hours for a leisurely walk along this moderate hike.

* indicates the wildflower is currently blooming.

Weather: Temps 70s. Mostly sunny with a light wind.

Complete plant list for Kamiack Butte. - To be placed online by mid-summer.

Coniferous and Deciduous Trees:

Grand Fir: Abies grandis

Western Larch: Larix occidentalis

Ponderosa Pine: Pinus ponderosa ssp. scopulorum

Douglas Fir: Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca

Douglas' Maple: Acer glabrum var. douglasii - Fruits forming.

* Redstem Ceanothus: Ceanothus sanguineus

Lewis' Mock Orange: Philadelphus lewisii

Quaking Aspen: Populus tremuloides

Black Cottonwood: Populus trichocarpa

* Scouler's Willow: Salix scouleriana ?


Wolfsbane Lichen: Letharia vulpina

Blistered Rock Tripe: Umbilicaria hyperborea ?

Navel Lichen: Umbilicaria phaea

Beard Lichen: Usnea sp.

Brown-eyed Sunshine Lichen: Vulpicida canadensis


Homalothecium Moss: Homalothecium sp.

Electrified Cat's Tail Moss: Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus


Lacelip Fern: Cheilanthes gracillima

Fragile Fern: Cystopteris fragilis

Polypody Fern: Polypodium hesperium

Western Sword Fern: Polystichum munitum ?

Bracken Fern: Pteridium aquilinum ssp. pubescens

Oregon Cliff Fern: Woodsia oregana ssp. oregana

Sedges and Grasses:

Elk Sedge: Carex geyeri

* Rattlesnake Brome: Bromus briziformis

* Meadow Brome: Bromus commutatus ?

* Soft Brome: Bromus hordeaceus

* Cheatgrass: Bromus tectorum

* Orchard Grass: Dactylis glomerata

* Idaho Fescue: Festuca idahoensis var. idahoensis

Bulbous Bluegrass: Poa bulbosa

Nevada Bluegrass: Poa secunda ssp. juncifolia

* Bluebunch Wheatgrass: Pseudoroegnaria spicata


* Tapertip Onion: Allium accuminatum

Sagebrush Mariposa: Calochortus macrocarpus ssp. macrocarpus

Glacier Lily: Erythronium grandiflorum var. grandiflorum

Yellow Bells: Fritillaria pudica - Pods well-formed.

False Solomon's Seal: Maianthemum racemosum var. amplexicaule - Fading out of bloom.

Star-flowered False Solomon's Seal: Maianthemum stellatum - Fruits forming.

Sierra Fairybells: Prosartes trachycarpum

* Panicled Death Camas: Toxicoscordion paniculatum ? - Fading out of bloom.

* Bluedicks: Triteleia grandiflora ssp. grandiflora - Fading out of bloom.

California False Hellebore: Veratrum californicum

Grass Widows: Olsynium douglasii var. inflatum

Elegant Rein Orchid: Piperia (elegans or unalascensis ?)

* Parsnip-flowered Buckwheat: Eriogonum heracleoides (var. heracleoides ?)

* Sheep Sorrel: Rumex acetosella

* Miner's Lettuce: Claytonia perfoliata ssp. intermontana

* Miner's Lettuce: Claytonia perfoliata ssp. perfoliata

Ballhead Sandwort: Eremogone congesta var. cephaloidea

Bigleaf Sandwort: Moehringia macrophylla - Past bloom.

* Douglas' Catchfly: Silene douglasii var. douglasii

* Common Chickweed: Stellaria media

Piper's Anemone: Anemone piperi

* Upland Larkspur: Delphinium nuttallianum var. nuttallianum - Fading out of bloom.

* Little Buttercup: Ranunculus uncinatus

Western Meadowrue: Thalictrum occidentale - Fruits forming.

Creeping Oregon Grape: Berberis repens

* Wormleaf Stonecrop: Sedum stenopetalum

American Wintercress: Barbarea orthoceras

* Lava Alumroot: Heuchera cylindrica var. glabella

Cusick's Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. cusickii

Douglas' Hawthorn: Crataegus douglasii var. douglasii

* Broadpetal Strawberry: Fragaria virginiana ssp. platypetala

* Large-leaf Avens: Geum macrophyllum var. macrophyllum

* Large-leaved Avens: Geum macrophyllum var. perincisum

* Old Man's Whiskers: Geum triflorum var. ciliatum

Creambush Oceanspray: Holodiscus discolor - In bud.

* Mallow Ninebark: Physocarpus malvaceus

* Tall Cinquefoil: Potentilla arguta var. convallaria

* Graceful Cinquefoil: Potentilla gracilis var. flabelliformis

Bitter Cherry: Prunus emarginata var. emarginata - Fruits forming

Chokecherry: Prunus virginiana var. melanocarpa - Fruits forming.

* Little Wild Rose: Rosa gymnocarpa

* Nootka Rose: Rosa nutkana var. hispida

* Pearhip Rose: Rosa woodsii var. ultramontana

* Thimbleberry: Rubus parviflorus

* Birchleaf Spiraea: Spiraea betulifolia var. lucida - Beginning to bloom.

* Silky Lupine: Lupinus sericeus var. sericeus

Canada Milkvetch: Astragalus canadensis var. mortonii

White Clover: Trifolium repens ?

Purple Clover: Trifolium pratense

* Hairy Vetch: Vicia villosa

* Sticky Geranium: Geranium viscosissimum var. viscosissimum

* Spreading Dogbane: Apocynum androsaemifolium (var. ?)

Klamathweed: Hypericum perforatum

Fireweed: Chamerion angustifolium

* Enchanter's Nightshade: Circaea alpina

* Elkhorns Clarkia: Clarkia pulchella

Tall Annual Willowherb: Epilobium brachycarpum

* Cow Parsnip: Heracleum lanatum

Fernleaf Desert Parsley: Lomatium dissectum var. multifidum

Pungent Desert Parsley: Lomatium grayi

Large-fruited Desert Parsley: Lomatium macrocarpum - Cream-flowered variety.

* Nineleaf Desert Parsley: Lomatium simplex

* Common Sweet-cicely: Osmorhiza berteroi - Fading out of bloom.

Kinnikinnick: Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

* Clustered Frasera: Frasera fastigiata

Cusick's Shooting Star: Dodecatheon cusickii - Fruits forming.

* Skyrocket: Ipomopsis aggregata

Large-flowered Collomia: Collomia grandiflora

* Linearleaf Collomia: Collomia linearis

Ballhead Waterleaf: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. capitatum

* Common Hound's Tongue: Cynoglossum officinale

* Puccoon: Lithospermum ruderale

* Harsh Paintbrush: Castilleja hispida var. acuta

* Stiff Yellow Indian Paintbrush: Castilleja lutescens ?

* Small-flowered Blue-eyed Mary: Collinsia parviflora - Fading out of bloom.

Foxglove: Digitalis purpurea

* Sulphur Penstemon: Penstemon attenuatus var. attenuatus - Yellow form.

Mountain Kittentails: Synthyris missurica ssp. major - Fruits forming.

* Cleavers: Galium aparine

Fragrant Bedstraw: Galium triflorum

Common Plantain: Plantago major

Blue Elderberry: Sambucus cerulea

* Common Snowberry: Symphoricarpos albus (var. laevigatus ?)

* Yarrow: Achillea millefolium

Pathfinder: Adenocaulon bicolor - In bud.

* Annual Agoseris: Agoseris heterophylla var. heterophylla

* Field Pussytoes: Antennaria howellii ssp. howellii

* Field Pussytoes: Antennaria howellii (ssp. neodioica ?)

* Woodrush Pussytoes: Antennaria luzuloides.

* Raceme Pussytoes: Antennaria racemosa

Burdock: Arctium minus

* Heart-leaf Arnica: Arnica cordifolia - Fading out of bloom.

* Arrowleaf Balsamroot: Balsamorhiza sagittata - Fading out of bloom.

Bull Thistle: Cirsium vulgare

* Slender Hawksbeard: Crepis atrabarba

Showy Aster: Eurybia conspicuua ?

* Rocky Mountain Sunflower: Helianthella uniflora var. douglasii

* Least Tarweed: Hemizonella minima

White-flowered Hawkweed: Hieracium albiflorum - In bud.

Western Hawkweed: Hieracium scouleri var. albertinum - In bud.

* Small Tarweed: Madia exigua

* Nodding Microseris: Microseris nutans

Large-flowered Goldenweed: Pyrrocoma carthamoides var. carthamoides - In bud.

* Western Groundsel: Senecio integerrimus var. exaltatus - Fading out of bloom.

Butterweed Groundsel: Senecio serra var. serra

* Common Dandelion: Taraxacum officinale

Salsify: Tragopogon dubius - Past bloom.

* Northern Mule's Ears: Wyethia amplexicaulis

Animals Seen Along This Trail:

Least Chipmunk

Red-tailed Hawk

Black-billed Magpies

Common Nighthawks

California Quail ?

Mourning Doves

Western Meadowlark

Brewers Blackbird

Spotted Towhees

Black-headed Grosbeaks

Cedar Waxwings

American Robins

Mountain Bluebirds

Swainson's Thrush ? - heard

Olive-sided Flycatchers

Western Wood Peewees

Dark-eyed Juncos

Pine Siskins

Red-breasted Nuthatches

Yellow Warbler

House Wrens

Rock Wren

Winter Wren ?

Anise Swallowtails

Pale Swallowtails

Western Swallowtails

Lorquin's Admiral

Ochre Ringlets


Boisduval's Blues

Paul Slichter