[Wildflower bloom in the Columbia River Gorge: 2012]

Wildflower Bloom in the Columbia River Gorge

Slopes above the east side of Swale Canyon at Wahkiacus

Middle Klickitat River Drainage

Elevation: 1400-1800'

April 12, 2012

View south along Swale Canyon.......April 12, 2012.

A view south looking uphill along Swale Canyon with Swale Creek and the Klickitat Trail in view, Klickitat County, Washington............April 12, 2012 You would need written permission and good directions to visit any of the private parcels here in order to avoid trespassing on private property.

* indicates the wildflower is currently in bloom.

Several of us were fortunate to be able to visit some private property on the canyon rim above the east side of Swale Creek today. This is property that is about two miles south of the private property visited on March 31. The slopes above the east side of Swale Creek are some of the best quality bunchgrass prairie that I have seen anywhere near the Columbia River Gorge. There aren't alot of balsamroots, which indicates there may have been some grazing a very long time ago, but there is evidence of only a few plants of one weedy composite, and a small presence of bulbous bluegrass and cheatgrass at this site, which indicates the high quality of the area.

Weather: Mostly sunny with light winds and temperatures in the 50s most of the day, although a brief rain squall "blew" through late in the afternoon.

Wolf Bane Lichen: Letharia vulpia

Juniper Haircap Moss: Polytrichum juniperinum

Fragile Fern: Cystopteris fragilis

Imbricate Swordfern: Polystichum imbricans

Ponderosa Pine: Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa

Douglas Fir: Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii

Oregon White Oak: Quercus garryana

* Willow: Salix sp. - Bushy form to about 8-10 feet high on dry, open slopes

* Elk Sedge: Carex geyeri

Lemmon's Needlegrass: Achnatherum lemmonii - It's still too early to confirm that this species is here. It may be Idaho fescue instead.

Silver Hairgrass: Aira (caryophyllea ? ) - Seen along the access road near the abandoned camper.

Cheatgrass: Bromus tectorum

Bottlebrush Squirreltail: Elymus elymoides (ssp. ?)

Idaho Fescue: Festuca idahoensis ? - It's still too early to confirm that this species is here. It may be Lemmon's needlegrass instead.

Prairie Junegrass: Koeleria macrantha

* Leiberg's Bluegrass: Poa leibergii - A very large number of this attractive grass species was observed.

* Nevada Bluegrass: Poa secunda var. juncifolia

* Sandberg's Bluegrass: Poa secunda var. secunda

Bluebunch Wheatgrass: Pseudoroegneria spicata

Sagebrush Mariposa: Calochortus macrocarpus var. macrocarpus

Glacier Lily: Erythronium grandiflorum var. grandiflorum

* Yellow Bells: Fritillaria pudica

Bicolored Cluster Lily: Triteleia grandiflora ssp. howellii

Panicle Deathcamas: Toxicoscordion paniculatum - One plant nearly in bloom.

* Grass Widows: Olsynium douglasii var. douglasii - Not observed on this property but nearby along the creek we drive to access the property. Peaking on the Klickitat plateau.

Rein Orchid: Piperia sp.

Northern Buckwheat: Eriogonum compositum var. compositum

* Jagged Chickweed: Holosteum umbellatum

* Common Chickweed: Stellaria media

Shining Chickweed: Stellaria nitens - In bud.

* Upland Larkspur: Delphinium nuttallianum var. nuttallianum - Beginning to bloom.

* Dalles Mt. Buttercup: Ranunculus triternatus

* Oaks Toothwort: Cardamine nuttallii var. nuttallii - Beginning to bloom.

* Spring Whitlow-grass: Draba verna

Gooseberry-leaved Alumroot: Heuchera grossulariifolia var. tenuifolia

* Bulblet Prairiestar: Lithophragma bulbifera (now lumped with Lithophragma glabrum) - Beginning to bloom.

* Northwestern Saxifrage: Saxifraga integrifolia var. claytoniifolia

Mock Orange: Philadelphus lewisii

Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia (var. ?) - Leaf buds and flower buds ready to open.

Hood River Milkvetch: Astragalus hoodianus ? - Young leaves extending from the ground.

Velvet Lupine: Lupinus leucophyllus

Columbia Gorge Lupine: Lupinus sp. (latifolius X sericeus ?) - Some plants with racemes in bud.

Bighead Clover: Trifolium macrocephalum

Filaree: Erodium cicutarium

* Sagebrush Violet: Viola trinervata

Deerbrush: Ceanothus integerrimus - New leaves appearing.

Slender Clarkia: Clarkia gracilis ? or (Small-flowered Godetia: Clarkia purpurea ssp. quadrivulnera ?)

Burr Chervil: Anthriscus caucalis ?

* Columbia Desert Parsley: Lomatium columbianum

* Biscuitroot: Lomatium macrocarpum

* Pungent Desert Parlsey: Lomatium grayi

* Barestem Desert Parsley: Lomatium nudicaule

* Salt and Pepper: Lomatium piperi (with possibility some were L. gormanii) - Corms were palatible. Some plants were caulescent, others seemed to be acaulescent. Fading out of bloom except in shades places.

Suksdorf's Desert Parsley: Lomatium suksdorfii - Leaves beginning to emerge from the ground.

* Nineleaf Desert Parlsey: Lomatium triternatum var. triternatum - Beginning to bloom.

* Desert Shooting Star: Dodecatheon conjugens

Columbia Frasera: Frasera albicaulis var. columbiana

* Midget Phlox: Microsteris gracilis

Show Phlox: Phlox speciosa - Beginning to leaf out.

* Annual Jacob's Ladder: Polemonium micranthum

* Ballheaded Waterleaf: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. thompsonii - Beginning to bloom.

Silverleaf Phacelia: Phacelia hastata var. hastata

Tarweed: Amsinckia sp. ?

Common Cryptanth: Cryptantha intermedia ? - Still in bud.

Common Houndstongue: Cynoglossum officinale - In the woods along the access road.

Puccoon: Lithospermum ruderale

* Small Popcornflower: Plagiobothrys tenellus

Small-flowered Blue-eyed Mary: Collinsia parviflora

Cleavers: Galium aparine

Blue Elderberry: Sambucus cerulea - Beginning to leaf out.

Common Snowberry: Symphoricarpos albus - Beginning to leaf out.

Yarrow: Achillea millefolium var. occidentalis

Spearleaf Agoseris: Agoseris retrorsa

* Low Pussytoes: Antennaria dimorpha

Heartleaf Arnica: Arnica cordifolia - Not observed on the property, but observed nearby under the oaks along the creek we drove in along.

Carey's Balsamroot: Balsamorhiza (careyana?) - Only a few balsamroots were observed at this site, with one plant showing some small yellow ray flowers emerging from the flowerhead bud.

Knapweed: Centaurea (diffusa?)

Dusty Maidens: Chaenactis douglasii

Gray Hawksbeard: Crepis intermedia

* Gold Stars: Crocidium multicaule

Scouler's Hawkweed: Hieracium scouleri (var. cynoglossoides ?)

Western Groundsel: Senecio integerrimus (var. exaltatus or var. ochroleucus ?) - In bud.

Yellow Salsify: Tragopogon dubius - One plant observed.

Animals Seen Along This Route:

Mule deer - spoor observed on ground

California Ground Squirrel

Red-tailed Hawks

Turkey Vultures


Northern Flickers

Spotted Towhees

Western Meadowlarks

American Robins - numerous

Western Bluebirds

Dark-eyed Juncos

Yellow-rumped Warblers

Tree Frogs

Frogs singing in Swale Creek far below.

Propertius Duskywings


Deer Ticks

-A view west across Swale Canyon at the east-facing slopes covered with ponderosa pine, Oregon white oak, and lots of pungent desert parsley, Klickitat County, Washington............April 12, 2012.

A view west across Swale Canyon at the east-facing slopes covered with ponderosa pine, Oregon white oak, and lots of pungent desert parsley, Klickitat County, Washington............April 12, 2012.

Paul Slichter E-mail