[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: 1300-1500'

March 31, 2012

Leiberg's Bluegrass: Poa leibergii

Leiberg's bluegrass: Poa leibergii. Photographed on slopes above Swale Creek about one and one-half miles upstream from the Horseshoe Bend bridge across the Klickitat River, Klickitat County, Washington.............March 31, 2012.

* indicates the wildflower is currently in bloom.

Several of us were fortunate to be able to visit some private property off Horseshoe Bend Road on the canyon rim above the east side of the Klickitat River today. Although it has been lightly grazed for many years, the site appears to be in a fairly natural state with lots of balsamroot, desert parsleys and lupines and a good diversity of other plants.

Weather: Overcast with light sprinkles and mid 40 degree temps in the morning followed by a moderate rain for about an hour after lunch, then light rain followed by mid-afternoon clearing and temps into the low 50s.

Earth Stars (Geastraceae)

Cup Lichen: Cladonia sp. ?

Wolf Bane Lichen: Letharia vulpia

Cartilage Lichen: Ramalina subleptocarpha ?

Orange Wall Lichen: Xanthoria polycarpa ?

Glossy Red Bryum Moss: Bryum miniatum ?

Fire Moss: Ceratodon purpureus

Juniper Haircap Moss: Polytrichum juniperinum

Polytrichum Moss: Polytrichum pilferum

Sidewalk Moss: Tortula ruralis ?

Fragile Fern: Cystopteris fragilis

Ponderosa Pine: Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa

Douglas Fir: Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii

Oregon White Oak: Quercus garryana

Willow: Salix sp. - In bud.

* Elk Sedge: Carex geyeri

Cheatgrass: Bromus tectorum

Dogtail Grass: Cynosurus echinatus

Bottlebrush Squirreltail: Elymus elymoides (ssp. ?)

Prairie Junegrass: Koeleria macrantha

* Leiberg's Bluegrass: Poa leibergii

* Sandberg's Bluegrass: Poa secunda var. secunda

Bluebunch Wheatgrass: Pseudoroegneria spicata

Medusa-head: Taenitherum caput-medusae

Onion: Allium sp.

Sagebrush Mariposa: Calochortus macrocarpus var. macrocarpus

Common Camas: Camassia quamash

Glacier Lily: Erythronium grandiflorum var. grandiflorum

* Yellow Bells: Fritillaria pudica

Bicolored Cluster Lily: Triteleia grandiflora ssp. howellii

Panicle Deathcamas: Toxicoscordion paniculatum - (or T. venenosum ?)

* Grass Widows: Olsynium douglasii var. douglasii -

Northern Buckwheat: Eriogonum compositum var. compositum

Strict Buckwheat: Eriogonum strictum var. proliferum

* Water Chickweed: Montia fontana

* Howell's Montia: Montia howellii ? or Dwarf Montia: Montia dichotoma - Plants still to small to key accurately.

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

* Spring Whitlow-grass: Draba verna

* Prairie Stars: Lithophragma glabrum

* Small-flowered Prairie Stars: Lithophragma parviflorum - A few plants in bloom.

* Northwestern Saxifrage: Saxifraga integrifolia var. integrifolia

Mock Orange: Philadelphus lewisii

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

Hawthorn: Crataegus sp.

Western Burnet: Sanguisorba annua

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.

* Filaree: Erodium cicutarium

Sagebrush Violet: Viola trinervata

Deerbrush: Ceanothus integerrimus

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

Tall Annual Willowherb: Epilobium brachycarpum

Burr Chervil: Anthriscus caucalis ?

* Columbia Desert Parsley: Lomatium columbianum

* Biscuitroot: Lomatium macrocarpum (yellow flowers) - Beginning to bloom.

* 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.

Nineleaf Desert Parlsey: Lomatium triternatum var. triternatum

Gairdner's Yampah: Perideridia gairdneri

Desert Shooting Star: Dodecatheon conjugens - A few plants seen in bud.

Poet's Shooting Star: Dodecatheon poeticum

Columbia Frasera: Frasera albicaulis var. columbiana - Some plants in bud.

Midget Phlox: Microsteris gracilis

Needleleaf Navarretia: Navarretia intertexta (ssp. ?)

Ballheaded Waterleaf: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. thompsonii

Meadow Nemophila: Nemophila pedunculata

Silverleaf Phacelia: Phacelia hastata var. hastata

Puccoon: Lithospermum ruderale

Tarweed: Amsinckia sp.

Cleavers: Galium aparine

Yarrow: Achillea millefolium var. occidentalis

Spearleaf Agoseris: Agoseris retrorsa

* Low Pussytoes: Antennaria dimorpha

Heartleaf Arnica: Arnica cordifolia

Balsamroot: Balsamorhiza (careyana?) - Leaf buds just emerging from the ground. The deer appear to be grazing the emerging leaves pretty heavily.

Knapweed: Centaurea (diffusa?)

Hawksbeard: Crepis sp.

* Gold Stars: Crocidium multicaule

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

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

Animals Seen Along This Route:

California Ground Squirrel

Mule Deer

Red-tailed Hawks


Northern Flickers

Western Meadowlarks

American Robins - numerous

Western Bluebirds

Horned Larks

Dark-eyed Juncos

Violet-green Swallows

Tree Frogs

--Swale Canyon near its mouth.........March 31, 2012.

Swale Canyon near its mouth...........March 31, 2012.

Two views of Swale Canyon near its confluence with the Klickitat River..............March 31, 2012. The upper view looks downstream with the wooded slopes through which Schilling Road descends from High Prairie. The lower view looks upstream along Swale Canyon. The bulk of the scenery in both photos is under private ownership. No trespassing signs need to be observed faithfully to avoid trouble here!

Paul Slichter E-mail