Saturday, April 1, 2017

Columbia Gorge Desert Parsley

Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest

Clusters of purple-red flowers are now cascading down the slopes of the Columbia River Gorge.  Another early bloomer, these attractive flowers pop as soon as they emerge from the soil.  Tiny plants two weeks ago, they have now grown into bushy mounds with spiky stems and lush, lacy flowers.  The stems will continue to grow; some of them peaking at three feet.

I have learned that this wildflower is rather rare.  The Columbia Gorge Desert Parsley (Lomatium columbianum) is common only along the slopes of the Columbia River in central Oregon and Washington.
I am happy to write that yesterday, not only did I stumble across these pretty wildflowers, but I stumbled across my tribe:  fellow flower aficionados who were hiking in the Gorge with cameras and field guides in tow.  We were not racing up and down the slopes for fitness training.  We were not looking at activity trackers fastened around our wrists.  We were not wearing cute lululemon running apparel or bright turquoise Nikes.  Many of us wore knee braces or leaned heavily on walking sticks.  But we were out there, by God, enjoying the sunshine, smiling, comparing notes, absolutely giddy that Spring was finally here.

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