Unusual Plants of Eagles Rest

I had been feeling a little bummed about not being able to head farther east for an all-day hike, but as it turns out, I was under beautiful blue skies, and it looked quite cloudy over southeastern Lane County where I would have gone. The lovely cutleaf daisies (Erigeron compositus) here near the summit also grow at Horse Rock Ridge, although there they have much larger flowers.

According to our upcoming Volume 2 of the Flora of Oregon, the difference between the native Euphorbia crenulata and the weedy E. peplus has to do with some aspect of the fruit and that the native has sessile lower leaves, so I believe this is the native, known as western wood spurge.

On Thursday, May 28, I didn’t have time for an all-day hike, and I was heading over to Dexter in the afternoon to pick up some vegetables at Circle H Farm, so the perfect solution was a quick afternoon trip to Eagles Rest, a short, low-elevation trail in Dexter that climbs up to the top of a large rock formation. The trail starts at 2575′, and after about 1.4 miles of pretty forest reaches the summit at 3025′, where there is a great view.

As usual, I climbed off-trail on the many grassy levels on the east side on much of the way up the rock (only climbers could make it up the vertical south side!) and did more exploring around the rocks just below the summit. There are some interesting plants that I don’t see very often in the Cascades (and you won’t see if you stick to the trail!), so I thought I’d share some here.

At one of the first turns on the trail, I take off on an animal path and head to the grassy lower slopes of the rock. I’ve never seen them so covered with flowers. I imagine the steady moisture this past May really made a difference. In addition to the threadleaf phacelia, there is a lot of rosy plectritis (Plectritis congesta) and seep monkeyflower (Erythranthe) on this steep, seepy slope.

The threadleaf phacelia was taller than I’ve ever seen it here, and it was growing in way more places than I had found it before. As an annual, its size is highly dependent on spring moisture. I will definitely be returning for seed!

Small bees were gathering pollen from the long stamens of threadleaf phacelia. I find it interesting that the other location I know of for the purple-flowered version of this plant is at Horse Rock Ridge, another remnant of native vegetation close to the Willamette Valley. Most of the other populations in eastern Lane County are unusual for being white-flowered. The species is far more common east of the Cascades, where it is the same lovely purple.

Most of the uncommon Rocky Mountain woodsia (Woodsia scopulina) is way at the bottom of the rock, but I usually pass by these few plants growing under an overhang as I make my way up a narrow gap in the rock formation.

This delicate annual, slender sandwort, has gone through many name changes. When I first met it at Horse Rock Ridge, it was known as Arenaria stricta, but then it was changed to Minuartia tenella. According to the treatment coming out in Volume 2 of the Flora of Oregon, it will be called Sabulina macra. No wonder many people are turned off by scientific names!

Littleleaf montia (Montia parvifolia) is a very common plant in western Oregon, but this type with large bright pink flowers (sometimes referred to as var. flagellaris) is not very common in the Cascades. It grows among broadleaf stonecrop (Sedum spathulifolium) and small-flowered alumroot (Heuchera micrantha) on shady rock just west of the summit.

One Response to “Unusual Plants of Eagles Rest”

  • So many lovelies. A few years ago I bought two little pots of Montia at a neighborhood plant sale. It’s now all over the shady areas of my garden. I love it.

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