Mistmaiden Meadow Pretty as a Picture

The rosy plectritis (Plectritis congesta) was kicking in but not quite at peak bloom yet. There was also lots of slender cryptantha (Cryptantha affinis) and coastal manroot (Marah oreganus). The great camas (Camassia leichtlinii) had just barely started.

Shooting stars have downward-pointing flowers with reflexed petals in order to accommodate buzz pollination by bumblebees. There were lots of bumblebees taking advantage of the abundance of beautiful shooting star (Dodecatheon pulchellum) throughout the meadow. I was disappointed by the relative lack of butterflies but happy to see some pollinators.

On June 7, I took my husband, Jim, to see “Mistmaiden Meadow” on the west edge of Sourgrass Mountain. Although he’s not particularly interested in plants, we both feel safer if he’s familiar with all the places I visit regularly, in case he ever does have to come to my rescue. There are nice rocks and a view, and it was a lovely day to get out. If he’d stayed home, he would have spent the day doing chores like wood-splitting, so at least it was a nice change of pace.

The slope was still quite moist and lush with lots of colorful flowers. We’d missed the very earliest bloom, but there was still lots of the sweet Thompson’s mistmaiden (Romanzoffia thompsonii) that I named the site after. The very similar Nuttall’s saxifrage (Cascadia nuttallii) was just starting but will soon take over the seepy slopes. It is worth visiting this lovely and quiet spot multiple times during the flowering season. I was able to confirm my mystery cherry from my last trip last year (see Late Season at Mistmaiden Meadow) as choke cherry (Prunus virginiana) and added four other new species to my growing plant list for the site, so it felt successful as well as relaxing. And seeing a bear run across the road in front of us on our way home was like the cherry on top of a sundae—and the most exciting part of the day for Jim! Here are some pretty pictures of our very pleasant day.

A chocolate lily (Fritillaria affinis) is hard to spot among the thousands of bright pink beautiful shooting stars.

Toward the rocky area at the top of the slope, there were lots of brightly colored flowers including harsh paintbrush (Castilleja hispida) and Menzies’ lakrspur (Delphinium menziesii).

Jim found this perfect shady branch in a bigleaf maple (Acer macrophyllum) to take a nap on while I poked around looking at plants and insects.

Naked broomrape (formerly Orobanche uniflora, now Aphyllon purpurea) peeks through a bunch of clover leaves, but it is actually parasitizing wholeleaf saxifrage (Micranthes integrifolia), a few fuzzy leaves of which are visible. Thompson’s mistmaiden is also worth kneeling down to get a closer look.

There were a number of holes in the meadow where someone had clearly been eating lots of Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) cones. Some of the holes had water pouring through them. We wondered what animals do when their tunnels are constantly flooded.

This might have been the first time I ever noticed a little bee feeding on the pollen of great polemonium (Polemonium carneum). They usually seem to attract lots of tiny flies to their pale blossoms.

After we explored the whole of Mistmaiden Meadow, we went farther down the old abandoned road and through the woods to the smaller meadow I’d checked out last fall (see Late Season at Mistmaiden Meadow). There were lots of seep monkeyflowers (Erythranthe microphylla) and coastal manroot, but it wasn’t nearly as diverse as the much larger Mistmaiden Meadow. We did see more paintbrush and Thompson’s mistmaiden.

“Bella” means beautiful, and Oregon bluebells (Mertensia bella) certainly is beautiful. I don’t see it often enough, but it was in perfect bloom in a small wetland just up the road from where we accessed Mistmaiden Meadow.

3 Responses to “Mistmaiden Meadow Pretty as a Picture”

  • Kate merz:

    Lovely post! Wish I lived closer to this area.

  • Kristy Swanson:

    I remember another very wet and sunny hill where dodecatheons were very happy.
    I loved seeing your polemonium, larkspur, Jim in the tree and all the beautiful
    places in bloom with their multicolored communities.

  • Leigh Blake:

    Hi!!! Thank you…fabulous!!! Loved your husband on that wonderful Acer!! I believe in sharing these spots with Walt too…He’s NOT a total plant person…but he does love the WILDS of Oregon… Your photos are so exciting…and I think you know the Orobanche uniflora now grows everywhere in our wild garden…so nice to have these sweeties around all our sedums!!
    Yummy Mertensia…I’ve got to propagate this…We’ve got Adelinia everywhere…

    Thanks for the HIKE with you!!! Hope we can get together this summer…

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