Anticipating the David Douglas Exhibit

Anticipating the David Douglas Exhibit
I was looking for something in the Summer 2013 edition of Douglasia , the quarterly journal of the Washington Native Plant Society, and I found something else. On page 2, I saw a quarter page ad for David Douglas: A Naturalist at Work , a museum exhibit at MAC, the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture , in Spokane. The museum website teased my interest with this paragraph: Naturalist David Douglas traveled the Columbia River and interior Northwest (1825-1833), identifying and collecting over two...
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Urban Fern Gallery

Urban Fern Gallery
Enter your text here ... If you live in a city, I'm sure you've seen them too. Emerging from walls, perched on pilings, and seemingly imprisoned beneath grates and guardrails. These urban ferns seem impervious to weeds, landscaping, litter, pollution, desiccation, and other challenges of urban life. No wonder their ancient lineages persist. I recently took the time to photograph some urban ferns in Olympia and Seattle. I've found four native species so far: Lady Fern ( Athyrium filix-femina ) Li...
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Plant Profile: Serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia)

Plant Profile: Serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia)
This week I'm expanding on a short piece I wrote for WNPS a few years ago that appeared in Spokane's newspaper, The Spokesman-Review ( here it is in its original form ). This shrub (or is it a tree?) provoked much discussion on the WNPS listserv recently. See below for excerpts. Why Serviceberry is choice: A show of white flowers in spring, tasty dark blue berries in late summer, yellow leaves in fall, Serviceberry is more than just serviceable. But this deciduous shrub does serve, and admirably...
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Learning to Speak the Grass Language

Learning to Speak the Grass Language
As a youth, I was afflicted with debilitating allergy to grass pollen. I'll spare you the details, but I will say that it engaged my curiosity about these plants early on. I saw grasses everywhere, in many habitats and with notably varied habits. I outgrew the allergy—but my curiosity remained. I admired grasses in the wild, grasses as weeds, grasses as food, grasses as garden subjects. I came to recognize many grasses, based solely on my familiarity with them as companions. If you asked me how ...
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NAPs and NRCAs: Three Special Places to Know About in Eastern Washington

NAPs and NRCAs: Three Special Places to Know About in Eastern Washington
I'll be completely honest here, and confess that I have a hard time keeping all the different types of special places and public lands straight. I'm getting better at it, but still. I heard of a study once that found that most Americans basically think that all public lands are national parks. I'm not quite that confused, but there's a bunch of categories and alphabet soup out there. So many agencies: WDFW, USFWS, USFS, NPS, NMFS/NOAA, BLM, BPA, DOE, and DNR*—and that's just for starters. The ag...
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This! Fort Townsend State Park’s New Mural of Old-Growth Forest

This! Fort Townsend State Park’s New Mural of Old-Growth Forest
In November, 2010, I suggested to our Friends of Fort Townsend group that we commission a natural history interpretive painting for the park. We put together the funding for the project, including an education grant from the Washington Native Plant Society. Fort Townsend State Park is 2 miles south of Port Townsend off of Highway 20. The park includes seven miles of hiking trails through old-growth forest. The WNPS plant list for the park includes 215 species. We asked Larry Eifert if he would b...
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Five Plants—and People—I Appreciate

Five Plants—and People—I Appreciate
We're now in the middle of 2013's Native Plant Appreciation Week . I spent last weekend touring some inspiring gardens on the Central Puget Sound Chapter's Native Plant Garden tour. When I got back home, I took an appraising look at my own garden. It's still very much a work in progress—as most gardens are. I poked around, grubbing out weeds and trimming errant branches, and I thought about how my garden is populated with people as well as plants. Here are five plants, and five people, I found i...
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Appreciating Native Plant Appreciation Week

Appreciating Native Plant Appreciation Week
Did you have a good Earth Day when it rolled around earlier this week? And what are your plans for Native Plant Appreciation Week when it starts on April 28 th ? ​ What is Native Plant Appreciation Week? The week gives us a springtime opportunity to enjoy our state's amazing flora. We can take a look at all the work that governmental agencies, non-profit groups, and environmental organizations are doing to protect native plant species and restore native plant habitats. We can participate in ever...
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Roaming Rove Beetles and Naïve Bumblebees

Roaming Rove Beetles and Naïve Bumblebees
The arrival of spring always rekindles my interest in pollination biology, that fascinating body of knowledge detailing how plants achieve the delivery of pollen to the stigma of a flower. Pollination is typically required for fertilization and subsequent seed production (there are exceptions, but that is another story). Scientists estimate that nearly 90% of the 300,000+ vascular plant species in the world rely on animals (insect, bird, mammal) for successful pollination. The glue of this relat...
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Ten Taxing Taxonomy Terms for Tax Time

Ten Taxing Taxonomy Terms for Tax Time
ID Taxonomy: ​I is for Intercalary ​Inserted between other parts. ​Timothy had to mow the lawn again because grasses have those pesky intercalary meristems. ​D is for Dichotomous ​Divided into two distinct parts ​Neither the first or second choice fits well in this dichotomous key. ​T is for Taxon (plural: taxa) ​A taxonomic group of any rank, such as a species, family, or class. ​As Benjamin Franklin (didn't) say to botany students: "Nothing is certain except death and taxa." ​A is for Adaxial ...
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Botanical Birthday Greetings to Washington State Parks

Botanical Birthday Greetings to Washington State Parks
March marked the kick-off celebrations for Washington State Parks' 100 th birthday, and brought to mind the great botanizing available in these parks. One of the first centennial celebrations was on March 9 th , when the Friends of Moran State Park and photographer Martin Taylor cooperated for some aerial photos . You can see the summit of Mount Constitution on Orcas Island and the surrounding forest and environs. Looks like it was a fun time! WNPS has a plant list for Mount Constitution . A pre...
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Sign Up!

Sign Up!
It's time to sign up, step up, apply, and register. Spring is here and it brings loads of opportunities to learn, to contribute your time, and to get out and about. First off, here are some activities sponsored by the Washington Native Plant Society and its partners. Native Plant Stewardship Training Application deadline April 8 . We are once again offering free Native Plant Stewardship Training in Seattle. Native Plant Stewards help restore Seattle's forested parks. Partners with WNPS are Seatt...
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Gardening with Edible and Useful Native Shrubs

Gardening with Edible and Useful Native Shrubs
I recently moved and have the good fortune of a new landscape to plant and restore on San Juan Island. After Phase 1—planting a fine selection of native trees—I set out on Phase 2: adding shrubs that are useful, edible, or both. They got extra points for color and texture. Here are my top five, in no particular order. 1. Salmonberry ( Rubus spectabilis ) I love salmonberry for its beautiful dark pink to magenta flowers that bloom from early spring to early summer. Hummingbirds and butterflies lo...
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Looking Ahead

Looking Ahead
My Spring 2013 edition of Douglasia arrived Saturday, on a day of sunshine and mild temperatures. Perhaps it was the sun, but I think this edition is particularly beguiling. And reading it was a great way to top off a day spent immersed in plant life. First I spent several hours in the garden, trimming, clipping, raking, and vanquishing innocent-looking youngsters of shotweed ( Cardamine hirsuta ) and dandelion ( Taraxacum officinale ). Then I went on a long walk with my sister, through a nearby...
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Plant Profile: Redwood Sorrel (Oxalis oregana)

Plant Profile: Redwood Sorrel (Oxalis oregana)
It's getting to be that shamrock time of year. Let's take a look at a Washington native species that has handsome shamrock-like leaves. Why it's choice: Redwood sorrel carpets the understory in coastal forests north into British Columbia and south into the redwood stands of northern California. It's leaves are trifoliate, meaning they have three leaflets, in a shape characteristic of other members of the genus Oxalis , as well as members of the pea family such as clover ( Trifolium , heh) and al...
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