Dear plant enthusiasts,
This is for you.
First of all, if this is totally your thing, download the app called Washington Wildflowers (available for iOS and Android). This app can help you identify almost every Washington wildflower you can think of, including the ones I’ll be mentioning today, which are all lining our river systems at Triad River Tours. The app was created (in association with High Country Apps) by Mark Turner and Ellen Kuhlmann, authors of Trees and Shrubs of the Pacific Northwest. This app is basically a travel field guide for all types of naturally growing plants in the Washington area. The best part? No Wi-Fi or internet access needed once it is downloaded, so you can always have access to your guide, no matter how remote your trip becomes.
These notched flowers range from deep purple to nearly white in color. They are easy to identify due to the veiny appearance in their petals and fuzzy leaves, which keeps insects off and prevents grazing animals from eating them. They are happiest in forested riverbanks and bloom June through August. These flowers are rarely found in home gardens, but they are fairly common out in the wild.
There are more than three dozen types of trilliums in North America alone. One of the most common types found near our rivers are the western white trillium. These white tri-petaled flowers bloom from the end of March to the beginning of April. Along with the easy access to nearby water, they enjoy our towering douglas fir and western redcedar trees that provide a blanket of shade.
While commonly misidentified as lilac, the purple bunches produce fruit, unlike their botanical doppelgangers. The legume is densely hairy, similar to the dense-flowered willowherb. Like the trillium, these flowers find comfort in the canopy of the douglas fir, following them wherever they go. It is very unique to the Pacific Northwest, due to the very specifically correct weather conditions.
This just barely scratches the surface of Washington’s wildflowers. Click the first link below for an extensive list and more info on each one. When you’re done, grab your rose colored glasses and book a whitewater rafting trip with us today to see if you can spot some of the flowers you learned about!