Sunday, August 29, 2010

Mt. Rainier Wildflowers

As I mentioned in my previous post, my two favorite things from our recent trip to Washington state were the tide pools of Rialto Beach and the wildflowers of Mt. Rainier. I now present the latter for your enjoyment.

As you walk through the meadows around Mt. Rainier, you feel as if you have been transported to the opening credits of The Sound of Music, with Julie Andrews dancing through wildflowers and the Alps as a backdrop. "The hills are alive ....."

My choice for prettiest wildflower, although it is on the small side, is Pink Mountain Heather (Phyllodoce empetriformis):

Tied for second place for prettiest, but definitely in first place for best name, is Mountain Monkeyflower (Mimulus tilingii). Apparently some species of monkeyflowers look like a monkey's face, but I don't think this one does.

And here is the other flower tied for second place for prettiest, Magenta Paintbrush (Castilleja parviflora):

Paintbrushes come in many other colors, and another common one around Mt. Rainier is the Scarlet Paintbrush (Castilleja miniata):

Here is one that is attractive not for its bright color but for its delicate structure, the seedhead of the Pasqueflower (Anemone occidentalis):

And another blandly colored but delicate flower, Sitka Valarian (Valeriana sitchensis):

Here is another that proves that white flowers can be beautiful too. This is Beargrass (Xerophyllum tenax) just starting to open up:

Here's one a little later in its life:

And some in full bloom:

OK, enough with trying to make white flowers sound pretty, here's another bright and beautiful one. This is Fan-leaf Cinquefoil (Potentilla flabellifolia):

And another yellow beauty, Arrowleaf Groundsel (Senecio triangularis):

Here was the most common flower, at least at the time of year we were visiting. This is Broadleaf Lupine (Lupinus latifolius):

Time to throw in a boring one, although I do have to say that you usually don't see too many green flowers. This is False Hellebore (Veratrum viride):

Here's one with a beautiful contrast of colors, Subalpine Daisy (Erigeron peregrinus):

And a smaller one with the same color scheme, Spreading Phlox (Phlox diffusa):

Here's one that looks like the Hostess Sno Balls we used to eat as kids - round cakes covered with pink marshmallow and shredded coconut. It's called Rosy Spirea (Spiraea densiflora):

And now for something completely different.....

Yes, this picture was taken in August; and no, we were not hiking on a glacier. This snow was across the "regular" trail at Mt. Rainier (for those without crampons and ice axes). This part of the trail is snow-free for only a short time each summer.


  1. most beautiful photos ...... ummm.. except for the last one!! what a reminder of whats coming...... think i'll take another look at your summer photos :D

  2. this is beautiful.. i would have thought August is a little late in the year for wildflowers, but clearly not.

  3. oh and of course white flowers are pretty!!

  4. Thanks I'm glad you liked the photos!

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