Note to readers: if you’re anywhere near Corvallis in July, get thee to Marys Peak and prepare to spend several hours blissing out over the flowers. Ye gods. No wonder it got designated a scenic botanical area. If it wasn’t for all the fabulous geology, I would have spent my entire time up there chasing wildflowers and butterflies. I very nearly didn’t come down.
Looking back on it, I’m tempted to go back. If you succumb to temptation, here’s roughly where you need to go. Drive up Marys Peak Rd. until you come to a meadow. Pull over and indulge. But don’t linger there all day – there’s another meadow at the top.
This particular meadow is full of some of the strangest flowers I’ve ever seen.
How’s that for neato, eh? You know I made a beeline to them: they’re purple and they’re weird, two of my favorite things in the universe.
The broad leaves you’re seeing in the photo belong to something else. Here’s a view that shows the whole plant:
Itty bitty leaves and a great big flower. I realize I don’t have anything in any of my photos for scale – I really need to start doing that even with flowers. These, to the best of my recollection, were about the diameter of a quarter, so they’re not quite huge, but still largeish as far as wildflowers go. They were tall enough to poke up through the surrounding vegetation – maybe a bit less than a foot.
And they’re hairy. I don’t think I’ve ever seen quite such a pelt on petals before. I’m sure there’s a nifty evolutionary reason for it, but I’ll be buggered if I know what that is. Once you lot have identified it, we can discuss why it’s so fuzzy.
They liked the meadow, but they seemed to love the banks by the road, too.
And, while I most often was seeing single blooms, there were quite a few in little bunches. Delightful!
This is one of those things, outside of the geology, that I love the most about the Pacific Northwest. From early spring to late fall, a procession of flowers livens up the place, and some of them are pretty wacky. I can forgive beauties like these for obscuring the geology.