Mystery Flora: Sweetly Symmetrical

When it’s hot in the Pacific Northwest, one has a few options. There are a few restaurants, businesses, and entertainment facilities that have air conditioning. There’s the Sound, which is good and cold and has a few nice beaches. And there’s the mountains, with gorgeous streams cascading down them, cooling the place off on the way.

It got to be around 90 on Monday, so B and I headed into the Cascades. This is one of the best times of year to go, because all of the green growing things are busy being pretty. Such as these little delights from Deception Falls:

Image shows a short white flower with four spade-shaped petals and a round bunch of purple anthers in the center. The large leaves are also spade-shaped and smooth with deep veins.
Mystery Flora I

They were everywhere. The forest around Deception Falls is a little magical: it’s second growth, but it’s old, and it has a lovely canopy that only allows stray bits of sun down. Most of the ground is decayed wood, which is soft and springy and hushes sound. And the forest floor is bare in patches, but then you have these riots of brilliant green plants, and when they bust all out in flowers, it’s extra-fairy tale. (Not the original Grimms, the sweet kind.)

Image shows many of the above flowers growing in patches with other ground cover.
Mystery Flora II

We ended up doing the loop trail twice because I kept stopping every two seconds on the first pass to photograph more flowers. But when they keep presenting lovely bunches like this, can you blame me?

Image shows a close-knit bunch of the flowering plants growing together. There are three obvious flowers in a triangle pattern, with a fourth peeking out from beneath the one on the right.
Mystery Flora III

These were growing everywhere: under trees, on rocks…

A line of the flowers is growing over the top and down the side of a granitic boulder.
Mystery Flora IV

…and on tree stumps:

Image shows a mound of the flowers lit by the sun. If the photo is enlarged, moss can be spotted beneath the leaves.
Mystery Flora V

There’s a stump under there, I promise you. It’s just very, very hard to see. Many of our tree stumps become planters.

I accidentally got you a bonus cryptopod, by the way:

Image shows one of the flowers in full sunlight. This flower has petals that aren't as flat as the others. On one of its leaves is some stuff that looks like a bit of forest duff.
Mystery Flora + Cryptopod I

You’ve got to look pretty close, but it’s right there.

Image is a crop of the previous. The bit of duff is revealed to be a tan rectangular bug lying on its back.
Mystery Flora + Cryptopod II

Unfortunately, it is defunct. It’s probably also common as muck. But hey, at least this got me to zoom in so you could see the wee tiny hairs on the leaves! Looks like a fair-haired person who hasn’t shaved for a week, doesn’t it just?

These flowers get the most wonderful faint brown hue to the tips of their petals, which I expect comes with age. Alas, I didn’t photograph enough of those, so the only one I have for you is slightly blurred.

Image shows one of the flowers with its petal tips looking like they've been dipped in chocolate milk.
Mystery Flora VI

I love these so much!

We got lots of gorgeous photos while we were there, and some bonza video of a water ouzel. Yay, an ouzel! I’ll sort through them and get some up for you when I’ve got a moment, which will hopefully happen within a week or so. I just need to finish up sending out thankees and goodies to those who so generously donated to my save-Dana-and-the-kitty fund. This is going to take a while, because you are incredible, generous bunches who are every bit as lovely as these little flowers! But I expect to have done with that by Sunday at the latest. I’ll also be adding more books to my Amazon marketplace store. Yes, I do indeed have that many books that it’s taking me a solid week to get even a fraction of them online. (If you’re book shopping, do please check there to see if I have what you want – most of my books are in exquisite condition, and I’m pricing them very competitively indeed!)

I’ll have more time to concentrate on such things because B has just gone away to visit his folks for over a week. Sadface. It’s a good thing I’ll be too busy to miss him much, right? But I do have to warn you that there’ll probably be a bit of maudlin sniffling as I post pictures from our adventures for you to enjoy.

Thank you again for all you’ve done. You are the most excellent people on the planet, and I shall reward your generosity with many splendiferous posts and some wicked-cool books. Speaking of which, I’d best be off writing them for you now!

Mystery Flora: Sweetly Symmetrical

3 thoughts on “Mystery Flora: Sweetly Symmetrical

  1. 1

    They’re bunchberries Cornus canadensis, or dwarf dogwood. They will produce a small cluster of red berries, edible (sort of).

    Besides being just plain beautiful, they have an interesting life. From my guide, Plants of Coastal British Columbia”, “The petals of the mature, but unopened, flower buds suddenly reflex, triggered by a tiny “antenna” projecting from one petal tip, and the anthers spring out simultaneously, catapulting their pollen loads into the air.”

  2. 2

    Yep, Susannah has got it. They are beautiful, and brighten up the forest floor quite nicely. Nice pictures, too.
    As far as your ex-cryptopod, maybe the dismembered remains of some kind of thrips? Dunno.

  3. 3

    The little dead critter looks like it might be a springtail (collembola), a type of hexopod that used to be considered an insect. They have an appendage at the rear end called a furcula, which is normally tightly fastened under the body. This can be suddenly released which tosses them into the air, hence the name “springtail.” This is based on just superficial appearance and I could be totally wrong. Your photos of the bunchberry are most lovely!

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