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Is There a Wildflower That, To You, Just Really Characterizes the Place You Live?

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May 18 in Miscellaneous ♑ by Virginia (3,271 points)

For me, here in Southwest Washington State, I think it might be either the wild prairie violet or the camas lily. I am now about 75 miles (120 km) inland from the Pacific raincoast town where I was born, in the middle of prairie remnants! 

So it was warmer here in past millennia...however, Native Americans kept the ancient prairies going long after their time, just by annual prairie fires to wipe out the seedlings of huge Douglas fir forests, trying to move in. 

And this delicate blue wildflower is the reason; the camas lily grows from a bulb that was ground into a nourishing flour, a dietary staple. For me it's very poignant...once covering the vast prairies, now in early May you still see these lovely blue flowers clustered in every unattended niche and byway and hedgerow...so delicate, so persistent...I love them!

4 Answers

I like the Day Lilly here in WV. See them just about anywhere, roadside, in the woods. Very pretty! I'm a flower kinda gal!

image

Angela the day lily is a wonderful flower. Here in Washington you see them cultivated in gardens, but not as a wild flower...do you know if the ones in WV are edible? I had a clump once, and would put them into salads as a beautiful and piquant garnish!

Lovely choice...

I'm not sure if they are edible, that would be something for me to look into!

@Angela

A very nice flower; Virginia just reminded me that the true lilies were categorised as a separate order; the daylily (Hemerocallis) belongs, like Virginia's camas lily, to the order asparagales:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daylily

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemerocallis_fulva


One species with edible flowers, for instance, is

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemerocallis_citrina


On the other hand, there's a similar flower, a true lily (order liliales), which is toxic for cats:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lilium_martagon

:)

Rooster May 19
I prefer the Bird of Paradise flowers myself! They are so pretty and look great in the yard!
image
Virginia Rooster May 19

Rooster, this flower is SO fascinating...I have loved them since childhood and yes, they are striking in any flower garden!

Marianne Rooster May 19

@Rooster

Yes, the "bird of paradise" flowers are fascinating flowers, a jewel for gardens:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strelitzia

Here, I have to visit the botanical garden to see them.

:)


Marianne May 19

Oh, Virginia - this wildflower is a treasure.

We have various native wildflowers, whether in our alpine regions or in the valleys and plains, which we share with our Alpine neighbours, like several species of gentians, the famous "edelweiss", earleaf bellflower, auricula, the monk's-hood, etc.

I will, therefore, present one of the most endangered, though widespread Eurasian flowers from the temperate zones, an orchid, also known as lady's slipper orchid, i.e., Cypripedium calceolus, which is also of the order "asparagales" (like the camas lily):

image

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cypripedium_calceolus


Add:

And T(h)ink might remind us of a little particularity about the consumption of the baked bulbs of the camas lily - lol. (I looked into the info; it is from the same order as various wild and cultivated plants, including asparagus, hyacinths, lilies, etc.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camassia

:):D

Virginia Marianne May 19

Marianne, I see from your link that the camas has now been reassigned, to the family Asparagaceae, a lily no longer!

The article also talks about the toxic variant that is quite similar; known locally here as the 'death camas'...the Native Americans had to be very careful when harvesting these for food.

Marianne Marianne May 19

@Virginia

Wow - I have been very slow.

As I see, also the botanical name of the toxic variant is a double warning about its toxicity, resp. its venomousness: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxicoscordion_venenosum

Yes, they divided orders and families, the liliaceae are a separate order (liliales); many flower species called lilies are iridaceae, even the symbolic lily (fleur-de-lis) of France's "royal past", is basing on an iris, which belongs to the order (asparagales).

Asparagales:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iridaceae

Liliales:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liliaceae


Probable models of the "fleur-de-lis":

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iris_pseudacorus

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iris_sibirica


Virginia Marianne May 19

Marianne, I have always assumed the wild iris (which grows here in Washington State) is native, and I see from your links it is not...an import from Europe that escaped...never considered it might be a model for the fleur de lis, but now appears quite obvious, quite likely!

Oh and Marianne I just went back for another look at your favourite flower(s)...the wild orchid among others...we also here in deep dark forests, there is a little pale strange orchid that pops up occasionally, quite rare...but it's lovable!

Marianne Marianne May 20

@Virginia

Is your pale strange orchid eventually also a lady's slipper species?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cypripedium_reginae

Virginia Marianne May 20

Marianne, ima google it and see what I can find out...I am doubting the lady slipper, because I recall it as a single stalk, pink and fleshy appearing...it's strange!

Edit: Marianne, i think the flower I remember is actually one of the coralroots. I have a photo for you, but this is not the exact plant I remember; this ecotone is wrong, my flower springs up one or two fleshy stalks in an ocean/coastal conifer forest so deep there is no undergrowth. I would have to see it again, with a plant book in hand, to be sure I think!

image

Marianne Marianne May 20
Virginia Marianne May 20

I am not sure, Marianne...it has just been too long since I have been hiking in the deep forest to see the orchid. 

Your links were interesting, however, in that at least one species has such a vast distribution; same species (Corallorhiza trifida) is found in Europe, Asia, North America...and apparently native to all those!

Marianne Marianne May 23

Yes, Virginia, as far as I know, this is correct, and its wide spreading makes this coralroot orchid probably the most known of its species.

Do you like weird flowers?

Here's one, which is amazing, the flying duck orchid (from Australia):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caleana


Virginia Marianne May 23

Dear Marianne,

That flying duck orchid may be the strangest flower I have ever seen!

I do not know much about weird flowers, although I did take a special interest in botany as a teenager...I learned 100 of our local plants and their uses for local Native Americans...it was called ethnobotany, I recall, and I had a little booklet. 

You clearly have a very special knowledge of plants/flowers, and I admire that very much!

* * *

I put a message for you on the wall...did I do it correctly, did you see it?


TheOtherTink May 19

Yes. Mountain laurel, which grows wild in the woods in many parts of Long Island.

Ironic, because there are no mountains here, but they love the acid, sandy soil.

image

O'Tink, those are unbelievably lovely...just truly exquisite, a delight even to look at the photo...

Yes, they are beautiful, Virginia. They are related to azaleas and rhododendrons (which also often grow wild here).

And they bloom in sequence. First azaleas (right now), then rhododendrons a couple of weeks later, and then the mountain laurel, a couple of weeks after that.

OtherTink, I was wondering if your mountain laurel might be related to rhododendrons...which also grow wild in Washington State, and also love the acidic soil. 

@T(h)ink

I like these delicate flowers! I looked it up; they say this plant is widely grown as ornamental plant and that "all parts of the plant are poisonous" to different phytophagous animals and to humans.

:)

@ Marianne:

Lol, I never knew they were poisonous to humans, but fortunately, I never ate any. :)

Seriously, we were warned as children never to eat any wild plants, except wild raspberries and strawberries, which are easily identifiable. And above all, no mushrooms!

@T(h)ink

That was very wise - we were also reminded, as children, not to eat wild plants, with the exception of easily recognisable berries, i.e. raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, bilberries, etc. and vegetables, like corn salad, for instance, and some well known mushroom species (under supervision, of course).

Some of the most known toxic plants are:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atropa_belladonna

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxus_baccata

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aconitum_napellus

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digitalis

or

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amanita_muscaria

@ Marianne,

Oh yes, I remember we were specifically warned not to eat red yew berries. Yew is very commonly used as a foundation planting around houses in the US.

@T(h)ink

Oh yes, also here, the European yew is often used in hedges, gardens and parks, and we received the same warnings.


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