Some of page content & features are available only to members - Sign up only takes 8 seconds!

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

+3 votes
May 18, 2017 in Miscellaneous ♑ by Virginia (6,447 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 delicate, so persistent...I love them!

4 Answers

Angela_Anthony May 19, 2017

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!


Virginia Angela_Anthony May 19, 2017

Angela the day lily is a wonderful flower. Here in Washington you see them cultivated in gardens, but not as a wild 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...

Angela_Anthony Angela_Anthony May 19, 2017

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

Marianne Angela_Anthony May 19, 2017


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:

One species with edible flowers, for instance, is

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


Rooster May 19, 2017
I prefer the Bird of Paradise flowers myself! They are so pretty and look great in the yard!
Virginia Rooster May 19, 2017

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, 2017


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

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


Marianne May 19, 2017

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):



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.


Virginia Marianne May 19, 2017

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, 2017


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:

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).



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

Virginia Marianne May 19, 2017

Marianne, I have always assumed the wild iris (which grows here in Washington State) is native, and I see from your links it is 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, 2017


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

Virginia Marianne May 20, 2017

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'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!


Marianne Marianne May 20, 2017
Virginia Marianne May 20, 2017

I am not sure, 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, 2017

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):

Virginia Marianne May 23, 2017

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 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, 2017

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.


Virginia TheOtherTink May 19, 2017

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

TheOtherTink TheOtherTink May 19, 2017

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.

Virginia TheOtherTink May 19, 2017

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. 

Marianne TheOtherTink May 20, 2017


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.


TheOtherTink TheOtherTink May 20, 2017

@ 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!

Marianne TheOtherTink May 23, 2017


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:


TheOtherTink TheOtherTink May 23, 2017

@ 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.

Marianne TheOtherTink May 23, 2017


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

Related questions

Question followers

0 users followed this question.

41 Online
0 Member And 41 Guest
Today Visits : 500
Yesterday Visits : 13217
All Visits : 7672283