Today, Peggy and I continue our ‘walks on the wild side,’ which are a primary form of entertainment for us while sheltering at home. Our local spring wildflowers provide the focus but I couldn’t help adding the rosebush that came across America in a wagon train.
Our common names for flowers are often amusing. Hound’s tongue and elegant cat’s ear certainly are. But they can also be confusing. For example, one of the flowers I will feature today is Oregon grape. It isn’t the plants only common names, however. I found one list that included holly-leaf barberry, mountain grape, Oregon grape holly, Oregon barberry, blue barberry, creeping barberry, holly barberry, holly-leaved Berberis, holly Mahonia, Mahonia, Mahonie, scraperoot, trailing Mahonia, Uva de Oregon, Vigne de l’Oregon and water-holly— in addition to Oregon grape— for a total of 18 different names! Probably the best physical description is Oregon grape holly, but the plant is neither a grape or a holly. Nor is it found only in Oregon. It’s easy to see why botanists depend upon the plants scientific name, Mahonia aquifolium. Or is that Berberis aquifolium? (Grin) There even seems to be some debate over its scientific name!
I started out mis-identifying hound’s tongue. I thought it was a forget-me-not— lots of pretty little blue flowers lighting up the day. I even had an old rant of mine prepared for today’s post. Legend has it that someone in Europe fell off a cliff or drowned in a river while clutching the flowers. His final act was to throw throw them to his lover while yelling, “Forget me not!” My experience with the plant is that when it goes to seed, all of its pretty little flowers turn into hundreds of obnoxious burrs that end up on your pants, socks and shoe laces! They are extremely hard to brush off and leave numerous stickers in your hands. Once you have had this experience, you never forget the plant.
My apologies to hound’s tongue (Adelinia grande), who apparently only wanted to lick me. (Kidding on the latter.) It gets its common name from its leaves that are said to look like a hound’s tongue. They can be found along the west coast of North America from British Columbia to California.
And now, for the rest of the flowers:
On Monday… We are going to check out the bear’s cave to see if anyone is home and visit with some of our local wildlife, or at least check out some of the signs they left behind! Who ate the turkeys? Who ate our baby Douglas fir? Who left the fur-filled scat (non-scientific name: poop) behind. And that’s just the beginning.
25 thoughts on “From Elegant Cat’s Ear to Hound’s Tongue: 10 Southern Oregon Wild Flowers— Plus a Rose Bush”
Thanks for the horticultural tour. Especially like the scarlet fritillary.
Always fun for us to check out the what’s growing around here. Especially in the spring. Thanks, Peggy. –Curt
Not a bad collection from your perambulations. We’re seeing more weeds than flowers 😉
Whoa— perambulations, now there is a delightful way to describe what we do! 🙂 Plenty of weeds around here as well, which reminds me, it’s time to get out the weed whacker! Thanks, AC. –Curt
I love all these photos of beautiful flowers, but you had me at elegant cat’s ear!!! Have never heard of this or seen one before. And it’s very interesting!!!! We used to have wildflower pilgrimages in the Smokies before the pandemic — would love to hike with someone knowledgeable to spot all the varieties we have in that park. All the best to you!
Cat’s ear truly looks the part, Rusha. Rarely does a common flower name fit so well! It’s a Western plant of Northern California and Southern Oregon, so I am not surprised it is new to you. I’ve always found that knowing something about animals, plants and geology enhances outdoor activities. And there is always something new to learn, not to mentions things you once knew but have forgotten! 🙂 Thanks. –Curt
Thanks for this colourful (and informative) reminder that it’s Spring, Curt – April this year may indeed be the cruellest month but nature offers compensations too …
April isn’t very cruel around here, Dave. It’s usually mild and beautiful. March can get a little nasty. 🙂 Thanks. –Curt
Ah yes, same here, was thinking more of the pandemic … also a nod to TS Eliot, who tried to overturn customary conventions of nature poetry with this:
April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
A horticultural paradise you and Peggy seem to live on. I like the rose bush most, so lovely and wild.
The rose bush is a beauty, Gerard. And the deer keep it trimmed for us. Grin.
All so lovely. Some appear up here too – Oregon grape and manzanita, and I just noticed on my hike today that the fawn lilies have arrived.
I grew up with manzanita in the foothills of California, Alison, but Oregon grape was totally new to me. It is a striking plant! The fawn Lilys were new as well although lilys are well-represented in the Sierra’s.
My go-to flower book now is Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest. –Curt
Beautiful post to start the weekend!
Thanks, Kelly. The flowers around here get as lot of attention. Many were familiar from my days of backpacking in the Sierra, but not all. –Curt
Your lemon fawn lily looks suspiciously like our trout lily.
There certainly are similarities! –Curt
Native plant lover though I am, that yellow rose is my favorite. Could it be echoes of the yellow rose of Texas stirring? In any event, it’s beautiful, and who doesn’t love a flower with a history?
I have a CD that includes the Sons of the Pioneers signing the Yellow Rose of Texas, Linda. Do you remember them: Some of my favs: Tumbling Tumble Weeds, All Day I Taste… etc. –Curt
Do I remember them? Oh, my. I’m sure you know that Roy Rogers was part of that group before he became Roy Rogers. They always were included in the noon market report on WHO out of Des Moines: pork bellies, corn and soybean futures, and “Cool Water.”
I think the only one I’m familiar with is the Oregon Grape (or whatever you call it.) Guess I spend too much time in the city. Lovely collection, in any case.
Thanks, Dave. And I am pretty sure you would find a number of them out in your woods. 🙂 We do have a drier climate in Southern Oregon, however, that you do around Portland. –Curt
A wonderful feast for our eyes and for our hearts🙂
Thanks, Christie. Glad you enjoyed it. –Curt
Mostly familiar, but you did a good job of searching up names I wasn’t sure of. That rose is certainly noteworthy and beautiful, too!
I’m thinking my favorite might be the scarlet fritillary. Our Cat’s Ears up here in the Siskiyous are miniatures as are most plants that grow in the nutrient poor serpentine soil.