Category Archives: Random Plant

Goat’s Foot Morning Glory

Goat’s foot morning glory (Ipomoea pes-caprae, Convolvulaceae) can be found on tropical ocean shores around the globe. Also known as goat’s foot vine, railroad vine, bayhops, and beach morning glory, this evergreen perennial is one of the most widely-distributed salt-tolerant … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Manzanita

Found throughout large areas of the North American west, manzanitas (Arctostaphylos spp., Ericaceae) are common inhabitants of chaparral and other arid shrublands and woodlands. Made up of dozens of species, these woody plants grow as bushes or small trees and can be … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Mule-ears

Mule-ears (Wyethia amplexicaulis, Asteraceae) are relatively conspicuous herbaceous plants found throughout much of the western United States. These sunflower relatives feature long, broad leaves that resemble mule ears as well as numerous large yellow flower heads. They inhabit the intermountain west and are most … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Cutleaf Toothwort

Appearing in eastern woodlands in April and May, cutleaf toothwort (Cardamine concatenata, Brassicaceae) exhibits the four-petaled flower arrangement typical of members of the mustard family.  Its large flowers and relative abundance early in the season make it a favorite of insect pollinators. … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Bloodroot

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis, Papaveraceae) is one of many plants known as a spring ephemeral. Spurred into action by increasing day length in early spring, these plants complete their life cycles in just a few weeks. By the time deciduous trees have leafed out in May, these plants … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Yellow Trout-Lily

Found in moist woodlands of eastern North America, yellow trout-lilies (Erythronium americanum, Liliaceae) are one of many plants known as spring ephemerals. These plants germinate, grow, flower and reproduce in just a few weeks in early spring. Increasing day length and sun … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Bigleaf Maple

Although I’ve seen bigleaf maples (Acer macrophyllum, Aceraceae) a number of times in the Pacific Northwest, it was their fallen leaves on my past trip that really caught my attention. Littering the ground east of Portland, Oregon they decorated the landscape with their … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Western skunk cabbage

Native to North America, western skunk cabbage (Lysichiton americanus, Araceae) can be found from Alaska to northern California and as far east as Montana. This species loves water and shade and appropriately inhabits swamps, marshes, stream banks, wet forests, and other moisture-rich areas throughout … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Arctic sweet coltsfoot

Arctic sweet coltsfoot (Petasites frigidus var. palmatus, Asteraceae) is a cold-hardy herbaceous perennial that is native to northern Asia, Europe, and North America. It prefers moist soil and shade and can often be found near streams and wet forests throughout its range. … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Indian heliotrope

Although native to southern Asia, Indian heliotrope (Heliotropium indicum, Boraginaceae) has been spread by human activity throughout the tropical and sub-tropical areas of the world. Long ago it was introduced to the southeastern United States, and today it thrives in this … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Sweet after death

Sweet after death (Achlys triphylla, Berberidaceae) gets its common name from the fragrant aroma that is released by its dead and dried leaves. This scent has been compared to vanilla, and as a result it’s also known as vanilla leaf. In spite … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Wild hollyhock

Wild hollyhock (Iliamna rivularis, Malvaceae) goes by a number of other common names including streambank wild hollyhock, mountain hollyhock,  streambank globemallow, and maple mallow. The flowers are similar in structure to other members of the mallow family and have five wide, overlapping petals. This … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Pink mountain heather

Unique to mountain meadows of western North America, pink mountain heather (Phyllodoce empetriformis, Ericaceae) can be found at elevations above 5000 feet (1524 m) from Alaska to Colorado. Forming low, dense mats of growth up to 16 inches (41 cm) in … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Shrubby cinquefoil

Shrubby cinquefoil (Dasiphora fruticosa, Rosaceae) is a relatively common wildflower that is native to much of North America. As a cold-hardy plant it’s most often found across Canada and the northern United States, as well as mountainous areas of the west. This … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Pearly everlasting

Of about 100 species of everlastings that are found throughout the world, only one is native to North America.  Pearly everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea, Asteraceae) inhabits much of the continent and can typically be found in prairies, meadows, and in waste spaces … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Western pasqueflower

Looking like something out of a Dr. Seuss book, the seed heads of western pasqueflower (Pulsatilla occidentalis, Ranunculaceae) are a definite curiosity. In the spring and early summer this plant produces large, creamy white flowers that attract insects. By late summer … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Snow on the mountain

Snow on the mountain (Euphorbia marginata, Euphorbiaceae) is an interesting and attractive annual that is native to the Great Plains. Here it is most often encountered on dry slopes, near prairie dog towns, and in other open areas where competing vegetation … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Yellow cryptantha

Yellow cryptantha (Cryptantha flava, Boraginaceae) can be found in many arid locations in the American west. This perennial inhabits open sandy areas from southern Wyoming down into northern Arizona and New Mexico. It features long, narrow, and densely hairy leaves that are … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Woolly locoweed

Like other locoweeds, woolly locoweed (Astragalus mollissimus, Fabaceae) gets its common name from a peculiar effect it has on grazing animals. This plant produces a toxin known as locoine, an alkaloid that causes sheep, cattle, and other herbivores to “go loco” and exhibit … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Canaigre dock

Canaigre dock (Rumex hymenosepalus, Polygonaceae) is a rather unique plant that is native to the southwest United States and northern Mexico. This member of the buckwheat family can be found growing in sandy soil at lower elevations, and is well-adapted to the dry climate. … Continue reading

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