Garry Oak Meadow–Mid-April (2)

Garry Oak Meadow–Mid-April (2)

The Camassia are peaking a little early this year because of the recent warm weather. The meadow stretches out blue into the distance, with swathes of pink rosy plectritis and dots of yellow buttercups and lomatium. Tiny native bees and big fuzzy bumblebees seem frenzied as they go from blossom to blossom. The meadow has dried out quite a bit from earlier in the month but there are still many vernal streams running through.

Rosy plectritis (Plectritis congesta) in a field of predominately common camas (Camassia quamash). You can see dots of buttercups (Ranunculus occidentalis) in the background.
The color of the camas petals is very hard to capture because they have several shades of blue, magenta and purple, and the color changes in different light.
No wonder Lewis and Clark thought they were beholding a vast lake when they first saw the Camas meadows in the Willamette Valley. On June 12, 1806, Lewis noted, “the quamash is now in blume and from the colour of its bloom and at a short distance it resembles lakes of fine clear water, so complete is this deseption that on first sight I could have swoarn it was water.”
The candy flower (Claytonia sibirica) grows in a shady spot where the soil is deep and wet. It winds its way up through the grasses, which are becoming very lush.
Aren’t the shades of green in this grass beautiful? Walking in this area is like walking on a sponge–the soil is very wet and soft. Shallow seasonal streams run through here.

I am chronicling the tremendous variety of botanical riches in this rare and endangered ecosystem near the lower Columbia River in Oregon. Once the Willamette Valley and many places along the Columbia River Corridor were characterized by oak savanna. Most of these meadows have been lost to development. This is one of the few left and we are not sure how long it will remain. For more information go here. Thank you for joining me on this journey. More to come soon.


  1. Janene, that Camassia portait is so good! You have captured the Life behind it, not just a straight botany sketch, like I have seen many times of Camassia before. Unlike a cold something behind glass, I RECOGNIZE this one you drew, like a living creature in the meadow–in THAT meadow.

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