Floral Notes From the GSOC Wallowa Field Trip

For those of us who were fortunate enough to participate in the Wallowa GSOC field trip, along with stunning geology we were immersed in an abundance of wildflowers. We were surrounded by an unbelievable variety of wildflowers everywhere we went. At any one time you could stand still and see more than a dozen or more different flowers surrounding you.

We were fortunate to have several GSOC members who also were wildflower enthusiasts. There were several interesting conversations and discussion of the possible ID of an interesting flower. I know that I learned a lot from the other people on the trip.

We started out on the Zumwalt prairie which is known for its Mima mounds as well as its wildflowers. The Big Headed Clover, Old Mans Whiskers, Larkspur, Lupine and others were everywhere. But I think that the 6-mile round trip hike up Hurricane creek really gave us an opportunity to see the biggest variety. The hike took us through several habitats, avalanche meadows, rocky slopes, moist trees and streams. Here we saw lots of Calypso orchids, an early Mountain Lady Slipper orchid, Striped Coral Root, Balsam Root, Lupine, Meadow Rue, Arnica, Cinquefoil, Penstemon and more.

Our last day took us to the Iwetamlaykin State Heritage site where our guide Ellen Morris Bishop gave us an intro to the value of native bunch grass and other native plants. Along with being an excellent Geologist, photographer and newspaper editor, she knows her plants!

Overall, we saw over 50 species of wildflower — not bad for a geology field trip!

— Teresa Meyer