Early Spring Wildflowers

Mar 31, 2020
Early spring wildflowers are starting to appear in Central Oregon! Since Land Trust Preserves are currently closed, we're bringing the wildflowers to you!

By Jana Hemphill

As we make the shift to social distancing and closed trailheads for the foreseeable future, many of us in Central Oregon are craving the beauty of nature, especially as spring emerges. And while you're not able to to see in person the wildflowers that are beginning to appear at the Land Trust's Whychus Canyon Preserve, we thought we'd bring the wildflowers to you! Here are a handful of wildflowers that Land Trust staff have recently seen. We hope you enjoy!


Goldfields. Photo: Joan Amero.

 Goldfields. Photo: Joan Amero.


Goldfields, Crocidium multicaule

One of our very first wildflowers of the season, they are a sign that spring has arrived! You’ll find these dime-sized flowers carpeting sagebrush flats. In particularly good wildflower seasons, that's no exaggeration--they truly carpet the ground. Goldfields have a single yellow flower with 8 rays 1/4-1/2” long on a delicate stem up to 6” tall.

Sagebrush buttercups. Photo: Gary Miller.

 Sagebrush buttercups. Photo: Gary Miller.


Sagebrush buttercup, Ranunculus glaberrimus

This is another one of the first wildflowers of the season. These yellow flowers can turn white as they age. They are found in sagebrush flats to pine forests. The flowers have 5 petals that are 1/2” long atop a single stem.

Yellow bell. Photo: Land Trust.

 Yellow bell. Photo: Land Trust.


Yellow bell, Frittillaria pudica

A beautiful yellow, pendant-shaped lily that can be found in grasslands to pine forest. Yellow bell flowers are 7/8” long and can be yellow to brownish-orange. Leaves are grasslike.

Prairie Star. Photo: John Williams.

 Prairie star. Photo: John Williams.


Prairie star, Lithophragma parviflorum

Reminding us that nature is fragile, this early bloomer has a delicate, white to lavender-pink, irregular flower atop a slender red stem. Prairie stars are found in sagebrush flats to pine forests. Flowers have 5 petals that are 1/4” long atop a 4-12” tall stem.

Phlox. Photo: Land Trust.

 Spreading phlox. Photo: Land Trust.

Spreading phlox, Phlox diffusa

This low-growing flower prefers rocky crevices and exposed locations. These beauties always astound with their pop of color--flowers have 5 pink-purple-white petals. Adapted to extreme environments, cushion-like plants like phlox often have taproots 8-15’ deep!

Have you seen any flowers starting to bloom around your neighborhood? I'm excited to see these small bursts of happiness (that others call flowers) begin to appear more and more as the weather turns warmer!

**Although we make every effort to be accurate in our flower identification, it is often difficult to tell the differences between subspecies from a photo**


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