Thursday, April 3, 2008

Bloomin' Gorgeous

Its wildflower time out here in west Eugene. We have spring wildflower's blooming - willow, saxifrage, and our special plant, desert parsley more importantly known as Bradshaw's Lomatium. Okay folks, I'm going to get a bit technical on this post and a little plant geeky so bear with me. Bradshaw's Lomatium, Lomatium bradshawii, is a federally listed endangered species. It used to grow in wet prairies all over the Willamette valley and Umpqua valley (that's south of here). Now because of the conversion of land to industrial uses, agriculture and housing, this plant has limited options for where it grows. You know what that means, there aren't very many of these plants left. That's why they have them on the federal endangered species list. Does that mean we shouldn't have houses or businesses? Of course not! There are folks that work out here in west Eugene that keep an eye on these plants and try to create optimum areas for their growth. Whew! That's a lot of information! If you're still reading, thanks for hanging in there.

They do kind of look like parsley. Bradshaw's Lomatium is part of the Carrot family, but please don't eat them. The leaves are all lacy looking and the yellow flowers grow in branches or compound umbels as the botanists like to say. It only gets around 7 - 14 inches tall and is done flowering by mid to late May. Since it's hard to spot it is a very subtle beauty. It is one of the unique things about our wetlands, and just knowing we have such special species here is something of which we can be proud.

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