A botany walk starting at 7 pm? Who knew that could be a rich learning experience? Under overcast skies the 15 of us, guided by botanist Chesire Mayersohn, set out to explore the Tsanchiifin Walk area. Recent rains had left sparkling beads on grass blades and cups of shimmering light in the hollows of leaves as we began our trip.
Here are a few things I learned about plants of the wetlands. I encourage all who were on the trip to add more information through "comments".
- If poison oak is a problem for you, cook up some Willamette Valley Gumweed (Grindelia intergrifolia) into a pasty mixture and apply.
- Chesire said she has eaten cooked camas and to her it tasted like sweet library paste.
- She pointed out some species that are native and their non-native counterparts nearby. If you see a thistle with red or purple flowers it is not a native.
- Big Leaf Maple (Acer macrophylum) has the largest leaves of any maple, worldwide.
- Hawthorne is used to help treat heart disease and helps with blood pressure (don't try this at home).
- One yellow daisy-type flower has the common name of Oregon Sunshine, a welcome sight on a cloudy Oregon day.
- Dock (Rumex) has long been a medicinal plant believed to balance intestinal flora.
Some other plants seen were owl clover, at least two varieties of lupine, poison oak with delicate white blossoms, pointed rush (Juncus oxymeris) and spreading rush (Juncus patens) the soft velvet grass (Holcus lanatus), California Oatgrass (Danthonia californica) and many others. And did you know that Queen Anne's Lace is in the carrot family?
Also seen on our loop walk were meadowlarks (could hear them as well), a red-winged blackbird, great blue heron and a small rabbit.