Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Nature Nerd Wednesdays

Welcome to Nature Nerd Wednesdays, your mid-week nature break to reconnect with the calming, refreshing, and inspiring effects of nature. Take a deep breath and enjoy...

Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain. 
~ Henry David Thoreau

I've noticed that while hiking lately, my focus has shifted from the large trees dominating the scenery and spanning the sky overhead instead to the small, delicate plants growing alongside the trail and covering the forest floor. I used to ignore most of the other vegetation while allowing those mighty trees to command my attention, but ever since my early-spring trillium hunt that required intense scrutiny of the forest floor, I've found that there are many beautiful and interesting sights right at my feet.

This past Memorial Day weekend, I was lucky enough to hit the trails twice: Saturday at Saint Edward State Park and Monday at the Redmond Watershed Preserve. These are my go-to places when I'm in need of some nature experiences! Here are some of the tiny, beautiful things I found blooming, leafing, and greening on those damp forest floors...

I love the row of leafy starbursts in the center of this photo from Saint Edward State Park - Lainey Piland photo
A Herb Robert Geranium leans against a mossy bigleaf maple at Saint Edward State Park - Lainey Piland photo
Broad-Leaved Starflower at the Redmond Watershed Preserve - Lainey Piland photo
I'm pretty sure this is Miner's Lettuce. Redmond Watershed Preserve - Lainey Piland photo

The Washington Trails Association has a great article to help identify some of the most common plants found in Pacific Northwest forests. Check it out here, and be ready to look for these tiny, beautiful plants the next time you're out in nature!

There are plenty more photos to share, and I'm working on the follow-up to my Conifer Confusion article... stay tuned for that!

2 comments:

  1. Sweet! Yes, those low undercover plants can't be overlooked. I grew up surrounded by and playing in lowland western Oregon forests with many of these plants. I was saddened to return and see English Ivy has obliterated many of the former native plants. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks for reading, Jill! There really are so many beautiful plants growing in the forest... I find more of them the closer I look, and am trying to learn the names as I go. I agree, it is very discouraging to see so many areas taken over by invasive species. There's a trail at St Edward State Park that is covered in English ivy for a stretch, and it always saddens me to think of the diverse native plants that are no longer growing there.

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