In the Pink with Columbia Desert Parsley

Columbia Desert Parsley blossoms

Columbia Desert Parsley blossoms

Columbia Desert Parsley, Lomatium columbianum, blooms early in the Columbia Gorge. Today, the first day of spring, it was at “early peak” along Washington Rt. 14 between Bingen and Dallesport.

This is one of those plants that is very common in those places where it grows, yet it has a very limited distribution. It’s prolific on both sides of the Columbia River in the area I visited today, essentially at the mouth of the Klickitat River.

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Groundcover = Weed?

I got a phone call this morning from a lady down around Olympia who had come across my wildflowers website. She hadn’t found a plant on the site that she’d found in the backyard of her home and asked if she could send me a JPEG to identify it for her before she took a weed eater to it. I get these requests pretty frequently, but usually by e-mail, so I said “yes” and she sent a file while we were still on the phone.

It only took a glance to know that her mystery plant was the very common garden groundcover, Vinca minor. The common name is periwinkle. It’s a plant I learned as a small child because my dad had it in our garden. It’s native to southern Switzerland and south to the Mediterranean. Continue reading