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Two outstanding natural places on the oregon coast
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Two outstanding natural places on the oregon coast


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Two new-to-me natural places on the Oregon coast with interesting native plants

Two new-to-me natural places on the Oregon coast with interesting native plants

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  • 1. Two Outstanding Natural Places on the Oregon Coast
    Linda R McMahan, Ph.D.
    Botanist and Horticulturist
    Oregon State University Extension Service
    Munson CreekFalls State Park
    Clay Meyers State Natural Area at Whalen Island
  • 2. Munson Creek Falls State Park, near Tillamook, Oregon
    Plants are my passion so I took advantage of a short vacation to visit these areas. If you share the love of plants and get to the Oregon Coast, consider visiting these two special places
    Salmonberry (Rubusspectabilis)
  • 3. Photo near the falls viewing platform
    Only one other visitor was at the park during the visit—a secluded and beautiful experience. The site is an important one for spawning salmon.
  • 4. Falls from the viewing platform
    I went to see the falls but was delighted by the wildflowers and luscious plant growth. The falls are the tallest in the Coast Range at 319 feet!
  • 5. An Oregon native corydalis (Corydalis scouleri)
    This water loving plant grows right along the short path to the falls, blooming in June. In a garden, any corydalis will need extra moisture to thrive.
  • 6. Corydalis scouleri
    The road to the falls is a little challenging and not for RV’s but cars are OK. The corydalis lines much of the creek.
  • 7. Lush vegetation abounds
    The trail is gentle, good for those who prefer a short hike
  • 8. Moss and lichens seem to drip off the trees, fed by the moisture
    Big leaf maple, Acer macrophyllum, in this temperate rainforest setting
  • 9. Yellow monkey-flower, Mimulusguttatus
    Yellow monkey-flower thrives in the moisture provided by high rainfall and mist from the fast-moving creek
  • 10. Lady fern, Athyriumfelix-femina
    Water-loving and deciduous-- early spring shows off unfurling fronds—can get 6-8 feet high in favorable conditions
  • 11. Piggy-back plant, Tolmiea menziesii
    Another moisture-loving Pacific Northwest native, also valued as a houseplant in hanging baskets!
  • 12. Corydalis foliage and sword fern, Polystichummunitum
    Unfurling foliage on ferns is a sign of spring in the Pacific Northwest
  • 13. Clay Meyers Natural Area at Whalen Island
    A coalition of county, state and private funds created this new natural area, just off Hwy 101 near Hebo, Oregon. Included is this near-pristine salt-water wetland.
    Lillian Parker Craft Wetland
  • 14. Secluded sand forest with native rhododendron
    Western rhododendron, Rhododendron macrophyllum, is one of only 3 native rhododendrons in Oregon. This large species grows in coastal areas and the Cascade Mountains
  • 15. Rhododendron flowers in full bloom in early June 2011
    Larger rhododendron flowers are shown with smaller bell-shaped flowers of evergreen huckleberry, Vaccinium ovatum. Such a beautiful sight!
  • 16. Evergreen huckleberry
    New foliage for this fine native evergreen shrub is reddish. It is one of our best for ornamental use and often available in nurseries specializing in native plants.
  • 17. Part of the trail follows the sinuous forms of sand lakes
    The Pacific Ocean is visible as a thin blue line in the upper left of the photograph
  • 18. The natural area plant communities grow on nearly pure sand. The area supports ground lichens, shore pine, Pinus contorta, and other species
    The green patch on the ground is a kind of lichen. It is easily disturbed by footprints—it looks like visitors are being careful and staying on the trail.
  • 19. Tiny young female cones of shore pine are open for pollination
    The cones will take more than a year to produce and release seeds. This photo is in June, and the seeds will be mature in September of the following year.
  • 20. Trees have their own rich lichen communities
    Look carefully and you can see three different kinds of lichens, two are whitish and one is orange
  • 21. Parasitic on roots of pine, these tiny plants called “pinesap” emerge above ground to flower and reproduce each year
    Pinesap and similar plants can be important food sources for wild animals and insects, part of the complex forest ecosystem
  • 22. Pacific myrtle, Myricacalifornica,
    Myrtle, known for the beautiful bowls and other carvings made from the wood, is also found in the dunes community and makes a fine evergreen ornamental shrub or small tree
  • 23. Kinnickinnick, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
    Kinnickinnick forms a groundcover in drier parts of the sand forest
  • 24. False lily-of-the-valley, Maianthemumdilitatum
    Wetter sites support this moisture-loving groundcover
  • 25. A wild rose signals the end of the trail
    Rosa species
  • 26. Thank you!
    I hope you have enjoyed this short presentation. All photographs are © by the author. You may use photographs and other material for educational purposes. For permission to use for commercial purposes, please contact the author at