Wildflowers on Upper Table (Southwest Oregon) 13-Apr-2021

Vernal pools and wildflowers flourish briefly each year on the flat summits of the Table Rocks, two extremely popular local hiking areas. We missed seeing the ponds and flowers last year because of Big V-driven closures. This year we visited Upper Table in February and Lower Table in March, just in time to see the vernal pools form. We promised to come back for the wildflowers, particularly the Dwarf Meadowfoams, subspecies of which are found only here. Yet we kept letting another visit slide. But the rains came late this year and left early and the drought rolled on and temperatures were “above normal” and the vernal pools withered. It suddenly dawned on us that we going to miss the meadowfoams yet again! The LovedOne was busy but I pushed off a Zoom meeting to make an early morning pilgrimage to the top of Upper Table.

The snowy Red Buttes over the now dry top of Upper Table

Despite the early hour, the parking lot at the trailhead wasn’t empty. But I had the trail to myself as I scurried to the top. The vernal pools, which had looked so lush just a month ago, were now all gone. But I pushed on to the one spot where Dwarf Meadowfoams are usually present. And lo, an exuberance of almost flowering meadowfoams crowded the rims of where the pools had been!

Dwarf Meadowfoam I
Dwarf Meadowfoam II
Dwarf Meadowfoam III
Dwarf Meadowfoam IV

Having successfully completed Operation Meadowfoam, I still had time to look around for some of the other wildflowers that populate the Rocks at this time of year. Despite the drought and dryness, it was good to find more than a few of the usual suspects in full bloom.

Pacific Madrone
Checker Lily
Blue Dicks
Buckbrush has pretty, fragrant flowers (but is a nightmare to hike through)
Smallflower Woodland Star
Western Buttercup
Great Hound’s Tongue
Scarlett Fritillary
Giant Blue-Eyed Mary
Narrowleaf Mule’s Ears
Siskiyou Onion
Miniature Lupine
Poverty Clover
Fiddleneck
Great Camas
Fringe Pods (Thysanocarpus sp.)
Tolmie’s Mariposa (Cat’s-ears) Lily

No hike at the Table Rocks would be complete without mentioning their most prominent and irritating resident plant – Toxicodendron (poison oak). Judging from all the fresh sprouts and leaves popping out along the trail, it’s going to be a banner year for this species. Time to stock up on Tecnu. 🙄

So pretty, so unpleasant… 😥
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2 comments

  1. Oh, I’m glad you didn’t miss the wildflowers on Table Rock! You saw (and beautifully photographed) a wonderful variety.

    Like

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