Scientific name: Frasera speciosa
FACTS: This tall plant surprisingly often goes unnoticed in shady woods of the Blue Mountains. It is found from moderate to high elevations east of the Cascades, throughout the western United States. It is now blooming at moderate elevations.
Mature plants send up a single stalk about four feet tall or higher. The leaves are somewhat narrow and grow in whorls around the stem, which is not very common. The flowers are also uncommon, having four petals that are greenish-colored with purple speckles. They are a little less than two inches wide, and are attached where the leaf joins the stem. The result is that the flowers are also whorled around the stem.
From a distance, this plant can easily be confused with False Hellebore, which also has a single stalk about four to five feet tall. However, it has very broad leaves that overlap each other on the stem, and a dense panicle of small white flowers at the top of the stem.
Where to find: Keep an eye out for this plant in shady moist forests. When you spot it, be sure to take a close look, as the entire plant is quite unusual.