Future state park yields another wildflower view

Collomia grandiflora

Scientific name: Collomia grandiflora

This is the second article prompted by my visit to the site of the future Cottonwood Canyon State Park about 20 miles north of Condon.

Over the next few years, portions of it will begin to open to the public along a seven-mile wild and scenic stretch of the John Day River. The state is taking deliberate steps, including local residents, to evaluate, plan, and create a park to provide recreation opportunities while protecting the natural and archeological resources on the site.

I need to thank Jim Morgan, Natural Resources Manager for the State Parks and Recreation Department, who patiently stopped his vehicle several times during my visit while I hopped out to photograph plants along the way. One of these was the Collomia pictured here.

Collomia grandiflora grows in scattered locations throughout much of western North America. It has a single stem about a foot tall with no branches, narrow lance-shaped leaves, and a single cluster of salmon-colored, trumpet-shaped flowers about an inch long at the top.

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This species of Collomia was used by one of the Northwest Indian tribes for medicinal purposes.

Most scientific names for plants give clues to their appearance. Grandiflora, meaning large flower is a good example. The name Collomia, however, doesn't help much. It comes from a Greek word for glue, referring to the sticky quality of the tiny seeds when they are wet.

Where to find: This plant can be found in open areas anywhere from sagebrush hillsides of canyons at low elevations to open woods over 4,000 feet up in the Blue Mountains. As the summer progresses, it will be blooming at the higher elevations. I've never found it by looking for it, it simply shows up, usually as a single plant, when you least expect it. The salmon-colored flowers make it easy to identify.

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