A Small Selection of Northwest Native Plants

Tweedy’s Lewisia   (Photo courtesy of J. Waling)

Blooming in early June, the color of this Lewisia is like a tropical sunset, with its warm pinks and yellows.  It’s found only in the Wenatchee Mountains of Washington, growing on the dry, rocky slopes among the Ponderosa Pines.  It grows 4-8 inches high and prefers full sun and sharply drained soil.  For a bit of Tweedyi Trivia, the seeds have a honey scent to attract ants and ensure a good dispersal.  For a comprehensive study of this plant, see Paghat’s Garden for more information.

“Who would have thought it possible that a tiny little flower could preoccupy a person so completely that there simply wasn’t room for any other thought.”          -Sophie Scholl  (1921-1943)

Piggy-Back Plant
Tolmiea menziesii

The Piggy-Back plant, or Tolmiea menziesii, enchanted me the first time I laid eyes on it.  I saw it, as well as Indian Pipe, on a short hike at Tiger Mountain, near Issaquah, Washington.  It grows in low to middle elevations in moist forests, glades and stream banks and is easy to spot with the unusual growth of new leaves coming from buds at the base of the leaf blade.  So cute!  It is commonly sold as a house plant and the variegated form, Taff”s Gold, is common in the nursery trade.  Another great plant for the shade garden!

Indian Pipe

A ghostly un-plant, this oddball has no chlorophyll and draws it’s nutrients from it’s fungi-root connection with coniferous trees.  An interesting adaptation to growing in the shade.  Just join up with a really, really tall tree who can see the sun.

5 thoughts on “A Small Selection of Northwest Native Plants

  1. I know and love the Lewisia, but the other two are new to me – both remarkable! The piggy-back plant is lovely – I shall keep my eye out for one as a houseplant. The Indian pipes are amazing! I have never seen anything like them! Thanks for sharing! 😀

  2. Lewisia…sadly, a NW Native that just isn’t native enough for me to have. So very pretty! I keep looking for Indian Pipe, but haven’t found any yet. Lucky you!

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