Written and Photographed by Phil Green, Yellow Island Steward
Early May saw the rapid disappearance of camas across the island but even as the camas was fading new species were blooming across the meadows and rocky balds.
Oregon sunshine, aka wooly sunflower, (Eriophyllum lanatum) finally came into its own after a couple false starts in mid March and mid April. There are now large patches of what may be the brightest yellow flower Yellow Island has to offer.
Broadleaf stonecrop (Sedum spathulifolium) is about tied with the Eriophyllum for brightest yellow flower. My absolute favorite place on the island is the rocky area atop Hummingbird Hill that is covered with frilly reindeer lichen that forms a nice bed for the stonecrop. The combination of colors and textures cannot be beat.
A third bright yellow flower is Puget Sound gumweed. It appears across the meadows and rocky outcrops but is particularly thick on the south side of Hummingbird Hill.
Three non-yellow species that occur individually or in small groups are California broomrape (Orobanche californica), Hooker’s onion (Allium acuminatum) and harvest Brodiaea (Brodiaea coronaria). These cheery spots of color brighten an otherwise meadow that is rapidly turning to brown.
When all these species start fading, there are at least three species that have will bloom in June into July. Can you name them?