Celebrate Native Plant Appreciation Month

Katherine Darrow
Special to The Leader
Posted 4/1/20

On Jan. 8, nearly two months prior to declaring a State of Emergency in Washington, Gov. Inslee signed and sealed another official proclamation to designate April 2020 as Native Plant Appreciation Month.

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Celebrate Native Plant Appreciation Month

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On Jan. 8, nearly two months prior to declaring a State of Emergency in Washington, Gov. Inslee signed and sealed another official proclamation to designate April 2020 as Native Plant Appreciation Month.

“Appreciating, enjoying and celebrating our floral diversity” are encouraged by the proclamation, which includes seven “Whereas” statements summarizing the importance of native plants to our economic and ecological well-being.

April has arrived. Unfortunately, dozens of guided walks and other events planned by the Washington Native Plant Society all over that state have been canceled under stringent orders to not congregate.

The governor does specify in the March 23 “Stay at Home-Stay Healthy” prohibitions that “engaging in outdoor exercise” is an essential activity, so people can sneak in a little native plant appreciation while they’re at it.

Here in Port Townsend, people have many opportunities to walk or bike to natural areas where native plants flourish. Many oneed not leave home at all since the dominant native plants, Douglas firs, grace most horizons. And, it’s true, the strong, soft fibers of many trees, including Douglas fir, western hemlock, alder and cottonwood are the primary ingredients in most paper, including the most essential kind, toilet paper. Getting outside and seeing beyond the trees, however, will greatly increase your enjoyment and contribute to your health, mentally and physically.

Here are a few hot spots to check out this week:

Point Wilson: The public can’t drive onto Fort Worden right now, but it’s an easy walk or bike ride out to Point Wilson beach, where bright blue-eyed Mary is blooming along sandy trails between the campground and the shoreline. Take a deep breath and appreciate the oxygen produced by all the green algae in the sea, which includes some of our tiniest single-celled plants.

Kah Tai Prairie Preserve: Follow the signs for Chetzemoka Trail to the golf course parking lot where hot-pink Douglas’ grasswidow, which is actually a kind of tiny wild iris, can be seen. These are also bright yellow flowers of biscuitroot, also known as spring gold. In another month, this meadow will be filled with blue camas lilies.

Quimper Wildlife Corridor: Also known as Cappy’s Trails, the 4-mile long corridor links wetlands lush with alder, aspen, cottonwoods and willows, winding through Douglas fir and western red cedar forest. Look for the first hot-pink salmonberry blossoms and elegant white Indian plum flowers blooming along the trail. Bright green mosses are at their best this time of year, and are some of the most abundant plants in our forests.

More information about native plants can be found on-line at the Washington Native Plant Society website: wnps.org.

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