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The Hills Are Alive!

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Yesterday the dogs and I hiked the new Homestead Trail at the Horse Lake Preserve. Beautiful weather, great views, and gorgeous flowers.

While I was in southern Idaho a fellow botanist asked if one of the photos from a Celebrating Wildflowers brochure was photoshopped because of the prolific flowers in the photo (much like the photo above). You know you have been in southern Idaho for too long if you have to ask that. Even though this is an old cattle ranch- some pastures are good and some not so good- luckily Central Washington has NEVER reached the state of ecological degradation from cattle that Idaho just takes for granted. We have our fruit trees and irrigation systems partially to thank for that, as they have provided income for people that might have had to turn to ranching otherwise.

Arrowleaf balsamroot, Balsamorhiza sagittata, steals the show with its bright flowers coloring the hillsides. Another common flower in the foothills and local endemic to Central Washington is sagebrush stickseed, Hackelia diffusa var. arida. Hackelia's are also commonly called forget-me-nots. The reason they are called stickseed is because the seeds, when ripe, sticks to fur and clothes because of the tiny barbed appendages on the seeds. This is one of the ways that some plants spread their seeds far and wide, by hitchhiking a ride on someone else.