Dicentra formosa

Oregon bleeding heart is a widespread lush, long blooming perennial wildflower for moist conditions in shade to full sun. A somewhat rambunctious plant that spreads quickly by stolons. Do not plant it near shy or small plants that can become swamped. It tolerates quite a bit of shade and if in full sun it thrives with supplemental water and a massive flower display. Divided soft green foliage is very good looking, in April-July a continuous supply of rose colored downward pointing clumps of flowers on an 18″ spike. The foliage rises on average to half that height. Responds vigorously to amended soils and regular irrigation. In hot dry situations it will go quickly summer dormant. In the shade with water leaves persist to autumn and re-bloom  occurs. Not bothered by pests, including deer and snails and slugs. Frequently found in shady ditches in the Willamette Valley. Winter deciduous, if not already summer drought deciduous. An easy to grow, self sufficient perennial for wild areas. Mix with other vigorous and scaled plants. Very easy to grow.  Oregon native plant

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Dicentra formosa var. oregana ‘Langtrees’

Excellent form of our native bleeding heart that is an incredibly long blooming perennial for gardens. Remarkable blue foliage is beautiful if it never produced 1′ spikes of clear white pendant flowers. Blooms begin in spring and with regular summer water in rich soil continue throughout summer. Shade to full sun (with regular water). Forms widely spreading colonies. Give it room to spread. This tough, adaptable plant handles any soil situation from perpetually moist to quite dry. Resistant to pests- that includes slugs and snails as well as deer. (They will briefly browse it before ditching it for better things- it recovers quickly). Completely winter deciduous. Oregon native plant.

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Dichelostemma congestum

OOKOW. The common name for this wonderful native bulb. A naked lily closely related to Brodiaea. Also, referred to as cluster lily though that isn’t even remotely as fun to say as OOKOW. Stems to 22″ tall support 6 to 15  showy purple flowers clustered at the stem tip. Dry sunny hillsides in clay soils to meadows throughout western Oregon.  Its native range goes a bit to the north into Washington and south to central California. This happy bulb spreads to form colonies in time. It will also spread by seed. An integral part of Willamette Valley meadows. Excellent cut flower that lasts a week in a vase. Water to establish when planting from containers. In subsequent years it will rely only on what falls from the sky. in habitat it can be found with native clumping grasses such as Koeleria and Festuca roemeri var. roemeri. Sisyrinchium idahoense is a frequent associate. The flowers do not nod on the stems as other closely related species  Smalll grassy foliage appears in early spring and disappears cleanly following bloom. Adapted to heavy clay soils that are wet for 6 months of the year that dries in summer. Full sun. Loved by Hummingbirds and butterflies.  Native to the Portland city limits.   Oregon native plant.

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Dichelostemma ida-maia

Firecracker flower. This bulb is native from southern Lane County in west central Oregon south into California. Its an easy to grow showy bulb that performs very well in gardens. It should be grown more often. I first saw this plant in the wild near Elkton, Oregon. I was driving by not very slowly and I saw a flash of red in front of a fence. i went back to investigate and found this plant in full bloom. In its habitat it occupies dry sunny slopes that face south. Soil is loam to clay but all of them dry completely in summer. Blooms mid- to late spring for an extended length of time for a bulb. A handful of scrappy leaves forms a rosette . And the blooms extend to about 18″ tall. They are not always straight and can wind, vinelike around and through other plants. The red buds reflex when open to reveal a yellow interior. I’ve had many hummingbirds visit mine. Let it go completely dry in summer- in fact it excels in wild environments and competes very well with weeds. Leaves disappear quickly after bloom. Increases over time. Deer resistant. Oregon native plant.

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Dodecatheon hendersonii flowers

Dodecatheon hendersonii

Henderson’s shooting star or more appropriately foothill shooting star. Thats where you see them in meadows and glens usually underneath or near Oregon white oaks. Common composition of the flora seen with this plant are giant baby blue eyes Nemophila m. ‘atomaria’., Ranunculus occidentalis – western buttercup as well as  Lithophragma- Prairie Stars. Rubbery near round leaves emerge in mid winter and persist as rosettes for months until real heat pushes them into sleep. The charming flowers rise up to 14″ on tall straight stems. The nodding flowers gives away its familial association with Cyclamen and Primrose and reflexed magenta purple petals shoot straight up. The interior of the flower is a spike decorated like a single cake with a red brick a brack design  if you look closely. Great cut flower and where ever  you throw the spent flowers they will still ripen and set seed and quickly a new patch will be created. Full sun to part shade in clay soils that dry in summer.  No water once established. They quickly go dormant and disappear to escape summer heat and dry. Relatively easy native wildflower to grow. Deer resistant. Native from northern California north to  SW British Columbia.  Found throughout the western half of the state. This wildflower made extensive colonies around my childhood home near Eugene. It always bloomed around my birthday and over the years I built up huge colonies. It was so charming with Erythronium oreganum- Oregon fawn lily- they grew side by side.  In  our ‘backyard’ there were huge colonies of native Dodecatheon. I would pick bouquets of them from the backyard and when the flowers were spent I would chuck them off the front deck into the woods. Over time I realized they were still setting viable seed as we had a huge population in the front in a few years, .  Blooms late March to early May. Oregon native plant. 

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Downingia elegans

Calico flower is a widespread showy annual of vernally wet sites throughout our region.  A low spreading plant that rises up in bloom to reveal shovel shaped blue and white flowers. They closely resemble annual Lobelia (Lobelia erinus) to which it is closely related. Blooms appear from Mid May to early August. Rich soil with regular summer water. Downingia is native to areas that are often submerged in winter. And in the garden it appreciates ample water. Full sun and resists competition from other plants. Very good in rain gardens. One potted plant will expand to 2′ with rising showy flowers. Loved by pollinators of all kinds. Excellent container plant. You can simply remove it when it has completed its life cycle- replace with warm season annuals. A food source for the endangered Willamette Valley endemic Fendler’s Blue Butterfly. Leave established plants in place once they have died to distribute seed for the following year in the ground.  Oregon native plant

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Epilobium densiflorum

Spike primrose is a quiet but important long season hardy annual. It rises up to 2′ tall when happy. A dense thick spike of buds rises and the small pink flowers decorate the spike in a circle. Loved by pollinators and especially popular with butterflies. This drought adapted annual blooms from July to October. Mix with other hardy native annuals. Especially nice with Madia elegans as their bloom period are the same. Full sun in virtually any soil. Water in potted plants well and you will likely see seedlings in open disturbed sites in the spring. The seedlings of this Epilobium mimic several more weedy types (they are native but kind of rambunctious). This plant is never showy but its a primary nectar source for late in the summer. Very easy, climate adapted native hardy annual. Native in the Portland city limits. Found primarily in stable meadows on both sides of the Cascades.  Oregon native plant.

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Erigeron speciosus

Showy daisy- though that is far too vague for this tough and graceful wildflower. Native in separate parts of the state this summer blooming perennial inhabits meadows and fields of the Willamette Valley. Rows of very fine soft pink petals surround a green/yellow center on 18″ stems June-August. The pretty daisies come in a group and then appear sporadically until frost. Loved by pollinators this is an authentic component of Willamette Valley meadows. Average to enriched soil with regular water to establish, in subsequent years it can survive on rainfall alone. Plant with  Prunella vulgaris var, lanceolata,  and Erigeron glaucus for a midsummer blooming native vignette. Long lived low maintenance perennial that goes completely deciduous. Widespread in the northwestern states of the US. Our version is from seed native to the Willamette Valley. Loved by butterflies and even good beetles. Clump expands to 2′ wide in time. Not bothered by deer. Simple, tough, wonderful native perennial. Full sun. Oregon native plant.

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Eriogonum umbellatum

Our native Sulphur Buckwheat that is among the best for general garden culture in our climate. This ubiquitous creeping plant of alpine areas of Oregon celebrates spring with umbels of (sulphur) yellow flowers on long stalks. The low and spreading rosette of leaves are thick green on top with silver indumentum on the reverse. Full sun in fast draining conditions- ideally rock garden conditions because that is where you find it. Crevasses between rocks is where it lives. This is easily reenacted in your garden at the top of a porous rock wall. Blooms May-July for an extended time. The flowers go through a fascinating metamorphosis in color as they open, reach their peak of hot yellow and then turn to russet/red  seed heads. These abandon the spike through autumn and spent flower spikes may be removed in winter. Water until you see the rosettes actively increasing. Then taper to once in a while. This species has a total of 13 (!) subspecies in Oregon alone. We have yet to delve into specific subspecies but if we did I would look for Eriogonum umbellatum var. modocensis and Eriogonum umbellatum var. umbellatum. Both are endemic to Mary’s Peak the tallest point in the Coast Range (4097′). So, I know that those (with immaculate drainage) can easily cope with higher rainfall. Rock garden staple and can also self sow in happy places. Very fun, sunny, satisfying native to grow. Associated plants in habitat are Prunella vulgaris var. lanceolata and Achillea millefolium, Sedum oreganum, Castilleja minuta and Penstemon cardwelii. Excellently adapted to gravel, crevice, gardens with an arid aesthetic. Amend the soil as for Agaves and it will thrive. Pronounced  Air-e-OG-oh-num. Rosettes to 3″ tall, blooming stems to 1′ tall. Spreads, give it room. Oregon native plant.

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Eriophyllum lanatum

Oregon Sunshine is the cheery common name that greets this widespread native perennial. Silvery gray intricate foliage forms a spreading mat. In late spring and early summer brilliant golden yellow daisy flowers spangle 10″ stems. Loved by pollinators and we’ve been impressed with its draw to butterflies as well. To 2′ across and excellent on slopes where water never lingers. Add compost and this perennial will soar- give it room in that case.In the wild its a frequent of road cuts and other disturbed sites. It also competes admirably with exotic invasive weeds and will persist where other natives are swamped. Rock gardens, dry borders. Water to establish- the first season- but never boggy. The following year it will rely only on what falls from the sky. Full sun to light shade. Adapts to poor soils. Moderate deer resistance. Goes quickly dormant following bloom. Native to the Portland city limits. Very good planted beneath Pinus ponderosa var. benthamiana Pacific Ponderosa Pine this pair can frequently be found in the wild. Oregon native plant. 

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