Meadow death camas has a single stem, eight to twenty inches tall, with long four to twelve inch grass-like leaves at its base. At first the flowers form a rather dense pyramidal cluster. Later the cluster becomes more elongate and the individual flowers more widely spaced. The flowers can be white, cream-colored, or pale yellow.
The brodiaea or wild hyacinth has a cluster of pale to dark blue, tubular flowers with six wavy lobes or “petals” atop a single spindly stem. These stems can grow twelve to eighteen inches tall from a bulb, with one or two grass-like leaves nearly as long as the stem.
Salsify produces multiple stems one to three feet tall that when torn emit a milky sap. The leaves are long and very narrow. Each branch produces one flower head. The daisy-like yellow flowers open early in the morning and often close by late afternoon. The longer the days the more likely it is to flower.
Tall tumblemustard is a plant with many branches growing from a single stem and a stout taproot. It is initially a low-growing rosette of basal leaves, but later becomes tall and lanky in appearance, growing up to five feet in height. The round stems are light green and mostly smooth, except for widely scattered white hairs.
Western groundsel is a fairly tall plant (eight to twenty-eight inches) with a single upright stem and large, smooth-edged leaves. Although daisy-like, groundsels appear flat-topped with several to numerous small, yellow heads borne near the tips of equal-height branches.
Russian thistle, also known as tumbleweed, is a dense intricately-branched plant forming a round bushy clump one to three feet tall. Stems and branches vary in color from green to red, often with darker stripes. It has many rigid and spine-tipped, narrow, fleshy leaves and bracts, which are soft when young but become dry and brittle with age.
Showy and widespread throughout the ColumbiaBasin, the sagebrush buttercup is one of spring’s first arrivals, often blooming in February.
Columbia goldenweed is one of the last blooming wildflowers in our foothills, followed only by snow buckwheat, rabbitbrush, and tall buckwheat.
Widespread throughout the Sage Hills, long-leaf phlox presents a brilliant display of condensed pink or white flowers. The predominant flower color is pink but may vary to blue, lilac-purple, or white. The flower is distinctively five-lobed.
The name “white-leaf” refers to the silky-white hairiness of the leaves of this phacelia. Dense short hairs lend the plants an overall grayish-green color. The plant grows up to twenty inches tall. Roughly the upper half of the plant consists of branched flowering coiled clusters.