A Goose Rock Botanical Tour

Goose Rock Trailhead at North Beach

There are more than trees in an old growth forest.  Much more.  The diversity of plant life is uncountable.  Let's take a hike around Goose Rock in Deception Pass State Park and see if there are any interesting native plants.  My favorite place to start is the trailhead at the North Beach parking lot.  My route will be the Discovery, Southwest Summit, Lower Forest, Goose Rock Perimeter, and Southeast Summit Trails.  I'll return via the Southwest Summit and Discovery Trails.  This is a route I have dubbed the "Rhododendron Trail."  There will be more about that in future posts.  Click or right-click the photos here to view them full size.

Red Elderberry
Stinging Nettle

Step Moss
Western Sword Fern

Clockwise from upper left:  Red Elderberry (Sambucus racemosa), Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica),  Western Sword Fern (Polystichum munitum),  Step Moss (Hylocomium splendens).

Western Starflower
Bracket Fungi

Pacific Rhododendron
Red-flowering Currant

Clockwise from upper left:  Western Starflower (Trientalis latifolia), Bracket Fungus (Formitopsis pinicola ??), Red-flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum), Pacific Rhododendron (R. macrophyllum).

Coralroot Orchid
Saskatoon a.k.a. Serviceberry

Left to right:  Spotted Coralroot Orchid (Corallorhiza maculata), Western Serviceberry, Saskatoon (Amelanchier alnifolia).

Pacific Madrona
Queen's Cup Lily

Goose Rock Terrain
Miner's Lettuce

Clockwise from upper left:  Pacific Madrona (Arbutus menziesii), Queen's Cup Lily (Clintonia uniflora), Miner's Lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata), Moss growing on stone provides a footing for grasses and other plants.

Death Camas
Death Camas

Left and right:  Death Camas (Toxicoscordion venenosum, Zigadenus venenosus).  Don't eat the bulbs.

Spring Gold
Harsh Paintbrush

Left to right:  Spring Gold (Lomatium utriculatum). Harsh Paintbrush (Castilleja hispida).

Left and right:  Naked Broomrape (Orobanche uniflora).  Interesting little parasitic plant, terrible name.

Common Camas
Chocolate Lily

Left to right:  Common Camas (Camassia quamash), Chocolate Lily (Fritillaria affinis, Fritillaria lanceolata).

Field Chickweed
Kinnikinnick (Dying?)

Left to right:  Field Chickweed (Cerastium arvense), Kinnikinnick, Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) appears to be dying at the summit of Goose Rock.  Its cousin the Madrona will do also this, but usually recovers with new leaf growth.  I'll be curious to see if this Kinnikinnick will recover.  The emerald carpet it created was very beautiful.

Stinging Nettle

Left to right:  Fringecup (Tellima grandiflora), Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica).


Foamflower (Tiarella trifoliata).  By June, the stalks of tiny flowers will be so dense, it will look like bands of mist drifting along trail edges.

That's a sample of early April in the forests of the Rhododendron Trail.  I will be visiting the Goose Rock Rhododendron grove several times during late April and early May to photograph the blooming.  If you would like to join me, send me an email.  We usually meet around 08:30 a.m. in the North Beach parking lot in Deception Pass State Park.  Weekdays are preferred, since the park is usually crowded on weekends.  The entire loop is about 2.25 miles (3.6 km) of mostly easy hiking.  The summit trails are moderately steep with switchbacks, but they're not extremely difficult.  We always set a leisurely pace suitable for exploring and study.  Allow 2-3 hours.

I use the Washington Wildflowers app extensively for identification and nomenclature.  There are also versions for several other western states.  If you enjoy identifying our native plants, I highly recommend this indispensable tool.