Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Elk Rock Island

This past weekend, my walking friends and I took a little hike...to an island.

Most of the year, Elk Rock is a true island, but this time of year when the water is low there's a land bridge from the east side of the Willamette River across to the island. I had only stared at it from the Bishop's Close gardens on the west side of the river, and I assumed you had to have a boat to get there. Luckily, one of our party knew better.

There was a surprising wealth of wildflowers in bloom where we crossed, maybe because the land is wet so much of the year there.

This is Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium). The small leaves looked like thyme, but their spicy, pungent scent was mint on steroids.
Oenothera - Evening Primrose. There were lots of tall stalks of these beautiful flowers. They seemed unfazed by the aphids all over their stems.

The ubiquitous Queen Anne's Lace.

A few ripening blackberries looked almost ready.

The large daisies might not be true wildflowers, but they appeared to have naturalized.
Once onto the island we found native Mahonia and Quercus...

...an aster-like flower (possibly Aster radulinus a.k.a. Rough-leaved Aster)...
...and a wonderful view downriver from the top of the rock.

The US Geodetic Survey has been here - at least twice.

It was the perfect place to bask in the early-September sun.

More Oenothera and Yarrow Tansy (thank you, Grace) on the way back across.

Last, here's a pretty flower I couldn't find in my wildflower book. It looks a little like a verbascum. Anyone know what it is?

There's some Portland history associated with this place. If you're interested in knowing more, here's a link to Portland Parks & Recreation's Elk Rock Island page.


  1. Both the flower and the seed heads make me think Verbascum. Could that yellow button flower actually be Tansy instead of Yarrow?

    I would have eaten those blackberries. What a fun trip! Thanks for taking us along to see the wildflowers.

    1. I think you're right about the tansy, Grace. And I would have tasted the blackberries, but they were growing very low and there were lots of dogs...y'know?

    2. I have lots of that Verbascum in yellow and also white with pink markings. I've seen it called V. chaixii but also V.blattaria (moth mullion) which surely suits the white one.

  2. You look like a happy group...and why not?

    1. It was a beautiful morning, Ricki. Can't miss with sun in Portland, I think!

  3. Looks like a fun outing! Looking out from the Bishop's Close I've always wondered what it was like over there. Sometimes you can see people fishing off the rocks which looks like a very pleasant way to spend a day.

    1. Yes, I thought it looked enticing from the west bank. But an island always invites, right?


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