I was fortunate last week to join Ed Alverson of The Nature Conservancy and Tanya Harvey (and her husband Jim), author of the in-development Mountain Plants of the Western Cascades of Oregon and Where to Find Them on a hike in the Table Rock Wilderness (southeast of Portland, Oregon). I was keen to see the species featured today, Enemion hallii. Tanya had seen it in the area previously, which she detailed on her weblog, Plants and Places: Rock-hopping at Table Rock Wilderness. Given that most plants have had late flowering dates this year in our bioregion and given that the plants of Enemion hallii were well in-bloom on July 22 of last year, we thought we’d be certain of finding Enemion hallii in bloom on July 29. Not so. Hours of searching for plants in bloom at the same elevation Tanya encountered them last year were all for naught, though budding plants were found. Descending the mountain, several more local populations were newly encountered, but none of these were any further along. Finally, after cameras were put away and some of us were preparing to leave, the ever-tenacious Ed found 3 plants in bloom, within 75m of where the vehicles were parked. Tanya goes into more detail on the search in her weblog posting: The Quest for Enemion Flowers at Table Rock.
Unlike the diminutive Enemion stipitatum featured earlier this year, Enemion hallii (or Willamette rue-anemone) is a robust perennial, sometimes attaining 85cm or so in height. As the Flora of North America notes, it is a species of “moist woods and streambanks”, which is generally where we observed the populations, though the higher-elevation plants were growing in a north-facing talus slope, where the combination of shade and cool temperatures (and perhaps seeping water under the boulders?) provided sufficient conditions. I had never previously seen Oplopanax horridus growing amongst boulders, so I suspect cool, wet soil was available.