Thursday, April 4, 2013

Grass Widows, Yellow Bells and a Turtle

On our recent trip across the state to see our handicapped son, we went for an evening drive and near the town of Medical Lake, Washington, found a field full of Grass Widows, Olsynium douglasii, mixed with some Yellow Bells, Fritillaria pudica, and some Sagebrush Buttercups, Ranunculus glaberrimus.  We stopped to take pictures especially of the Grass Widows.  We found them in every shade of lavender but also found a few white flowered forms as well as one plant with bi-colored flowers.

Grass Widows


Sagebrush Buttercup

Yellow Bell

The next morning, after a meeting, we left for home and on our way from Medical Lake to Interstate 90 saw a turtle crossing a rather busy road.  We stopped to rescue him and to take pictures and found later that he was a Painted Turtle, Chrysemys picta, certainly a fitting name for such a beautiful creature.  It's too bad, however, that most of his beautiful coloring is on the underside of his shell.  After we had gotten the pictures we wanted we left him at the edge of a nearby pond.


  1. Oh wow! Those grass widows look beautiful. A little bit like our grass lilies, but more colorful. That patch in 2758 is quite the sight.
    We have a relative to those "yellow bells" in Germany. They are called checkerboard flowers (Fritillaria meleagris) and we have the biggest biotope in my home state Hesse, with over 5 million plants. A wonderful place when they bloom around May 1st.
    As for the turtle: it made me giggle. I would love to see them.
    Thanks for sharing such wonderful pictures.
    Also thanks for your offer on showing me the fairy slipper. I will most probably come back to that. ;)
    If there is a species, I can help you with (Liparis springs to my mind), I can guide you to biotopes in Holland or southern Germany and show you plenty of those, if you ever make it here.

    1. The Grass Widows used to be classified as Sisyrinchium. They are in the Iris family and are perhaps related to your Grass Lilies.
      The Fritillaria is one of seven species we have here in our area, one of which we call the Checker Lily. They are quite common in some areas, but 5 million plants is amazing.
      If we are ever in Holland or Germany we would love to have you as a guide.


      this is what it looks like - the > 5 million plants however are on a huge meadow, stretching over a few km, following the Sinn river in eastern Hesse. I am not aware of other Fritillariae in our country tho. There are several species of that genus in southern Europe tho.

    3. Lovely thing, Martin. This is our most common Fritillary and the one called the Checker Lily: It blooms in the spring and should be flowering before the end of the month and is the only Fritillary that grows west of the mountains (where we live). The others grow in the drier areas to the east of the mountains and several are found only in serpentine areas in southern Oregon.

  2. Thanks for the turtle rescue.

    I have biosurvey saturday morning but perhaps sunday needs another check-in with Washington Park.

    I need to get over to the far side and check out the scablands.

    1. We will probably get to Washington Park next week, but want to get back to the Scablands, too. That was an amazing hike at Ancient Lakes. Nance, too, is already talking about hiking there again. Orchid show in Shoreline this weekend.


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