Wildflower of the Week #28 - Gumweed for glue
Showy yellow sunflowers, but with sticky gum you probably don’t want to try to chew.
Oregon Gum Plant or Beach Gumweed, Grindelia stricta var. stricta
Back in the coastal salt marsh, and if you’ve sought and found Jaumea carnosa (last week’s Wildflower of the Week) you will probably have no problem finding the much, more showy Beach Gumweed.
It’s called “Gumweed” due to sticky white substance that is produced on the flower buds, that then coats the green, ½ inch high, involucral bracts, below the blooming yellow flowers, with a sticky, shiny varnish.
The generic name Grindelia is in honor of David Hieronymus Grindel (1776-1836), a Latvian botanist. The species epithet, stricta refers to this varieties’ upright, erect growth habit.
Beach Gumweed is found along tidal flats, marshes, and sandy seabluffs from northern California to Alaska. In Oregon, it is found as far south as Coos Bay and then along many other Oregon bays and estuaries further north. This species begins blooming in late June, and one can often still find a few flowers around through late September.
While there were a variety of medicinal uses of this and other species of Grindelia, as used historically by various Native American tribes, the only reference I could find for our coastal variety of Grindilia was by the Pomo Indians of northern California, that used the sticky secretions of this plant as (no surprise) for a glue.
Bottom photo by Sue Parsons.