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Wildflower of the Week - Fallen Stars

Oregon White-topped Aster, Aster [Sericocarpus] oregonensis

As late summer begins to advance into fall, one of the most commonly seen wildflowers of the season is the late-blooming Aster. Members of the Sunflower Family, Asteraceae, the Greek word “aster” means “star” in reference to its supposedly star-like flowers.

Wildflower of the Week - a plant with no name

Lilaeopsis occidentalis

Lilaeopsis occidentalis, otherwise known as Western Lilaeopsis, has no special common name - as the common observer may never see its delicately arranged, tiny flowers, or give it much notice at all. Thus, while little noticed or appreciated, I considered it to be a special nymph of streams and other wetland places, where I always greet its unexpected discovery with special warmth and delight!

Mushroom of the Week - an artist's palette

Artist’s Conk, Gandoderma applanatum

Superficially, the Artist’s Conk looks much like last week’s featured bracket fungus species: the Red-belted Conk, Fomitopsis pinicola.  The Artist’s Conk is perhaps only second in abundance to the Red-belt Conk, and has a similar grey, brown to black upper cap surface.

Mushroom of the Week - 'Conked' out

Red-Belted Conk, Fomitopsis (Fomes) pinicola

When the weather turns cold, wet, and even snowy, there is one group of fungi that can always still be found attached to branches and trunks in our Northwest woods.  These are the Polypores—so named for the multitude of tiny pores that release spores from their generally smooth appearing under surfaces.

Rendezvous Reflections

Written by a participant in the 2011, Oregon Wild Wolf Rendezvous:

Last weekend, I was privileged to be able to take a journey to northeastern Oregon, where the first wolf pack to return to Oregon resides.  It is an area of great beauty, bounded by the majestic Wallowa Mountains and bordered by the amazing Zumwalt Prairie.  It is also an area of great controversy and contention, an area in which the main enterprise is cattle ranching, and in which many of the cattle ranchers are rabidly anti-wolf.

Hiking with wolves

I’ve spent a lot of time in wolf country and even more time advocating for wildlife in offices and meeting rooms. Still, I’ve never seen an adult wolf in the wild before. With only 21 wolves (now 20) in the state, not many Oregonians have. In fact, as our friend – photographer Joe Whittle pointed out, as far as we know, no one outside of ODFW has taken a picture of an Oregon wolf.

Finding Common Ground

The rural-urban divide may be as real in Oregon as anywhere in the United States, and the existence of native predators like wolves, cougars, and bears is just one of many potential flashpoints. Portland’s Forest Park may not be wild enough for wolves, moose, and cowboys. Enterprise may not be big enough for the Blazers, ballet, and hipsters. Still, Oregon is big enough for all of those things, and whether hunter or hippy, some things do unite us all – or should.

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