Central Washington Chapter
The area is probably best known for its spring floral display in the shrub-steppe, and rightly so, since it is often spectacular. But with an elevation range of 12,000 feet, from the sandy shores of the Columbia River to the perpetual snow of Mt. Adams, with coniferous forests in between, a large variety of plant communities may be found. In addition to the dry side plants, many wet side species spill over the Cascade crest into the moist valleys at high elevations. Nearly 1500 vascular plant species have been found in Kittitas and Yakima Counties, making it a great area to look for flowers.
Arrowleaf-balsamroot photographed by James Ellingboe.
Central Washington Chapter is one of the charter chapters of the Washington Native Plant Society, and originally served most of the center of the state. Because of the long distances involved in attending chapter activities, other chapters were formed to the north and south; now the area covered by the chapter is essentially just Yakima and Kittitas counties.
Programs are offered the first Monday of the month, October through March. These may be at either the Yakima Arboretum, 1401 Arboretum Drive, Yakima or at Hal Holmes Community Center, 207 N. Ruby in Ellensburg. From March through September, there are no meetings, only field trips at least every other week. The majority of the trips are in Yakima or Kittitas County, but over time there have been field trips to most of the adjacent counties. Carpooling is encouraged. Newsletters containing program and field trip details are mailed out in March, June, September and December.
Read the current newsletter, The Sagebrush Sentinel, for information on what's ahead.
Dr. James will discuss how the Pearl Bordered Fritillary Butterfly is dependent on a specific plant species, the Northern Bog Violet (Viola nephrophylla). This plant was growing in Moxee Bog in the past and prompted The Nature Conservancy to acquire the grazed property and establish the Moxee Bog Preserve back in 1966. The site was fenced after acquisition and since then, successional plant development on the site may have extirpated the plant and the butterfly. Plant and butterfly surveys will need to be done, and depending on what is found, management of the site may need to be altered.