Coastal Rain Ecosystem
Jerry Gorsline leaning on a Sitka Spruce at Lake Ozette. Photographed by Clay Antieau. Copyright 2004. All rights reserved.
Moss-draped trees and forest floors are the essence of the coastal rain forest where rainfall often exceeds 140 inches annually. Here trees are of truly massive size. The world’s largest living spruce, the Queets Sitka Spruce is found in Washington’s coastal rain forest along with several other close contenders for the title. Some of the world’s largest Douglas fir, western red cedar, western hemlock and other magnificent firs occur in Washington’s coastal rain forest. While everything seems draped and bedded in moss, big-leaf maples and vine maples are common hosts to a plethora of epiphytes (plants which grow on plants) including mosses, lichens, and even little ferns like the licorice fern.
For more information on the Olympic Rain Forest please go to www.nps.gov/olym/naturescience/temperate-rain-forests.htm.