P90310KIf California is the most excellent state in the entire Unites States of America and surrounding Universe, and Oklahoma is the second most excellent, then Oregon might be number . . . hmmm . . . fourteen or fifteen . . . or maybe like twenty or something. However, in MY (very important) opinion, Oregon is like the third most excellent state, and almost ties with Oklahoma! That makes it even slightly more excellent than Pennsylvania, Vermont and Arizona! Yes, it is THAT excellent!
Even the state tree of Oregon is excellent. It is the Douglas fir, pseudotsuga menziesii. That is like the second most excellent of the state trees, right after the coastal redwood of California. If California did not claim the coastal redwood as the state tree, Oregon is the only other state that can claim it as a native, since the native range of coastal redwood extends ever so slightly into the very southwest corner of Oregon.
There was a time when redwood was the main timber tree here, but that was only because it was the most readily available. As the supply was depleted, it was reserved for fences, decks, structural lumber that is in contact with concrete foundations, or any other situation in which its innate resistance to decay was important. Douglas fir became the most common lumber, and is still what homes are built from now.
Besides all that, Douglas fir is one of the grandest of trees in North America.
Then there is the state flower of Oregon. Well, it is not so much to brag about, although it is still better than the state flower of Oklahoma, which happens to be mistletoe. (Okay, that is another subject for later.)
Oregon grape, Mahonia aquifolium, blooms late in winter with these bright golden yellow, but otherwise unimpressive flowers. The few small black berries that develop over summer are mostly taken by birds before anyone notices. The glossy and prickly dark green foliage is quite appealing, and happens to do well in partial shade, but this is the state flower, not the state foliage.


9 thoughts on “Oregon

    1. It seems like not to long ago, only California took the native specie so seriously. I was surprised that there is actually an Arkansas Native plant Society. (I would expect that it would be more regional among a few states than by state.) Oregon has some interesting junipers, although I still am not clear on which ones actually live there.


  1. What a gorgeous photo of the mahonia flowers. I love that plant. It’s marginally hardy for us and takes quite a beating this time of year from frost burn. Suffice it to say, it never looks like that!

    As for mistletoe as a state flower, my sister tells me that there’s hardly any left in Oklahoma. She says that they knock it off all the trees. I guess that’s what happens when you choose a parasitic plant for your state flower. Go figure.


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    1. Gads; that mahonia looks rather badly. If yours looks worse, well, that would not be good.
      The mistletoe here all died out mysteriously last year. https://tonytomeo.com/2017/09/24/where-has-all-the-mistletoe-gone/ https://tonytomeo.com/2017/12/20/mistletoe-un-update/ I still do not know what happened to it. It is only now beginning to regenerate.
      The California poppy is increasingly scarce here. It used to be very abundant, and covered the lower foothills south of the Santa Clara Valley. Not only is it being crowded out by invasive exotic specie, but it is being neglected by the natural pollinators that are distracted by exotic specie (and trendy ‘pollinator gardens’).


  2. Of all the states you would find interesting, I must admit Oklahoma surprised me. We lived in the midwest for the majority of our adult lives, passing through Oklahoma frequently, and I never found anything that really called to me, well except the loud sirens alerting me to tornadoes.

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    1. I do not get out much, but it surprises me to see what other people find to be interesting. I will never understand the allure of Los Angeles. It is fun and all, but there is so much else out there that gets ignores.

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