Thursday, September 27, 2012

Weekly Recommendations, Week 39: Darlingtonia State Natural Site

Driving along the Oregon Coast on Highway 101, beautiful sights, awesome views, and totally worthwhile stops abound. One in particular that I highly recommend is Darlingtonia State Natural Site, which I was fortunate enough to visit on a recent trip to the coast. It's a location just north of Florence on the way to Newport, and honestly if you blink you'll miss it. It's a small site, so it's a brief stop, but it's totally worth it because it is home to a remarkable carnivorous plant called the cobra lily (also known as Darlingtonia). While this plant may be rare, the view you'll get upon visiting will not give you that impression. A short pathway will lead you from the parking lot to an opening in the forest canopy where you will find hundreds (if not thousands) of cobra lilies growing in a marshy area.  Check out what Wikipedia has to say about it, and if you're ever in the area, definitely don't miss it.

Darlingtonia State Natural Site (18 acres) is a state park and botanical preserve located five miles (8 km) north of Florence, Oregon, United States on U.S. Route 101, just west of Mercer Lake and south of Sutton Lake that is dedicated to the preservation of a rare plant.
Darlingtonia californica is a carnivorous plant, commonly known as the cobra lily, which traps insects in its hollow tubular leaves, whose top is flared into a hollow dome with a forked "tongue" that gives the species its common name. In late spring, they bear purple and yellow flowers that rise above the green cobra-like leaves. Darlingtonia are found only in wet meadows and bogs with acid soils low in nitrogen. The rare, strangely-shaped plant is the only member of the pitcher plant family Sarraceniaceae in Oregon.
The park has a short loop trail through a peat bog area overlooking patches of Darlingtonia. It is the only Oregon state park dedicated to the protection of a single plant species.

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