April 17, 2017 | By Jackie Luskey | No Comments

Wildflowers in Greater Portland

As the saying goes, April showers bring May flowers. And those flowers will be wild ones at that. One of the benefits of Oregon’s lingering winter weather this year is that it may create a more elongated wildflower season. When researching where to find wildflowers in greater Portland, the online research can feel far from wild and free. Let us help with our wildflower guide, as well as a deep dive into the specific wildflowers you can see at Cooper Mountain Nature Park this spring.

Spring is in bloom at the Cooper Mountain Nature Park, which overlooks the picturesque Tualatin Valley.

Cooper Mountain Nature Park

Golden paintbrush: Best viewed in May
It is easy to spot these wildflowers as their name was aptly chosen. Since the 1990s, golden paintbrush flowers have been listed as a threatened botanical species. Oregon parks, such as Cooper Mountain Nature Park, thus reintroduced the flowers to the Willamette Valley’s lush soils. It is a joy to see the golden paintbrushes thriving at the park.

Oregon sunshine: Best viewed in May and June
As the literal sun peeks out in May, so does the Oregon sunshine flowers. Native to the Willamette Valley, this perennial favorite is known for its furry gray-green leaves contrasting with its cheery yellow flowers. Follow the butterflies to these wildflowers—the fluttering creatures love Oregon sunshine.

Oregon iris: Best viewed in May and June
While irises are often a gardener’s favorite, the wild versions are a true delight to spot on a hike. Seven types of irises are native to Oregon and—as irises can cross-pollinate—you may be able to spot beautiful hybrid irises on the Cooper Mountain trails.

White rock larkspur: Best viewed in June
As white rock larkspur flowers like dry areas, it makes sense that they tend to make a late appearance in the lineup of Oregon wildflowers. The dainty flowers are well worth the wait, though, with white petals and a royal purple center.

After your nature jaunt, take a short drive from the Cooper Mountain Nature Park to the Cooper Mountain Vineyards tasting room. Beyond great wines, you’ll also feel in touch with nature as the winery employs a biodynamic winemaking process.

Wildflower date information from Oregon Metro. Flower information from Portland Nursery.

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