I wanted to invite you to participate in our first ever Wild Rivers Land Trust Photography Contest!
We are thrilled to be working with some local property owners and some of our local photo friends like you, to create an all new program of photographing wildlife along the southern Oregon coast. There are so many possibilities for this and we are hoping you can be our charter group to pave the way!
Hope to hear back from you soon! Feel free to pass this along to some of your other serious photo friends. I should also mention that we have only five properties available so there will be a limit to the number of photographers for this first year.
The Pacific Coast area has only one native azalea which is famous not only for its fragrance and beauty, but also as being very difficult to grow.
Unlike our native rhododendron R. macrophyllum, R. occidentale is considered to be an azalea or azaleadendron. Both plants have a tendency to grow in thickets and become fairly tall. Unlike R. macrophyllum, R. occidentale is a deciduous azaleadendron and drops all of its leaves in the winter.
Colorful and fragrant blooms
The fantastic, often fragrant blooms, appear when the leaves emerge. Imagine 6-12 five multicolored florets clustered into trusses measuring up to 5-6 inches wide covering a large shrub.
These florets typically flaunt white, orange, yellow, pink or red, with flares, stripes, blotches, and frilly lobes that are deliciously fragrant.
The flower and plant diversity reach a peak in the southern Oregon/northern California region spawning creating several unusual, recognized natural selections. This plant is also unusual because it will grow in serpentine soils (which are more base in pH). They are often used for southern coast restoration projects.
R. occidentale was used to develop fragrance and diversity in many other deciduous hybrid azaleas (such as Exbury hybrids). To see or smell a local example on campus check the southwest corner of Nash; southeast of Gilkey Hall at intersection of sidewalks in late April and May.
Where to look
Look for plants growing on the hillsides along Highway 101 from Newport to southern California. Fragrance will also give their locations away.
While it easily grows here, it will not on the East Coast. No one quite understands why it will not grow well there, especially since the bulk of native azealeas grow there.
Brookings, just north of this area in Oregon, features an annual Azalea festival. Check out occidentale at the Brookings City Park May 22-25, 2020. The festival includes many activities such as art shows, plant sales, seafood feeds, cruise ins, breweries, much and more! (see http://azaleafestivalbrookings.com/ )
The evergreen huckleberry is a one of many evergreen shrubs native to Pacific coastal forests.
Huckleberries were first noted by Captain Lewis at Oregon’s Fort Clatsop in 1806. The plant was brought into cultivation by David Douglas in 1826.
This shrub can grow to 12 feet or more in the shade, sometimes a bit erratic growth spikes. It, like other berries in the vaccinium family, like acidic soil. The huckleberry tolerates salt spray and strong winds.
In the spring, branches are covered with clusters of small, pinkish-white bell-shaped flowers which yield tiny blue-black fruit in late summer.
Flowers attract bees, birds, and butterflies. Berries are eaten by songbirds, mammals, and humans.
Like its most well-known relative, the common blueberry, huckleberries contain high concentrations of antioxidants and were favored by native populations.
Today, they are frequently eaten raw and used to make pies, jams, jellies, syrups, and wine.
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Associate Professor - Tourism and Business Development
College of Business
Oregon State University Extension - Oregon Sea Grant
Office: Bandon, Oregon