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June 2, 2010 / Greg Vaughn

Rhody season

Pacific Rhododendron flower

Rhododendron blossom, Cascade Mountains, Oregon

It’s rhododendron season in the Pacific Northwest. Depending on location and elevation, these beautiful evergreen shrubs bloom from April through June in the western regions of northern California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. There are several species and many varieties of rhodies grown as garden ornamentals, but only the Pacific Rhododendron (R. macrophyllum) grows in the wild.

One of the best known places to see and photograph these wonderful flowers is in the California Redwoods, but they’re also prolific in Oregon’s Coast Range and on the western slopes of the Cascade Mountains in Oregon and Washington.  A couple of other great places to find them are around the town of Rhododendron on the way to Mount Hood, and at the Rhododendron Species Garden just south of Seattle (the Pacific Rhododendron is the State Flower of Washington).

The photo above was taken along the McKenzie River Trail in the Willamette National Forest about 60 miles east of Eugene, Oregon. The MRT is a wonderful place to hike just about any time of year, but especially in Spring when wildflowers line the trail and the understory of the old-growth Douglas-fir forest is lush and vibrant green.

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