balsamroot flower
Hedgehog Cactus with pink flowers
                        Hedgehog cactus by Keyna Bugner

Central Washington Chapter

The Central Washington area is probably best known for its spring floral display in the shrub-steppe, and rightly so, since it is often spectacular. The elevation range is vast at 12,000 feet, ranging from the sandy shores of the Columbia River to the perpetual snow of Mt. Adams, with coniferous forests in between, so there is a large variety of plant communities may be found. In addition to the plants that grow on the dry-side, there are many western Washington species that spill over the Cascade crest into the moist valleys at high elevations. There are about 1500 vascular plant species that have been found in Kittitas and Yakima Counties, making it a great area to look for flowers.

Central Washington Chapter is one of the charter chapters of the Washington Native Plant Society, and originally served most of the center of the state. Because of the long distances involved in attending chapter activities, other chapters were formed to the north and south; and now the area covered by the chapter is essentially Yakima and Kittitas counties.

Programs are offered the first Monday of the month, October through March. These may be at either the Yakima Arboretum, 1401 Arboretum Drive, Yakima or at Hal Holmes Community Center, 207 N. Ruby in Ellensburg. In the warmer months, March through September, meetings are replaced with field trips, about every other week. The majority of the trips are in Yakima or Kittitas County, but sometimes include adjacent counties. Carpooling is encouraged. Newsletters containing program and field trip details are mailed out to current chapter members in March, June, September and December.