Spokane Signature Plants

Arrowleaf Balsamroot: A.K.A.: Bigroot & Big Sunflower is a large plant, one to two foot tall, with flowers two to four inches across. In the Spring the Balsamroot turns entire hillsides yellow. This plant's roots are sometimes used as an alternative to Echinacea.
Bearberry or Kinnickinick or Indian Tobacco or Uva-Ursi or Manzanita is a low-growing, evergreen shrub commonly used as an ornamental plant or hedging in gardens. It has small, oval, dark green leaves that have a thick, leathery feel and a smooth edge all around. The white, waxy flowers bloom from May to June in clusters and the berries ripen in autumn becoming a bright red. (1) Because bearberry is a common garden plant, it is often overlooked as a powerful and prized medicinal herb for Astringent, antibacterial, or hemostatic. Native Americans used Bearberry or Kinnickinick alone or as a major ingredient mixed with other herbs for smoking. 
Beargrass is a beautiful blooming in the late spring especially at about 5,000 feet around Mt Spokane. The grass part lasts through summer and then dies out to start over in the spring. See Mt Kit Carson
Common Camas consists of a stout stem arising 20 to 70 cm from a large bulb. The ovoid bulb may be 2 to 5 cm long and 1 to 2.5 cm wide. The leaves are primarily basal, and are about half as long as the height of the stem, and may be 8 to 25 mm wide. They are linear in shape with parallel venation.

Common Camas was a valuable food source for the native peoples of the Pacific Northwest. The root may be eaten raw although common practice was to grind it to a pulp and then bake cakes that could be stored into winter. Today, its importance is as meadow wildflower in gardens. It is expecially effective grown in dense drifts. It self seeds readily, and care must be taken not to accidentally weed out the seedlings. Several years must pass before the seedlings are ready to flower, which is the case for most members of the lily family.


  INDIAN PAINTBRUSH, common name applied to annual, biennial, and perennial herbs constituting the genus Castilleja, of the family Scrophulariaceae.  The genus, which contains about 200 species, is native to the cooler portions of North and Central America and Asia, and to the Andes. Because Indian paintbrushes, also called painted cups, are parasitic on the roots of other plants, they have not been naturalized and have rarely been cultivated away from their native habitat. The plants have long, hairy, unbranched stems with alternate leaves. The uppermost leaves, or bracts, are brilliantly colored and much showier than the inconspicuous interspersed flowers. The flowers, which are borne in spikes, have a two-lobed calyx, a two-lobed corolla, four stamens, and a solitary pistil. The corolla, which is usually yellow, is encased within the calyx, and is usually indiscernible. The fruit is a two-celled capsule. The common painted cup, C. linariaefolia, is the state flower of Wyoming. The calyx is greenish white, but the bracts are intense vermilion. The scarlet paintbrush, C. coccinea, is a common wild plant of the eastern U.S. The common Indian paintbrush, C. septentrionalis, is a hardy herb found in Canada and in the mountainous regions of the northern U.S. from New England to the Rocky Mountains; its calyx is greenish white tinted with purplish red.