Rubus parviflorus “Thimbleberry” Rosaceae

Tacoma, WA
May 2013
Robert Niese

Thimbleberry is an abundant edible berry found throughout forests in the west. They tend to grow best in disturbed areas such as roadsides, landslides, and clear cuts.

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Cicindela oregona "Western Tiger Beetle" Carabidae

Olympic National Park, WA
June 6, 2013
Robert Niese

Look for these awesome predators on sandy river banks west of the Cascades. They are lightning fast and voracious hunters, but that doesn’t detract from the beauty of their iridescent exoskeleton!

Moneses uniflora “Single-delight” Ericaceae

Olympic National Park, WA
June 1, 2013
Robert Niese

This unique Ericad is found in moist coniferous forests across the northern hemisphere and is the sole member of its genus. It truly is delightful!

Cladonia sp. “Pixie Cup Lichen”

Olympic National Park, WA
June 6, 2013
Robert Niese

This easily recognizable lichen genus is one of my favorites. The tall cup-like structures for which the group is named are actually modified structures that release spores. Other members of the genus, such as Cladonia cristatella, the British Soldier Lichens, produce a bright red cap on each tall stem instead of a shallow cup.

Chrysolina hyperici “St. Johnswort Beetle” Chrysomelidae

Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA
May 2013
Robert Niese

In the late 1940s these beetles were introduced to California to control the spread of the weed St. Johnswort (Hypericum perforatum). The introduction of the beetles was so successful that the state erected a monument commemorating their success in Eureka, CA.

Oemleria cerasiformis “Indian Plum” Rosaceae

Tacoma, WA
May 2013
Robert Niese

Oemleria is a PNW endemic and is one of the first plants to leaf-out and bloom in spring. Later in the summer Oemleria will begin to bear ripe fruits which are purple with a large pit, giving them the name Indian Plums. These fruits here were unripe and tasted bitter and chalky. I should have waited for them to turn purple!