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Western False Asphodel

Western False Asphodel, Tofieldia glutinosa

Newly opened Western False Asphodel blooming, photographer Brian Kent

The Western False Asphodel is a common flower of the higher elevation bogs and marshes around the Darrington area.  It will begin to bloom in early July and later in higher elevations as snow melts.  By September most of the plants have seeded or will be going to seed.

Western False Asphodel in full bloom, photographer Brian Kent

"Glutinosa" or glutinous refers to the sticky stem of this plant to discourage non-aerial insects from pollinating it.  This plant grows like clumps of grass with Iris like leaves and flower spikes like white pom-poms born on stems reaching about 16 to 18 inches high. This flower grows in a broad range from southern Alaska, the Olympic Peninsula to the west, Cascade Mountain Range and to the south growing in the Siskiyous Mountain Range.

Western False Asphodel going to seed, photographer Brian Kent

From a distance this flower looks like a white puff on a stem, closer inspection reveals a cluster of tiny white flowers. The flower buds start off a greenish color and as they open intensify to a bright white with stamens reaching beyond the petals.  As the seeds form it will turn a purple-brown color.