Native Plants in the Pacific Northwest Forest

The Pacific Northwest forest is filled with a diversity of life. Trees, shrubs, vines and flowers complete a yearly growth cycle in warm summers, wet falls, chilly winters and windy springs. The forests are full of conifers and deciduous trees. The soil is rich in organic decaying materials like logs and foliage. The Pacific Northwest forest is actually a rainforest with plenty of rainfall each year.

Nootka Rose

Nootka rose (Rosa nutkana) is a wild rose bush growing 3 to 6 feet tall in thorny thickets. This deciduous shrub produces leaves that are made up of five to nine leaflets. The rose blossoms are deep pink petals surrounding a yellow center. These fragrant blooms appear in the late spring and summer. Bright red rose hips form after the flowers fade away.

Pacific Bleeding Heart

Pacific bleeding heart (Dicentra Formosa) is a perennial flower growing 2 feet high and spreading 2 feet wide. These clumps blossom in April to May with deep pink, heart-shaped flowers hanging down from long arching stems looming over feathery green leaves. Pacific bleeding heart attracts hummingbirds, butterflies and birds.

Pacific Dogwood

Pacific dogwoods (Cornus nuttallii) are trees growing 12 to 36 feet tall. The oval leaves are 3 to 5 inches long and create a dramatic background to the large white flowers that are sometimes tinted with pink. These flowers form clusters on the ends of branches in the middle of spring until summer. The bark of a pacific dogwood is thin and smooth to the touch. These trees are found in Pacific Northwest forests at elevations of 3,000 to 6,000 feet along streams.

Salmonberry

Salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis) bushes have compound leaves made up of three leaflets. These green leaves are oval and 1 to 3 inches long. The 1 1/2 inch flowers are bright pink to dark red and bloom in late spring through early summer. Salmonberry fruit are yellow and red berries that look similar to raspberries. These edible berries are protected by thorny stems. Most salmonberry bushes grow 3 to 10 feet tall and form dense hedges.

Western Redcedar

Western redcedar (Thuja plicata) is an evergreen tree that grows naturally in a pyramid shape. This tree reaches 50 to 70 feet tall and 25 feet wide. The branches are fernlike and glossy, dark green. Small, oval cones start out green and turn brown as they mature. The bark shreds in fibrous reddish-brown strips.

Keywords: Pacific Northwest forest, forest plants, Pacific Northwest native plants

About this Author

Karen Carter has spent the last three years working as a technology specialist in the public school system. This position included hardware/software installation, customer support, and writing training manuals. She also spent four years as a newspaper editor/reporter at the Willapa Harbor Herald.