This rare yellow flower is the golden paintbrush, or Castilleja levisecta. It is native to Washington and listed as “threatened” under the federal Endangered Species Act and “endangered” by the state. Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark captured this image of the flowers while visiting the Rocky Prairie NAP late this spring. This beautiful species is closely monitored by DNR’s Natural Heritage Program.
The blue flower growing next to the paintbrush is the blue or common camas, Camassia quamash. This native plant was once extremely common in Washington State, and though it is not considered rare yet, it primarily occurs in areas that have fewer disturbances and retain some natural condition. DNR’s Natural Areas Program protects areas like Rocky Prairie NAP that contain rare or unique examples of undisturbed native habitat.
Rocky Prarie NAP and other preserves provide a unique environment for endangered species to thrive free from the disturbance they face in other habitats. The invasion of the golden paintbrush’s habitat by both native and non-native plant competitors, and the pressures of an ever-increasing human population have made this plant one of Washington’s most endangered species.
Due to the sensitivity of the rare plants protected at this small natural area, Rocky Prairie NAP is used by DNR for research and is open to the public for guided environmental education group visits and for approved research projects. In addition, DNR relies on volunteers to help us care for natural area sites such as Rocky Prairie. Learn more about DNR’s Natural Areas Program here.
|Follow DNR on:|