Umpqua Valley Flower Fights for Survival

Aug 21, 2014

The Rough Popcorn flower loves the Umpqua Valley, the only place in the world where it grows. Discovered near Sutherlin, Ore., in 1887, the small, yellow-centered white flower that resembles buttery popcorn is fighting for survival today.

Loss of habitat has severely reduced its native range in the wet prairies along Sutherlin, Calapooya and Yoncalla creeks in northern Douglas County. Listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as endangered since 2000, the flower’s most aggressive competitor is the invasive teasel plant. In the William Oerding Popcorn Swale Nature Preserve north of Roseburg, the Nature Conservancy and volunteers pull or cut teasel plants every year.  The Conservancy received the 30-acre prairie from the Oerding Family in the early 1990s.   Coordinator Molly Morison said volunteers are making headway, pulling 407 teasal plants last year and only 142 this year. But birds and water bring in more seeds and every year volunteers return to attack the pesky teasel plants. Kathy Vejtasa, who has volunteered for 15 years, said, “I’ve seen it change a lot, and I have learned a lot about managing invasive species on our own property.” 

  Source: George, Christina. “ Teasel Tugging.” The News-Review 13 July 2014 (Roseburg OR): A2.