Symphyotrichum subspicatum-Douglas aster

Native Fall-blooming Asters

Symphyotrichum subspicatum-Douglas aster
Douglas aster (Symphyotrichum subspicatum)

The aster family of plants is a large, diverse plant family that includes species that range from common yarrow (Achillea millefolium) and Oregon sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum), to narrowleaf mule’s ears (Wyethia angustifolia). However, when you hear the word aster, you generally think of purple fall-blooming asters that used to be classified in the genus Aster.

Symphyotrichum foliaceum-Leafybract aster
Leafybract aster (Symphyotrichum foliaceum) and pollinating wasp

Up until the 1990s the genus Aster contained 600 species in Eurasia and North America. After morphological and molecular research all but one plant within the genus Aster in North America was reclassified as other related genera. There are now only 180 plants within the genus Aster, mostly confined to Eurasia. North American asters are now in genera such as Dieteria, Eucephalus, Eurybia, Heterotheca, Oreostemma, Sericocarpus, Symphyotrichum, etc. Although the name of the genera have changed, most common names still include the name aster, for example, Leafybract aster is now Symphyotrichum foliaceum.

Fall is the time to celebrate native asters!

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Landscaped native plant meadow in the Siskiyou Mountains

Native plants can be used in a wide variety of ways. Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds has provided native plant seeds for the following applications.

Native Plant Habitat Restoration

Whether our clients are looking for a small amount of seed for a small-scale native plant habitat restoration project, or many pounds of seed for a large-scale restoration project on their land or land they manage, Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds meets our clients’ needs. We have provided seed for many successful native seeding projects on private and public land.

Native Plant Grow-out and Nursery Production

We provide native plant seed to many native plant nurseries on the West Coast, as well as for our own small nursery in the Applegate Valley of southern Oregon. Growing native plants for large-scale habitat restoration and smaller garden applications gives our clients and customers a jump start on plant growth for their planting projects.

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It’s been a busy seed collection season!

Because of the world-class biodiversity of the Klamath-Siskiyou region and the wide variety of native plant species in the area, the timing of seed collection is also quite varied. In order to collect seeds from low elevations on up to high elevations, and early to late blooming species, our seed collection season generally starts in mid-May and ends in late October. We are currently at the height of the seed collection season.

This time of year we are out in the field many days a week collecting seeds — bear with us if we don’t return your email right away — and working hard to keep up with seed processing and cleaning on the days we aren’t in the field. We also have numerous habitat restoration projects and planting and design projects we are working on, plus growing native plants in our small native plant nursery. It’s a busy time of year!

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Oregon sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum)

Oregon Sunshine Shines

Oregon sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum)

Oregon sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum) is a known as a “workhorse species.” It germinates well from seed, establishes easy in soil with good drainage, is deer resistant, drought tolerant, and is an amazingly attractive pollinator plant. Oregon sunshine is an important part of many native planting or seeding projects. It performs well as a component of wildflower seed mixes for habitat restoration, as part of a backyard wildflower meadow, in rock gardens, or as a showpiece ornamental plant. Oregon sunshine’s easy-going versatility makes it a good choice for many applications. It attracts native bees, beetles, pollinating flies, moths, and butterflies. It is also a larval host plant for various butterfly species.

Bring a little sunshine into your life by planting Oregon sunshine!

Oregon sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum) in wildflower meadow

Hastingsia alba-White rushlily

Bumble bees love white rushlily (Hastingsia alba)!

Native to southern Oregon and northern California, white rushlily inhabits wet meadows, bogs, springs and rocky seeps. It easily adapts to the garden environment and will thrive in full sun to part-shade in an area that stays moist through early summer with good drainage. It can tolerate dry conditions in the later half of the summer. Bumble bees love white rushlily!

Irene Hollenbeck Memorial Wildflower Show
Irene Hollenbeck Memorial Wildflower Show
Setting up the 4th of July Irene Hollenbeck Memorial Wildflower Show.

Join the Siskiyou Chapter Native Plant Society of Oregon

 Irene Hollenbeck Memorial Wildflower Show

July 4, 10 am-4 pm

This Wildflower Show in Ashland features over 300 species of native flowers from the volcanic Cascades, the much older Siskiyous, and the valleys in between. Free admission. Location: Ashland Community Center, 59 Winburn Way (across from Lithia Park in Ashland). Coordinated by the Siskiyou Chapter, NPSO. Come meet some of our beautiful mountain flowers! The wildflower show is a great way to learn more about our local native plants. We are seeking volunteers to help with: flower collecting, show set-up, and plant identification on July 3rd; staffing the show on July 4th; and breaking down the show from 4 to 6 pm. Free pizza and beverages for those who help the evening of July 3rdFor more info contact Barb: or 541.890.2091.

4th of July Irene Hollenbeck Memorial Wildflower Show
Setting up the 4th of July Irene Hollenbeck Memorial Wildflower Show in Ashland.
Bigelow's sneezeweed (Helenium bigelovii)

Bigelow’s sneezeweed

Bigelow's sneezeweed (Helenium bigelovii)
A meadow of Bigelow’s sneezeweed (Helenium bigelovii)

Bigelow’s sneezeweed (Helenium bigelovii) is an easy-to-grow native plant for moist garden conditions in full sun.

Bigelow’s sneezweed is a fun, bright-yellow native wildflower that flowers in mid- to late-summer and is attractive to a wide variety of pollinators, including bees and butterflies. A common site in meadows, marshes and bogs, and along springs and streams at mid to high elevations in the Klamath-Siskiyou, Bigelow’s sneezeweed typically grows 2′-3′ tall with many flowering stalks. It prefers full sun but is tolerant of a wide variety of soil types as long as sufficient moisture is available.

Native to California and southwestern Oregon, Bigelow’s sneezeweed is a perennial wildflower that will add color and interest to your garden for many years. Bigelow’s sneezeweed is a common plant in high elevation moist meadows in the Klamath-Siskiyou mountains. It is a member of the aster (Asteraceae) family.

Bigelow’s sneezeweed is named after J.M. Bigelow, a plant collector on the United States and Mexican Boundary Survey in the 1850s. Don’t let the common name scare you! Despite the common name, sneezeweed, this wildflower is not allergenic. It was originally used by Native Americans as a snuff, hence the common name. Bigelow’s sneezeweed is very adaptable to the irrigated garden environment and flowers after dead-heading.

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Bumble bee on Oregon checkermallow

National Pollinator Week

Anise swallowtail butterfly

National Pollinator Week (June 18-24) is an important time to celebrate native pollinators and highlight the need for pollinator conservation for the benefit of intact native plant communities, ecological integrity and healthy ecosystems. Yes, pollinators are important for food and agriculture, but even more important, pollinators are the key to our natural world. Without pollinators, or even with diminished populations of pollinators, the makeup of plant life as we know it today would be drastically different. Pollinators sustain our ecosystems by helping plants reproduce. Pollinators are experiencing drastic declines throughout the world; many species have gone extinct and many more are in jeopardy. Everyone needs to do their part to help with pollinator conservation. Planting native plants is one of the best things you can do to help native pollinators. Make a commitment to GO NATIVE—GO WILD for National Pollinator Week!

From the Pollinator Partnership: “Somewhere between 75% and 95% of all flowering plants on the earth need help with pollination – they need pollinators. Pollinators provide pollination services to over 180,000 different plant species and more than 1200 crops. That means that 1 out of every three bites of food you eat is there because of pollinators. If we want to talk dollars and cents, pollinators add 217 billion dollars to the global economy. In addition to the food that we eat, pollinators support healthy ecosystems that clean the air, stabilize soils, protect from severe weather, and support other wildlife.”

Achyrachaena mollis - Blow wives
common lomatium/spring gold (Lomatium utriculatum)

Many early-blooming wildflowers have already begun to set seed. Here at Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds we are already collecting seeds of species like common lomatium/spring gold (Lomatium utriculatum), hound’s tongue (Cynoglossum grande), and blow wives (Achyrachaena mollis). Over the next few weeks many more early-blooming species, such as silver bush lupine, will have ripe seeds ready for early-season seed collection.

Lupinus albifrons - Silver bush lupine
Silver bush lupine (Lupinus albifrons) seed will be ripening within the next two weeks

From our recent collection of blow wives seed we now have a new species to offer in our inventory. See the plant description for blow wives below and purchases seeds by clicking SHOP.

Achyrachaena mollis - Blow wives
Blow wives (Achyrachaena mollis) flowers

Blow wives (Achyrachaena mollis)

One of the earliest wildflowers to bloom and set seed in the spring, blow wives are an integral part of low-elevation grasslands, sunny slopes and oak woodland habitat in the Klamath-Siskiyou region. Blow wives is the only plant in the genus Achyrachaena. It is an annual wildflower that blooms in April to early May and grows from 6″-1.3′ tall. Blow wives grows in sunny locations that dry out in the summer. It is a very drought tolerant species. The actual flowers are small and yellow and not very noticeable underneath the white scales (disk achenes) that are attached to the fruit that aid wind dispersal of the seed. The seeds develop quickly, opening into an attractive display that is sometimes mistaken for the flower itself. Blow wives are unusual in this regard, as they can be easily overlooked when in flower, but hard to miss when in seed. Blow wives do well in various soil types, including serpentine and clay. The name blow wives is used both singular and plural.

Blow Wives Seed Germination Instructions

No pretreatment necessary. Best germination will be achieved if planted outside in fall through early winter.

Achyrachaena mollis - Blow wives
Blow wives (Achyrachaena mollis) flowers and seed heads
Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds