For months I’ve been sighting these beautiful flowers along the high ridges above our desert lakes and up high on mountain passes. Never knowing what they were called but yearning to snag a bunch from the nearest hill side I could.
You’re looking at Wyethia Mollis, commonly known as Mountain Mule Ear or Woolly Mules Ear. She’s a broad leaf perennial herb indigenous to high desert climates, most commonly in California. A little fun fact says “they aren’t native to central Oregon” but the more southeastern parts of Oregon, remember how I said ‘what little info IS available.’ Well take that Google!!! We’re changing that right now.
So yes, they are in fact native to Central Oregon. Occurring in higher elevated regions with rockier soil. For you locals out there, you can find these blooms near Green Ridge outside Sisters, on the steep ridges above Lake Billy Chinook, and dispersed among the roadside hear the top of Mt. Hoods pass.
Take care when attempting to transplant as you’ll likely do more harm to the plant than good. These old gals can grow tap roots up to 10 feet deep or more! So the chances you’ll get a viable transplant is slim to none. Your best bet is to harvest drying blooms before the birds and the wind away with all the tiny seeds inside. I did this in mid to late May this spring.
Currently I’m waiting for them all to dry out and separate from the crispy blooms. Once I gather them all I’ll be sure to update y’all. I have literally no clue want to do with the seeds. Maybe a little more research and I can learn what’s best.
Peace and Love,