Kalmiopsis fragrans from the North Umpqua

The rare Kalmiopsis fragrans found only on the North and South Umpqua River drainage, will be the subject of a presentation at the Glide Wildflower Show this Saturday,

Rare and unusual plants will be the focus of this year’s Glide Wildflower Show on Saturday and Sunday at the Glide Community Center.

It’s the 54th year of the event that organizers say the event that draws many from out of the area, who come and see the large display and learn about the plants, flowers, shrubs and trees and even noxious weeds from southwest Oregon.

Dianne Muscarello of the Glide Wildflower Show council said the show usually brings in about 2,000 people to the Glide area over the two days, and many of those are from out of the county.

“We get a lot from the Eugene area,” she said. “Many plan their weekend to come to the show and then go hiking up the river.”

The presentations will feature some rare plants that are only found in the Umpqua region, but the exhibits will have hundred of other specimens that are harvested from around southwest Oregon.

“There will be between 600 and 700 plants this year, and each year there are different plants that you’ve never seen before,” Muscarello said.

The show will have an abundance of flowers, but also mosses, ferns, grasses, and even trees.

Dan Luoma, an assistant professor in the Senior Research Dept. of Forest Ecosystems and Society at Oregon State University, is a Roseburg High graduate and has been coming to the show since 1978. He’ll give a talk on the shrub Kalmiopsis, which is similar to a rhododendron plant. But it is extremely rare, so none of them will be harvested and brought to the show so it’s a presentation with pictures of the scarce shrub.

“It occurs in a handful of locations up the North Umpqua and more recently some were found on the South Umpqua and that’s it, in the entire world,” Luoma said.

One of the main objectives for the wildflower show is educational outreach, to introduce people who are new to the area, to what’s out in the wild in southwest Oregon.

“It’s kind of transformative from seeing green things with flowers, to actually having a more personal connection when you can see them all there in this incredible wildflower show,” he said.

Richard Helliwell, a botanist with the U.S. Forest Service in Roseburg, helps collect plants in Jackson and Josephine County that will be on display. He will speak on the rare and unusual plants of the Umpqua National Forest.

“Part of the reason we do a presentation is that we don’t collect rare plants for the show, since we don’t want to make them any more at risk for extinction,” Helliwell said.

There will be information on noxious weeds, a talk on medicinal and edible plant use, a guided wildflower walk and even a presentation on Native Bees: the Forgotten Pollinators.

Muscarello says an army of volunteers get the community center ready, and collect the specimens from around the region.

“We have 12 different collecting teams and each team has three to five people that go out to various locations to collect plants,” Muscarello said.

The show starts with photographer’s hour from 8 to 9 a.m. Saturday, April 28. The show runs both days are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Suggested donation: $3. Information: glidewildflowershow.org

Reporter Dan Bain can be reached at 541-957-4221 or e-mail at dbain@nrtoday.com.

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Dan Bain is the health reporter for The News-Review. He previously worked at KPIC and 541 Radio.

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