swamp lanterns at Rockaway Cedar Preserve Hike


In 2019 a mile-long raised boardwalk was built over a small remnant of old-growth coastal bog right off of Highway 101 about 20 minutes north of us. Typical of many beautiful places in Oregon, signage is not conspicuous, and if you didn’t know it was there you’d never find the Rockaway Cedar Preserve Hike.


Had I known it was there last year, I could have experienced the luminous skunk cabbage spring bloom leisurely, up close and on foot, instead of craning to see the blooms whizzing by through the car window while passing by boggy roadsides with no turnout.


Western skunk cabbage aka swamp lanterns aka Lysichiton americanus, whose roots were roasted by native people, the enormous leaves used as baskets and food wraps, along with every part including sap utilized for all manner of medicinal uses. It is a big, strappy, charismatic, lusty aroid, a swamp dweller, beetle-pollinated, stridently blaring the imminence of longer, drier days ahead to the disbelieving. A fluorescent yellow exclamation mark to herald the end of winter. Huzzah!


It’s just the fecund, primordial experience needed while spring slowly stirs itself and sleepily gets up on its elbows…

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5 Responses to swamp lanterns at Rockaway Cedar Preserve Hike

  1. Elaine says:

    Beautiful. Like lanterns leading you into the forest. How nice to be able to get up close and personal too without worrying about damaging anything. The final photo of the tree trunk is gorgeous. A lot of history in there. Happy Easter.

  2. Kris P says:

    That’s VERY diffenent from anything you’d see down this way. Pretty as the swamp lanterns are, I was even more intrigued by the tree you shared in your last photo.

  3. I love these and know what you mean about staring as you zip by in the car. Luckily the last few times we’ve been at the beach I’ve found a pocket to admire up close. Hey, your comment about hidden places got me wondering if you know of this one:

  4. Denise says:

    @Elaine, that cedar is over 800 years old! The boardwalk encircles it at the end of the walk — a worthy destination!
    @Kris, the cedar is one of the oldest trees in Oregon, a gnarled majestic survivor!
    @Loree, I haven’t been to GBP yet — thanks for the reminder!

  5. Jerry says:

    It’s a beautiful species. I’ve successfully gotten one established in our creek and am hoping to pop in several more. We’ll see how they do in a rocky, gravelly creek bed with flowing water versus slower, marshy digs.

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