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Unexpected History

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Plants are unexpected. No one knows when they first appeared on earth. Green algae, the simplest plant, is believed to be the first plant to arrive. Flowers, a higher level plant, are known as spermatophta. Spermatophta means seed bearers.

Yet researchers have uncovered fossils which are believed to date back 480 million years ago. "Recently, scientists at Pennsylvania State University have suggested that land plants began 700 million years ago because of a molecular clock which provides for land fungi arriving 1.3 billion years ago." according to Hillary Mayell with National Geographic News. When the plants arrived, they changed the earth's climate. The earth became cooler.


Washington Unexpected History

Before Archibald Menzies, the naturalist, spied proliferations of colorful wild flowers dotting the shore of Discovery Bay, the first people, "Native Americans from Siberia ventured onto the Olympic Peninsula approximately 12,000 years ago. The Native Americans traveled via the Native American plank house Bering Sea land bridge," states Historylink.org. Their plank houses were buried in a mudslide around in time of Columbus.

Western Washington was evolving from lodgepole pine to alder and to Douglas fir. Later, western hemlock flourished. The Olympics, Puget Sound, and San Juans had oak and madrona. Eastern Washington saw spruce and pine forests with an increase in grasses and sagebrush.

More European explorers came to adventure. Peter Puget skirted fir clad inlets around the Tacoma area. There were bound to be settlers, curious, coming for opportunity of new life. When their sojourn entered into the plains of the Nisqually, they must have been amazed of the wafts of violets, strawberries and buttercups that donned the fields. In the wake of the plains was a tiny blue flower, camas that the Native Americans tended. They would mash up the bulb for food.

In 1847 Edmund Sylvester established the township of Olympia. Men from the Oregon Trail pushed up further along the inlets to find the adventure of Washington's treasures. Before 1857, round the lowlands of Mt. Rainier adventurers would travel stumbling upon trillium, Indian pipe, bishop's cup, lilies, anemones, Indian paint brush, heather, hellebore, lyall's lupine, and aster etched blazing echoes bursting of pinks, oranges, reds, and purples across the hills.

There were soldier outposts in Washington too in the 1850s. Captain Archer is reported in Bugles in the Valley Garnett's Fort Simcoe by H. Dean Guie that by "mid-April in that soft spring the oak grove was almost in full leaf and wild flowers of every hue decorated the country around. Riding on horseback, said Archer was "like riding through an immense flower garden." in south central Washington.

But many settlers would set up homes on the Puget Sound region. Seattle. In the summer of 1850, the two first white settlers, John Holgate and William Latimer would camp on Elliot Bay. Later, they would return with their families. Eventually, the buttercups would become concrete.


Oregon Unexpected History

As in Washington, Oregon had wild forests, tousled plains and curved shores that Native Americans cultivated. With the use of fire, they preserved and managed the prairies of camas, garry oaks, and blackberries in the Willamette Valley.

1781brought the first European, Captain James Strange. Much later Lewis and Clark would venture into Oregon to attach names to foliage, explore, and bring samples back for President Jefferson and everyone of the earth to learn about the specimens. Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, David Douglas, and James Strange discovered the first of many unexpected gardens under evergreen trees which later became known as Douglas fir. The Douglas fir was named after David Douglas. Around 1806, Lewis brought Frederic Pursh, a German American botanist, common beberis. Frederic Pursh would turn the specifications in. The Native American's called common beberis, "mountain holly". They would boil it's bark. It would become a bright yellow dye.

Sometimes gardens are formed in unusual ways. "Wife of Reverend Alvin F. Walker was preparing dried apples for cooking. She tossed the seeds into her garden. From the garden sprung, the first apple trees in Oregon, which grew in Oregon City." which is explained in americangardenmuseum.com/states/oregon/state_history.html. Apple seeds


Over the years, many plants not originating in Oregon have found a home. Such as Japanese maple. Now people grow them in Canby and Swan Island.


California Unexpected History

Sometimes early explored forests contain the markings of humans."Alarcon reached this place." was scralled into a tree when Melchor Di’az trudged through the California forest a little beyond Yuma which is chronicled in www.greencity.org/discovery.htm. It was to his surprise because most of the historians had thought Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo had discovered California.The Hernando De Alarco’n expedition of 1540 was two years before Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo arrived in California. Yet historians today feel, that the note at the tree is not strong enough evidence to confirm, that Hernando De Alarco’n discovered California.

But on the west coast, Spanish voyagers would sail to see flowers off the coast.The California poppy, which became the state flower was first spotted from a vessel in 1815. There is a Native American tale of the California poppy that the earth was cold. The Native Americans were dying except a brave and his wife. They would pray for food. God sent a fire flower, the golden poppy to drive away the evil spirits, cold, and frost. The flower brought them warmth and plenty.

Scotchman, David Douglas who also explored Oregon, searched the thick foliage for California specimens too. He introduced the sugar pine, noble fir, California poppy, salal, and lupin. He was looking for a Northwest Passage. After David Douglas, settlers came for gold in 1848.

"Today the oldest living thing is the bristlecone pine, which is 4,600 years old in White Mountains, California" according to www.bitofun.com/fun_facts/20plants.htm.


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