Botanical Wednesday: Take me back to the Pacific coast

I’m queuing this up ahead of time, and I presume I’m in Washington state today, for this talk. You residents of Washington, Oregon, and Northern California will recognize this familiar flower.

Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) forest interior with Pacific Rhododendrons (Rhododendron macrophyllum) Lady Bird Johnson Grove, Redwood National Park, California

(via NatGeo)


  1. René says

    Fun fact: the Dutch Bond tegen het vloeken (~Union Against Swearing) proposed “Rododendron!” as an alternative for swearing with “Godverdomme!”

  2. Dick the Damned says

    Puhhhh! I guess it evolved the palmate leaf shape to better withstand the battering from the almost incessant downpours characteristic of the region?

  3. ekwhite says

    I,m not from the northwest, but those look like rhododendrons to me. Reminds me of my misspent youth hiking the Nantahalas.

  4. RFW says

    It’s Rhododendron macrophyllum. Common in damp coniferous forests west of the Cascades in the Pacific NW (Wash, Oreg, and northern Calif), where it is considered a weed by loggers, but occurring only in a few places in BC and those not far north of the US-Canada border.

  5. Trebuchet says

    I really loves me some rhodies. It’s a bit early in the year, however, so those must be from last year.

  6. says

    I have yet to get a single wild azalea to grow x-x I’ve lived in the range of the redwood and red cedar forest most of my life and I feel ashamed that I can’t get the native plant to grow. The local natives groups I’ve contacted can’t get them to grow, either.

    *sigh* It’s probably my favorite native flower. I feel dirty mixing non-natives in to get them to grow, but…

  7. great1american1satan says

    Yo! Just got back from the talk. It was the first time I’ve ever been to an atheist gathering of any sort. Pretty cool.

    My response: The topic – “Moving Atheism Beyond Science” – was a very good choice. I’ve often and extensively discussed with my partner why he isn’t as inspired by science as I am, and the current place we’ve reached in that ongoing issue is this: People mistreated by the dominant culture can get so wrapped up in bad self-esteem and self-monitoring that they have a great deal of difficulty connecting emotionally with things beyond their own lives. This is probably felt the most acutely by those raised as women. It doesn’t indicate a paucity of imagination or intelligence – just a change in the scope of things which can fire one’s interest. Where I’d be building the tree of life in my imagination, with all the attendant wonder, he’d be thinking about dimensions of social issues that I’d never be able to see without someone opening my eyes to them.

    In short, some people can’t feel the wonder of science, at least not the way we can, and shouldn’t feel excluded from atheism over that. As it stands, they often do. Good of you to try to move the discussion on that.

    You were right that Seattle Atheists really look like they’re doing a good job pushing for diversity and proactive values, by the look of the folks and tenor of the crowd. Of course, they were a bit pastier than Seattle as a whole and Seattle is a pretty pasty place, but it’s a work in progress.

    You have a weak spot in your inclusivity where gender is concerned, which I know is a difficult thing to change because it is bound up in language, so take this as a polite suggestion. You used “men and women” at one point to mean “every gender,” which leaves some people out. “People of every gender” is a bit better, but you can maybe try to find something more inclusive that you still feel comfortable saying, just as a starting point.

    The “liberal arts major” in the Q&A session mentioned cis straight white males as not including theirself, which suggests the possibility they are trans*gendered (if I’m getting all that right). Therefore, when you later referred to them using “her” and “she” when talking to someone else, it may have been offensive to them. Again, to avoid hurt or exclusion, try to think about changing your language. It’s impossible to be perfect, but I’m sure you can give it a good effort.

    And the hardest thing when dealing with the subject of the intense irrationality of religion is avoid ableist slurs regarding mental health, so that’s something else to consider.

    It was cool to see you in person. Good work, as always. Rock on!