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Willamette Valley Region
Darlingtonia State Natural Site
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Darlingtonia State Natural Site Carniverous plants © Becky Lowe
Picture was taken in mid February - Darlingtonia was not in bloom yet...
Darlingtonia State Natural Site © RickObst / CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Darlingtonia State Natural Site © RickObst / CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Darlingtonia State Natural Site © Visitor7 / CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
The Darlingtonia State Botanical Wayside near Florence, Oregon
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5400 Mercer Lake Road
Florence, Oregon   97439
(lat:44.0468 lon:-124.0979) map location

Phone: 800-551-6949
Darlingtonia State Natural Site is the only Oregon state park property dedicated to the protection of a single plant species. Concurrently, the plants it protects are the only carnivorous flora in the system.

This 18-acre botanical park provides parking and a boardwalk trail out into a fen that is home to Darlingtonia californica. Also called a cobra lily, the rare, strangely-shaped plant is the only member of the pitcher plant family (Sarraceniaceae) in Oregon.

What visitors see in this little garden of multi-colored horrors (for insects), is a plant with yellowish green hooded leaves that form erect, 10 to 20-inch-high hollow tubes. On top, the leaves are often purplish to reddish mottled with transparent areas. A hidden opening into the stalk is bordered by a large, green, mustache-shaped appendage beneath the curved hood of the leaf. Nectar inside the plant's hidden opening attracts the insects. Once inside, an insect becomes confused by the transparent areas that appear like exits. It's all "downhill" for the insect from that point as it eventually drops into the lower part of the tube, is trapped by downward-pointed hairs and falls into a pool of water at the bottom of the stalk. Bacteria in the water decompose it into nitrogen that is then absorbed by the plant.

Darlingtonia californica has flowers with five purple petals (surrounded by yellow sepals) that bloom in the spring. Associated species include an orchid, California lady's slipper, and two lilies, Tofieldia and Narthecium.

Darlingtonia plants are found in serpentine soils and sphagnum fens arising from wet sands on coastal plains. Collecting Darlingtonia samples is illegal in Oregon.

Besides its parking area and boardwalk, Darlingtonia State Natural Site offers a small picnic area. Nearby scenery includes a lush assortment of vegetation that includes rhododendron, spruce, cedar and shore pine.
History of the Area
Located in Florence, Oregon, this 18-acre botanical park was established to protect a single species of carnivorous plant - the Cobra Lily (Darlingtonia Californica). The site is unique as it's the only state-owned property dedicated solely for preserving one type of flora.

The land that now constitutes the natural area was donated by Dr. William Grove and his wife Connie Mackenzie who were both botany enthusiasts from Eugene, Oregon. They gifted their private estate to Lane County Parks Department in 1958 with an agreement that it would be preserved as a public space.

1. Darlingtonia Trail: This is the main trail within the park, a short and easy 0.2-mile loop that takes you through beautiful landscapes filled with carnivorous plants known as Cobra Lilies or Pitcher Plants.

2. Boardwalk Loop: The boardwalk provides an elevated view of these unique plant species in their natural habitat while protecting them from being trampled on by visitors.

3. Interpretive Panels Pathway: Along this pathway are several interpretative panels providing information about the flora and fauna found in this area, particularly focusing on its namesake -the Darlingtonia Californica.

4. Wetland Viewing Area Trails: These trails lead to viewing areas where one can observe various wetland creatures such as frogs, salamanders and numerous bird species native to Oregon's coastal region.

5. Creek Side Walks: There are also paths along Smith River which offer serene views of flowing water against lush greenery; perfect for quiet contemplation or photography sessions.

6. Picnic Site Access Paths: Several small pathways leading off from main hiking routes take hikers directly towards picnic sites equipped with tables & benches under shady trees making it ideal for family outings during summer months.

7. Wildflower Spotting Routes: During spring season when wildflowers bloom abundantly across site's meadows, there exist specific walking routes designed specifically for flower spotting enthusiasts who wish enjoy vibrant colors spread all around them.

8. Forest Hiking Trails: For those seeking more challenging hikes amidst dense forests surrounding state natural site, there exists few longer forested trails offering opportunities explore rich biodiversity present here.

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Area Campgrounds
Thousand Trails South Jetty
5010 South Jetty Road
Florence, OR
Pacific Pines RV Park & Storage
4044 Highway 101
Florence, OR
Port of Siuslaw RV Park & Marina
100 Harbor Street
Florence, OR
Sea Perch RV Resort
95480 Highway 101
Yachats, OR
Nearby Hotels

1. Start your journey from the city of Florence, which lies on the central coast of Oregon.
2. From Florence, take Highway 101 southbound for approximately 12 miles until you reach Reedsport.
3. In Reedsport, turn right onto Winchester Avenue (Highway 38) and continue eastward towards Elkton.
4. Stay on Highway 38 for about 25 miles until you arrive at Elkton.
5. Once in Elkton, make a left turn onto River Road South (also known as County Road #231).
6. Follow this road for around six miles until it intersects with Territorial Highway/State Route #36 near Scottsburg Junction.

At this point, there are two possible routes to choose from depending on your preference:

Option A: Scenic Drive
7a: Take a left onto Territorial Highway/State Route #36 westbound and drive along its scenic route through picturesque countryside landscapes alongside Umpqua River's North Fork tributary.
8a: Continue driving westward on State Route #36 for approximately nine more miles before reaching Darlingtonia State Natural Site entrance signposted clearly to your right-hand side.

Option B: Direct Drive
7b: Instead of turning left onto Territorial Highway/State Route#36 after arriving at Scottsburg Junction,.
continue straight ahead across the bridge over Umpqua River's main channel into Douglas County via Lower Smith River Rd/Southside Rd/Curtin Creek Rd/Wolf Creek Ln/Old Wagon Trail Loop/Riverdale Lane/Darling Ridge Dr./Old Wagon Trail Loop again/Terrace View Dr., all while staying alert to follow signs indicating "Darlingtonia Botanical Wayside."
8b: After roughly eight additional winding but well:marked turns totaling just under ten miles, you will reach the entrance of Darlingtonia State Natural Site on your left.

Regardless of which option you choose, once at the site's entrance:
9. Park your vehicle in designated parking areas.
10. Enjoy exploring and observing the unique carnivorous plants known as "cobra lilies" that thrive within this protected natural area.

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Oregon State Parks