Odds and Ends From the Oregon Shore

The Octopus Tree

One of the most remarkable Sitka spruce trees in Oregon is the Octopus Tree. Rather than a single central trunk, its trunk-like spires are arranged radially and extend out, then skyward over 100 feet tall, giving the Octopus Tree a vase-like shape. On the cape the Octopus Tree has inhabited for over 200 years, the sounds of the surf are ever-present. And there are more than surf sounds.

When I last visited the Octopus Tree, in February 2018, above the crashing surf, I could hear the distant roar of Steller’s sea lions. I believe they had hauled out on Finley Rock, a nearby sea stack. That’s Shag behind, further offshore.

View from Cape Meares out to Three Arch Rocks, Finley closest, Shag behind. A layer of clouds and some blue sky. The image is framed up with salad across the bottom and Sitka spruce on both sides.

A washed up whale bone

I missed a young humpback washed up in December 2021, but on February 1, 2022, a bit of it found me. It has the look of a bone from the upper jaw.

Something special in an ordinary beachscape

A sea-green boulder stands out on a beach dimpled with drab yellowish sandstone boulders (though can they look dark green in their seaweed coats, like those in the mid-ground).

View is to the south down a sandy beach with plenty of rounded boulders. In the foreground and interesting sea green boulder. the surf zone and Hug Point in the distance.


If you’ve got a botanical bucket list, Darlingtonia californica is probably on it. It’s endemic to wet places overlying serpentine soils. The Wayside in Florence is a great place to see Darlingtonia. I needn’t have worried the plants would be past their prime in September when I visited.

Interpretive sign, explaining this unusual plant which traps and digests insect. It's also known as cobra-lily
Fairly close look at 30 or so Darlingtonia stems. Salal and forest behind.

Odds and Ends


  1. All odd Steve, especially to those of us who don’t often see the Oregon coast. I suspect many locals have not seen these sights either! Thanks for joining us – loved the darlingtonia!

    1. For sure. The whale bone was kind of interesting because I had looked and not found the whale, then a piece of it found me. So that meant something. Thanks, Amy.

    1. Right, Siobhan! Come on over any time. If you do, Darlingtonia blooms in the spring and the Octopus tree is a year-round photographic challenge (for me, anyway).

  2. I have always enjoyed wonderful and informative blog! Your design and layout are very eye appealing. I call it Eye Candy. Best Regards, Dana

  3. We visited that Darlingtonia bog near Florence some time ago, but found a lot more of them up in the Siskiyous near where we live. They seem to like it up here in the Coast Range. Looks like the wildflowers are starting to bloom. Love this time of year.
    That Octopus Tree is quite a challenge to photograph. If I remember right, it’s near the squatty little lighthouse…? 😉 A bit different from your usual wrack line observations.

    1. I’d love to check them out in the Siskiyou’s. Someday, when I’m down in that part of the state, I’ll do it! Uh oh, first I’d better brush up on my wildflowers.
      Yep, you’re right. The Octopus Tree is over on Cape Meares, right off the parking lot for the lighthouse.

    1. I’m grateful for it. But we agree there are so many beautiful parts. (I’ve seen your blog!) Thank you for having a look at my odds and ends.

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