The 18-acre botanical preserve, Darlingtonia State Natural Site is located 5 miles north of Florence, off Highway 101. A short boardwalk trail loops through a bog where unique and endangered species thrive. This site is dedicated to protection of Cobra lily or Cobra orchid. The plant is known as carnivorous perennial and is also referred to as a pitcher plant.
Cobra lily, scientifically called Darlingtonia Californica, is the only representative of the pitcher plant family or Sarraceniaceae in the state of Oregon.
The plant itself is native to Oregon and Northern California, however, it can’t readily be found in wild nature. Darlingtonia State Natural Site might be the only place in Oregon you can witness insect-eating plants in action reminiscent of man-eaters of horror movies.
Cobra lily is green in color with some orange and red spots and it starts to bloom in May and June with purple and yellow flowers, so this might be the best time to visit the site.
Cobra lily can grow as high as three feet and features a mouth like opening as well as an arched hood resembling a cobra, hence the nickname. Plants in the park grow very close to each other creating an entire colorful carpet.
Darlingtonia Californica secretes sweet nectar attracting insects. Once an insect is inside, it's hard for it to get out due to the slick sides of the plant, nearly transparent areas that are mistaken for exits and downward-pointing hairs that get in the insect’s way out. Cobra lily doesn’t kill its prey with poisons, rather it waits for the natural death. After the insect dies, it is slowly digested and gets absorbed by the plant’s walls as nutrition.
Darlingtonia State Natural Site has a parking area as well as restrooms and a small picnic spot.
Important! Cobra lily has been seriously diminished in the wild by illegal collecting. Collecting this rare plant samples is illegal in Oregon.
Darlingtonia Natural Site | General Description
Location: North Oregon Coast
Services: Restrooms, picnic area
Accommodations: Lodging in Florence
Distance from the parking: Short
Road access: Any vehicles
Day-use fees: None
Popularity: Low to Moderate
The site is located:
- 4.5 miles north of Florence
- 65 miles west of Eugene
- 132 miles southwest of Salem
- 174 miles southwest of Portland.
- Travel 4.1 miles via the Oregon Coast Highway US-101 north to Mercer Lake Road
- Turn right onto Mercer Lake Road and go 0.1 miles to Darlingtonia State Natural Site on the right.