Archive for August, 2008
Quaking Aspen Swamp was very nice yesterday although cold (about 50° all day). Sabine bailed at the last minute, so it turned out we only had two of us anyway. Doramay and I both had our rain pants on and were glad we did. The clouds had lifted by the time we arrived, but the foliage was quite wet at first. The sun came out quite a bit, but it never totally cleared up, and there was not enough sun to open up the Drosera, Sisyrinchium, or Gentianopsis flowers. There was a lot still in bloom. Things were not as far along as I expected. The Aster [Canadanthus] modestus was just barely starting. There were lots of hybrid Spiraeas (Spiraea xhitchcockii) as well as S. douglasii, lots of Oxypolis occidentalis, Aconitum columbianum, Stachys cooleyae (and some accompanying hummers), and Angelica genuflexa. The Kyhosia bolanderi was quite impressive and in even more places than I remembered. It looks better when it isn’t hot and sunny. The Aster [Oreostemma] alpigenus was in very good bloom as well. What was odd was no floating leaves of Potamogeton in the pond. There were only submerged leaves.
I added 3 new species to the list: Arnica mollis, a Utricularia (minor again? I haven’t gone through my photos yet. It was in the creek just before it goes into the pond), and Rosa pisocarpa. I reolcated the patch of Phyllodoce empetriformis but not the grapeferns. I also confirmed that the alders on the west side of the meadow are Alnus incana, although the ones along the trail are the usual A. viridis sinuata (boy, were they wet walking under!). I suspect the huge sweep of Alders going up the hill at the far end of the meadow are Sitka also. I still don’t have enough data, but the incana I’ve been seeing lately always seems to be in flat wet meadows, while the Sitka is often on wet slopes. I’m pretty sure the little scraggly ones along the edge of Bruno Meadows were also incana. I’m just starting to figure out alders. Unlike A. viridis, A. incana never seems to have very many flower buds or old cones. I did manage to find some plants with buds, and they had the long peduncles on the male buds and short ones on the female ones characteristic of incana, as well the dull leaves.
Lastly, I was able to collect some of the Spiranthes stellata, my main goal for the day (some for OSU, some for the orchid folks). They were scattered all over the meadow and just coming into bloom. Just before we left, we came to the best spot of all, with over 40 ones in good flower, just south of the major willow patch at the north end, northwest of the pond. We also found some Spiranthes romanzoffiana, but not as much and some of it still totally in bud. It was much heftier. I got a photo of one next to a S. stellata and the size difference was really pronounced. S. stellata is such a delicate thing.
Sabine and I went to Moon Point yesterday. I wanted to look more carefully around Moon Lake. We went there first taking a short cut from spur road 444 so we could wear our rubber boots and do the trail separately later in regular shoes. Only addition was Platanthera sparsiflora north of the lake. I still haven’t figured out the Potamogeton there but got some pictures and will try to learn them. There was some Parnassia cirrata and Comarum palustre in bloom and lots of pretty cotton grass. Absolutely no sign left of the Lewisia pygmaea we saw in July, but I wasn’t so surprised about that. The tiny pond had dried up as usual and had some Rorippa and tiny Plagiobothrys like I saw last year. Don’t know if I’ll ever learn those.
On our way up the road to the trailhead we stopped when I saw some Spiranthes on the roadside. It’s only the second place I’ve seen them blooming so far this season. They turned out to be Spiranthes stellata! There were about 30–40 in bloom, and when I dug one up for the Herbarium, there were half a dozen tiny plants up against it. They must make offsets. Interestingly, the article Paul Martin Brown put in the NPSO Bulletin says they have single descending tubers. The plant I dug up had multiple tubers, but the tiny vegetative plants next to it definitely had single descending tubers. The ones in my picture don’t descend because they are just too plump. None of the plants were more than maybe 9″ tall. It is a delicate thing. There was a wet ditch to the right of the creek, but that was more north-facing and in the shade. No Spiranthes there but lots of Platanthera stricta and Boykinia occidentalis, neither of which were in the sunny ditch.
When we finally arrived at the Moon Point trailhead, we had a great experience. After spending the whole morning checking out the Moon Lake area from spur road 444, we got to the main trailhead at about 2:30pm. We were quickly surprised by a giant bird zipping past us. He/she landed in a tree briefly but disappeared again. We went out onto the log to look at the blooming Lilium pardalinum in the tiny wetland near the beginning of the trail when he appeared again and flew over to a nearby tree. He stayed long enough for me to get one good photo then flew off again, seemingly just a little ways away, but we didn’t see him again. Still, it was a real thrill to see an owl, and in midafternoon no less. Out on the rock on the main trail, there were still some blossoms on the Hieracium greenei and some seeds. Still no new plants right there though. We could see a fire started on the North Umpqua past Bearbones, so we just headed back.
In the slide show I gave last month, I mentioned the Lorquin’s Admiral I see at Moon Point in the same area every year. Well, one landed right where I mentioned, just after telling Sabine to keep her eyes open for one when we got there. It was the only one we saw all day. That’s at least 4 generations in the same small set of little conifers at the end of the meadow. They must keep the territory in the family. We saw loads of fritillaries, northern blues, and parnassians, but not much else. Where are the coppers this year?
On Tuesday (August 5), John took Sabine and me up to Dome Rock (thanks again for all that driving John!). We a had a great day. We went up Coal Creek Rd 2133 (the scene of a very bad day for me a couple of years ago when I ran into a major washout on my way home from Douglas County. The road looks like it has had many other washouts, but was passable for the moment at least.). There are some particularly good areas on the way up after the road turns to 5851. There’s a big cirque of sorts and water comes down from Balm Mountain (T25S.R3E.S23, Douglas County I’m afraid). We stopped at a wetland along the road first and noticed blooming Trifolium howellii, some Oxalis suksdorfii and lots of tall blooming Rorippa. I noticed there’s no Rorippa on the OFP Atlas for around the area, but I have seen low-growing R. curvisiliqua at both Groundhog and Moon Point. This certainly looked different, but many photos of curvisiliqua show it upright. I will have to study that genus more.
Then we made a few stops at the many little creeks that come down off the cliffs. The Epilobium luteum that both John and I had seen before was just coming into bloom. We saw plants in several other spots during the day that were probably E. luteum but didn’t even have buds yet. It seems like a good area to look for more. There was also some Claytonia cordifolia coming into bloom and lots of a Stellaria John keyed out to calycantha. Another genus I need to sit down and study. There was a big patch of Artemisia on the side of the road, something I don’t see much Lane County. It had much wider leaf blades than the ones so common in Linn County. They did look similar to the ones at Groundhog however. There was also some Collomia tinctoria on the roadside. We passed by Loletta Lakes, a very large wetland, and the cliff where I saw my only Douglas County Castilleja rupicola. So many places to explore up there. We’ll have to just do a day of roadside botanizing sometime. Read the rest of this entry »