Archive for July, 2009
Yesterday, Sabine, Ingrid, and I went to Horsepasture. The Ipomopsis aggregata was at peak and the hummers were going nuts. It was also peak time for the Antennaria luzuloides. The little propagules are forming on non-flowering branches.
The only interesting addition/change to the list is that the Stellaria there is obtusa, not crispa. There is some growing along the trail right at the beginning by the road and again before the first damp Alder thicket. I’d never heard of this species before this year when I finally attempted to sort out the Stellarias. I’d seen it on the list for Grizzly Peak near Ashland and was pleased to find it blooming there when I went down in June. Since then I’ve been looking carefully at every patch of low-growing Stellaria. In the past, I found them easily ignorable and assumed they were all crispa, so all my listings for that one are now suspect. John and I discovered it at Wild Rose Point over the border in Douglas County a couple of weeks ago. Then last week, I saw it growing all along the Buck Canyon trail in the Rogue-Umpqua Divide. My next 2 hikes there were just over the ridge and I expected to see it again, but instead found some small patches of S. crispa. My trip to Blair last week also turned up several patches of S. crispa. Read the rest of this entry »
I spent the day at Blair Lake yesterday. I would have said “spent a relaxing day…” but while negotiating what passes for a path around the end of the lake, I discovered I’d lost my hat. I had to duck under and plow through those stinky Ribes bracteosum 3 times instead of once. Aargh. Thankfully, I did find where my hat had gotten knocked off and will be more careful next time I’m in jungle conditions like that.
The flowers were lovely. The Spiraea splendens and Lilium columbianum were outstanding. Most of the meadow was white with Ligusticum. That one is still confusing me. It is not particularly leafy, like the ones that grow on my property or at Lowder, but it seems way too tall to be L. grayii. Closer to the lake, the Pedicularis groenlandica and P. bracteosa made a beautiful combination. There were lots of Platanthera dilatata as well. The many graminoids had me intrigued, so I collected some and hopefully can get more of them figured out this winter. Neither my list nor the old NPSO ones have any graminoids.
I also had a good time “collecting” butterflies. While there weren’t as many on the wing as I’ve seen in August, there were many blues and checkerspots and some crescents in the mud spots on the trail. With the help of some sweat (no problem with the weather as warm as it has been), I got 4 blues on my hand at the same time! Some of them even flew back on my hand when accidentally knocked off. In fact, I had a tough time convincing the northern blue (on the left) that the party was over after 10 minutes. Unfortunately, the checkerspots and crescents weren’t as friendly. They were too nervous to partake in a free salty meal. Read the rest of this entry »
I went back to Rattlesnake Mountain several days ago. I was too early for the bright yellow Orobanche, but I found a single O. fasciculata a few inches from Eriophyllum lanatum. I had no luck relocating that little Draba that might have been lonchocarpa, but I did hit it perfectly for the Cirsium scariosum. I was quite surprised to find 2 blooming plants right on the summit. There certainly were no blooming plants up there in the past, although I might have missed seedlings. I did what I had contemplated for a while and climbed down the rocky south-facing side. It was relatively easy (and safe) along the step-like south ridge. The west side is sheer cliffs. I passed a budding Orobanche pinorum right near an old dead stalk in the same spot I saw one on my last trip in 2007. The Hieracium greenei was also in bud. There are several old whitebark pines on the top, one with some cones (Rattlesnake Mtn is one of the highest points in the Western Cascades). Farther down, I was happy to see what looked like young trees, with no old dead branches.
As you go down the slope, it becomes more gravelly and almost plateaus before another cliff. This is where I have to go down the east slope to reconnect with the trail. That’s where the Cirsium scariosum I’d seen in the past was. I looked all around this area and found 4 large blooming plants and approximately 50 young plants. I was guessing they were monocarpic because there were no small blooming plants and I found one dead one with dried flower heads and tiny seedlings next to it. I just confirmed that on the FNA website. I couldn’t bear to harm the beautiful blooming plants, but I did press one youngster for the Herbarium. I hope it is useful. The population seems quite healthy. I wonder if it is expanding, or I just didn’t look hard enough on my other trip to this spot. I will have to check it again in a few years and see how it has changed.
If any of you are going to hike the Three Pyramids trail or just driving along Hwy 22 and want to do some roadside botanizing, be sure to check out the Park Creek area (also known as The Parks). I stopped by there for a quick look this weekend on my way back from visiting some wet meadows in Clackamas County. I wish I’d had more time as it was really colorful. To get there, head north of Santiam Junction on Hwy 22 for 4.6 miles. Turn left onto Lava Lake Meadow Road 2067. There will be a sign for “Old Cacades trails”.
At about .9 mile, there’s a long stretch of blooming Horkelia fusca along the righthand side of the road. At an intersection on the right about .2 mile farther, a large patch of Heuchera chlorantha is all budded up. These are 2 plants I rarely see. There are Platanthera stricta and fading Dodecatheon jeffreyi and many other things in the wet ditches on the sides of the road from here to the bridge, another .7 mile away. From the bridge you can get down to the creek and some wet areas on either side of the road. There are willows and Viburnum edule (both finished blooming) and lots of Trautvetteria caroliniensis in bloom. Take a right after the bridge and in about .2 mile you’ll see a side road going off to the left. Park around here and walk down to the creek on your right. On 4th of July, I was greeted by a patriotic display of red Castilleja miniata (a few Castilleja suksdorfii are also starting), loads of white cow parsnip on the far side of the creek and gorgeous blue-purple Lupinus polyphyllus. There is also a lot of fresh Senecio (Packera) pseudaurea, Platanthera dilatata, Sisyrinchium angustifolium, and lots more to see there. A month ago, I was in this area, and it was filled with blooming willows, Lonicera caerulea, and L. involucrata, Caltha leptosepala, and Viola adunca. Later in the year there is white Ranunculus aquatilis in the creek and goldenrod on the banks. It has a long season of great bloom, good butterflies, and the winding creek is really beautiful. The far bank has lots of dwarf birch and there are many other interesting shrubs in the area.
I didn’t have time to go farther this time, but usually I go to the next bridge 1.75 miles after the first bridge. Lots of lupines, Viburnum edule, and other pretty things there as well. There are places you can explore much farther into the creek basin if you have all day. If you are continuing on to the Three Pyramids trailhead, check out the meadow at an intersection 1.2 miles farther up the road. Lots of flowers including more Horkelia fusca. I used to always stop briefly on my way to and from the trailhead, but now I realize the roadside and creekside plants are worth a whole day on their own.