Archive for May, 2011
Quite by accident, yesterday’s trip to Cloverpatch with Sabine Dutoit and Doramay Keasbey was on the exact same date as last year’s with John Koenig—May 24 (see Back to the Upper Meadows of Cloverpatch). Once again, it is clear the blooming season is even later than last year. There were many things in bloom, but some plants that were flowering this time last year, including death camas and several clovers, had not yet begun. The balsamroots were coming into bloom on this trip, while they were going over last year on this date (Doramay agrees with me that their unusual fragrance has an enticing hint of chocolate!). In fact, looking back at my photos from May 7 of last year (see The Rocky Meadows of Cloverpatch), it appears to be at almost exactly the same stage, making us 2 weeks later this year—and last year was a slow spring. Having such a good measure of the flowering season should help me figure out when to return to some of the other sites I went to last year to see plants I missed. Read the rest of this entry »
On our last trip to Eagles Rest, 15 days earlier (see Early But Lovely at Eagles Rest), Sabine and I were excited about the multitudes of Fritillaria affinis buds. I didn’t want to miss what looked to be a fabulous bloom, so yesterday (May 20) we headed back up there. The most striking thing we noticed is how little had changed in two weeks. Upon entering the woods, the carpet of trilliums was still there, with only a few showing signs of their petals fading to pale pink. The snow queen was also still blooming well, but there were far fewer violets. There were still oodles of gorgeous fairy slippers there and farther along the trail, and they were still in perfect bloom. They were even more profuse in the woods up near the summit, some of which were only in bud before. Usually they grow scattered about, but we saw two tight clumps each with seven blossoms. After viewing at least a few hundred flowers, we noticed we never saw a single pollinator visiting them. I’ve read several times about how they fool bees into pollinating them without giving a reward of nectar or pollen. But in all the years of admiring and photographing these stunning flowers, I can’t remember ever seeing any bees or other insects show any interest in them. Read the rest of this entry »
A couple of weeks ago (see Uncommon Plants in Southeastern Lane County), snow kept me from checking out the series of large meadows on the lower slopes of Bear Mountain (the peak in extreme southeastern Lane County—apparently there are seven in Oregon, two others just in Lane County! As Sabine often points out, people aren’t very creative naming geographic features.) Despite the ominous date—Friday the 13th—this time we were very lucky finding a way up to this intriguing area. It turns out that Molly Juillerat, the Middle Fork botanist, was also hoping to see this area, as it was on a list of meadows to survey for possible restoration. She and Sabine and I were joined by another intrepid botanical explorer, John Koenig. Read the rest of this entry »
Whether you take the long route from the bottom or the short 1/3 mile path from near the top, the official trail to Deception Butte peters out before you reach the real reason to go up there—the glorious open slope that graces its south-facing side. Animals have made paths all over the summit, and it is easy to continue a short ways from the end of the trail down to the opening with its fabulous view. Last spring, I was up on another ridge near Oakridge scanning the mountains with my binoculars. Looking over to Deception Butte, I could see a large open area facing east, one I knew nothing about. Naturally, I just had to check it out.
Yesterday (May 5), Sabine and I spent the afternoon exploring the rocky summit of Eagles Rest. It was exactly five weeks since my previous trip (see Blooming Begins at Eagles Rest), and I wanted to catch the next wave of blooms. The cold, wet, miserable April weather has kept things from moving along as quickly as they might have this time of year, so I figured it would take this long to see a real change. As soon as we stepped into the woods at the beginning of the trail, we we thrilled to see a carpet of trilliums and fairy slippers (Calypso bulbosa) at the peak of their bloom. There were at least 50 of each in a fairly small area. All the trillium were facing south toward the light. Snow queen and evergreen violets were still blooming here as well. The fairy slippers continued all the way up the trail and were even perched on shaded mossy rocks up at the top. This alone was worth the trip. The sun was trying to break through a mostly cloudy day. We weren’t the only ones a little chilled—we saw two separate garter snakes trying to warm up as we headed to the top. Read the rest of this entry »
Normally I look forward to April and the coming of spring. But this year, it was an exceptionally miserable month for me, and the 7+ inches of rain we got at our house only made things worse. So the coming of May and a lovely sunny day yesterday (May 1) was a huge relief to me. I headed off to look for plants in one of my favorite early areas, along Hills Creek Reservoir and Road 21. I was just hoping to find any signs of flowers and butterflies—an affirmation of the renewal of life. It was quite unexpected that I stumbled upon several unusual plants.
As always, my first stop was at the cliffs along the reservoir. The Crocidium mutlitcaule is still blooming well, although some seed is ripening. The Mimulus that looks like M. nasutus—a species not recognized by the Oregon Flora Project—was coming into bloom in the drippy rocks with its small flowers and large leaves. There was also lots of Lomatium hallii, the last flowers of Ribes roezlii, and the beginnings of adorable Tonella tenella, but by and large, it is still early. I searched through the large mats of Sedum spathulifolium and finally discovered the very first signs of Orobanche uniflora sprouting up from a clumps of last year’s dead stalks. It’s still unclear to me from the literature whether this species is an annual or perennial, but this may have been evidence that this plant was perennial. Read the rest of this entry »