Three Trips in a Row to Rigdon

The mock orange (Philadelphus lewisii) was in full fragrant bloom at Many Creeks Meadow and attracting lots of snowberry checkerspots. I can almost still smell the heavenly fragrance!

On Sunday, June 16, I hiked up the Youngs Rock trail, bushwhacking in from a meadow between Road 2129 and the trail that John Koenig and I named Buckbrush Meadow last year. Then on Wednesday, June 19, I went to Grassy Glade with Maya Goklany of Walama Restoration and two volunteers, Alicja and Sabine. We also explored the lower openings, “Rocky Glade” and “Mock Orange Glade.” Finally, on Friday, June 21, I headed over to “Many Creeks Meadow” for an afternoon of seed collecting before camping at Sacandaga Campground for the weekend (more on that later).

Here are some photos from those trips.

There’s an interesting miniature forest of chinquapin (Chrysolepis chrysophylla) by Youngs Rock. The silvery looking plants on the rock are rubber rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa), which won’t bloom until very late in the season.

Cedar hairstreaks were enjoying northern buckwheat (Eriogonum nudum) in one of the meadows along the Youngs Rock trail.

Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza deltoidea) was in fading bloom in one of the steep, off-trail meadows above and east of Youngs Rock itself. There’s a good view of Dome Rock (left) and other areas of the Calapooyas to the south.

After I got back from Youngs Rock, I drove over to Big Pine Opening to check on the purple milkweed (Asclepias cordifolia). My first thought upon seeing this lush green thing was a chia pet. Up close, each of the stems looked like a purple milkweed seedling, so I thought it might just be several capsules worth of seeds all germinated in the same spot, like Maya and I saw at Grassy Glade a few weeks ago (see Counting Purple Milkweed at Grassy Glade). But you can see the growth is emanating from the center of last year’s dead milkweed stalks, not out at the end of the stalks where the capsules probably would have landed. And when I peeked under the leaves (right photo), I was surprised to find they weren’t individual seedlings, but relatively thin stalks with numerous delicate branches. What is going on here? My best guess is that something disrupted this plant when it was resprouting this spring, and it reacted by branching heavily. Usually browsing causes plants to branch once or twice where they were chewed, but this is an extreme reaction if that’s what happened—especially considering this species rarely branches at all. I’ve marked the spot so I can see what comes up next year.

Maya was excited to find a pair of baby antlers at Grassy Glade.

A field crescent enjoying the purple milkweed still blooming at Grassy Glade

Woollyhead clover (Trifolium eriocephalum) was in bloom at both Many Creeks Meadow and Mutton Meadow. It is distinctive for its hairy leaves and calyces and its reflexed flowers.

While most flowers were finishing, snapdragon skullcap (Scutellaria antirrhinoides) was at peak bloom among the dead grass (much of it cheat grass, unfortunately) in Many Creeks Meadow.

Leave a Reply

Post Categories
Archives
Notification of New Posts