Posts Tagged ‘Clarkia’
Rain at last—what a relief! Not that I wasn’t enjoying the glorious weather we’ve had lately, but things were getting bone dry, the air was dirty, and the roads were terribly dusty (as is my car both outside and in!). On Thursday (October 11—10/11/12 for those of us who love numbers), I went to Tire Mountain to enjoy the weather before the promised rain. It was dry—really dry. It is normal this time of year, especially at that elevation (under 4000′), for most of the meadow plants to be dried out and the woodland plants to be yellowing, but after so many weeks of drought, even the sword ferns—arguably one of our toughest plants—were badly wilted. I’ve been to Tire Mountain in the fall in the past and marveled at the abundance of tiny green seedlings covering the ground. These will be many of the annuals that will put on a show the following spring. Without a drop of water to set them off, the seeds are still dormant in the soil this year. How long it will take for them to germinate now that the rains have started? It might be worth a return trip soon to find out. Read the rest of this entry »
The lovely sunny weather of the last week made me anxious to go for a real hike, so yesterday (February 4), I decided to continue my attempt to survey all the meadows of Cloverpatch Butte. This time my goal was to explore the large area directly below the largest meadow the trail cuts through. I wasn’t entirely sure it would be possible—there are cliffs at the base of every section of meadow—but it was worth trying. Then, if I could find a good route, it would save me time when I return after the flowers are actually out.
After a quick stop at the Black Canyon Campground to get a look at the meadows from across the river, I drove up to the trailhead on Tire Creek Road 5826. Thankfully the road is in fine condition. This early in the year, you can’t count on that. I was a little surprised to see quite a few snow queen (Synthyris reniformis) starting to bloom along the trail. There were far more than at my house, a thousand feet lower in elevation. There were lots of fairy slipper (Calypso bulbosa) leaves evident, some quite a deep purple. This is a great trail for viewing these gorgeous flowers. I was able to collect five more types of seeds to scan for my new gallery, but most plants had already dispersed all their seeds. Many seedlings are already up, among them Nemophila parvifolia and a Clarkia, most likely amoena from the tall dead stalks above them. I’ve seen three species here, so I can’t be sure. Read the rest of this entry »
After a week of rather dreary weather, the weekend turned out to be quite nice. I decided I had too much to do to take the whole day off for a hike, but the clear blue sky Saturday morning (October 8) made it impossible to stay home. My compromise was a quick trip up to Eagles Rest—only a half hour drive and 1.5 mile round-trip hike. I had thought about heading farther up the road to Mount June, but as I drove up Eagles Rest Road, I could see clouds hanging on the summit. That made the decision to do the shorter hike easy. Read the rest of this entry »
Sabine and I first discovered the Youngs Rock trail in December of 2004, while looking for a sunny place to hike in the winter. The following year, we returned 7 times, trying to go back every 3 weeks or so to track the changing waves of wildflowers. We found unusual plants almost every time. Each time we returned, we thought we’d seen it all, only to be surprised by another exciting find. I’d been there 17 times all together, but somehow I’d missed seeing most of the July blooming. So yesterday (July 12), we headed back there again. I was quite certain that, this time, we wouldn’t find anything special.
Imagine my surprise when the second I stepped out of the car, there were some roses blooming—practically flat on the ground. I only know of one rose that grows like this, Rosa spithamea, the well named ground rose. I’d only seen it in the southern part of the Rogue-Umpqua Divide (at Abbott Butte and nearby), so I wasn’t ready to jump to that ID right away. There were some taller Rosa gymnocarpa growing nearby, so we had to consider these might just be odd plants of that. Perhaps they’d been mowed down by trail work or something. Nope. The undeveloped hips were completely different. Those of R. gymnocarpa are glabrous and somewhat narrow. Red glands covered the hips, sepals, leaf margins and more of the low-growing roses. We found several more areas of them still close to the trail just south of the Spur Road 435 parking area that comes in about a third of the way up the trail. Despite keeping an eye out for them all day as we headed north up the trail, we never found more, but it would be worth looking along the southern end of the trail. After looking through photos and the floras, I’m pretty convinced they are indeed Rosa spithamea (but if someone has a better idea, let me know!). Read the rest of this entry »