Posts Tagged ‘Cryptogramma’

Distinguishing Parsley Ferns (Cryptogramma spp.)

Parsley ferns (Cryptogramma spp.) are relatively small rock-loving ferns, which are sometimes known as rock-brakes. Unlike our other rock ferns, spore-bearing structures are on separate fertile fronds that are usually taller than the sterile fronds. There are two species of parsley ferns in the Cascades. American parsley fern (C. acrostichoides) is common throughout the Western Cascades and is found elsewhere in western Oregon. It is found primarily at low to middle elevations. Cascade parsley fern (C. cascadensis) is found only at higher elevations, mostly in the High Cascades. Both species have also been seen in the Wallowas. The third species in Oregon, Steller’s rock-brake (C. stelleri), is a rare inhabitant of the Wallowas, although its range stretches across much of the northern US.

Left: Cascade parsley fern in the Calapooyas; Right: American parsley fern at Table Rock Wilderness

Left: Cascade parsley fern in the Calapooyas; Right: American parsley fern at Table Rock Wilderness

For a number of years, I’ve been uncertain of my identification of Cascade parsley fern. Recently (see More Discoveries along the Calapooya Crest), I got a great lesson in distinguishing our two Cascade species from the expert, Ed Alverson, who first described Cascade parsley fern in 1989 (see Cryptogramma cascadensis, a New Parsley-Fern from Western North America,” in the American Fern Journal, Volume 79 Number 3, pp. 95–102). In addition to genetic differences, there are several morphological characteristics that can help separate the two species in the field. Read the rest of this entry »

More Discoveries along the Calapooya Crest

Cascade gras-of-Parnassus (Parnassia cirrata var. intermedia) is one of my favorite wildflowers and a wonderful bonus this late in the season.

Cascade grass-of-Parnassus (Parnassia cirrata var. intermedia) is one of my favorite wildflowers and a wonderful bonus this late in the season.

Ever since our early June trip to the meadow along Road 3810 on the south side of Loletta Peak (see Another Exciting Day in the Calapooyas: The Sequel), John Koenig and I had been planning to return to see the later blooming plants, especially the Cascade fringed grass-of-Parnassus (Parnassia cirrata) that we found there. Just before we had planned to go, Ed Alverson e-mailed me about the quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) we had discovered there. He’s been studying the scattered populations on the west side of the Cascades in Oregon and Washington. The timing was perfect, as we were able to take Ed along on August 12 to see the population in what we were now calling “Aspen Meadow.” We had been somewhat concerned with all the fires down in Douglas County, especially the Potter Mountain complex burning just east of Balm Mountain (thankfully not actually on Potter Mountain). But other than some drifting smoke above, we had no problems reaching our destination and enjoying what was an otherwise lovely day. Read the rest of this entry »

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