Posts Tagged ‘Epilobium’

Smoky Day on Tire Mountain

At the beginning of the hike, I had to deal with smoke obscuring my view, but it wasn’t nearly as bad then as it became later in August.

On August 18, I decided to risk the smoke of what had now become a terrible fire season and head over to Tire Mountain for some more seed collecting. On most of the days up until that point, the smoke from the nearby Jones Fire drifted onto my property overnight but was blown off after the winds picked up in the afternoon. I was hoping for something similar, even though I was heading farther east. As I drove to Oakridge, I was wondering if I made the right decision. The smoke seemed to get thicker with every mile. But on the way up to the trailhead, it magically disappeared! Or so I thought. There was more smoke when I hit the trail. Oh well, I’d come this far, I had to at least get some seeds—my main motivation for going out. Read the rest of this entry »

Hills Creek to Hills Peak

On Sunday (July 29), I drove down along Road 21 past Hills Creek Reservoir, yet again. I believe that’s the 13th time this season—and it won’t be the last. It is such a fascinating area botanically with a few good trails and a great deal of roadside interest. I was still tired from bushwhacking around Bearbones Mountain, so I wanted to avoid any real hiking and to instead check up on some good roadside spots and see as much of Hills Peak, way out past the end of 21, as I had time and energy for. My first stop was to Youngs Flat Picnic Area to see if the piperias were in bloom. What great luck, the white-flowered royal rein orchid (Piperia transversa) was in perfect bloom. Chaparral rein orchid (P. elongata) blooms a little later and was just starting, although I found several in good bloom. As far as I know, it is impossible to tell the various species apart from the leaves. So this was the time to check out some of the areas along the road where I’d seen the leaves but never the flowers. So my next stop was Mutton Meadow. In the woods across the road from the meadow were some scattered Piperia transversa, no elongata. The meadow itself was filled with elegant cluster-lily (Brodiaea elegans), some kind of birdbeak (Cordylanthus sp.)—a rare plant around here, and yampah (Perideridia spp.). I believe I saw both P. gairdneri and P. oregana, but until the seeds appear, I can’t be sure. That’s a tough genus to get a handle on.

Left and middle are Piperia transversa. It has mostly white flowers with long spurs that are perpendicular to the stem. On the right is the mostly green Piperia elongata. Its spurs are even longer and point in any direction.

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Groundhog Mountain Still Blooming Well

This section of Road 452 is a veritable smorgasbord for butterflies, bees, and other pollinators.

With the continued warm weather, I didn’t feel like exerting myself, so on Friday, August 25, I went to Groundhog Mountain, accompanied by Sabine Dutoit and Nancy Bray, to do some relaxing roadside botanizing and butterfly watching. There’s too much to see to do everything in one trip, so we started by heading up Road 452, which goes around the east and north sides of the mountain. The best butterfly area, a little less than a mile up the road, was really superb. The coyote mint (Monardella odoratissima) and Oregon sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum) were at peak, along with lots sulphur buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum), leafy fleabane (Erigeron foliosus), fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium), and skyrocket (Ipomopsis aggregata). What a sight. There were oodles of butterflies including pale swallowtails, hydaspe fritillaries, variable checkerspots, Anna’s blues, pine whites, parnassians, a tiger swallowtail, one painted lady—possibly my first of the season, a woodland skipper, a mylitta crescent, a Lorquin’s admiral, and several coppers, including a purplish. Read the rest of this entry »

Wonderful Wildlife and More at Warfield Bog

Phantom crane fly (Bittacomorpha occidentalis). Crane flies have a “halter”—something that looks like a pin—where there would be a second set of wings. Although they resemble mosquitoes, they are harmless.

Slender cottongrass (Eriophorum gracile) growing next to a pool filled with Potamogeton alpinus.

After some time off for my first visit to the Olympic Peninsula, I was back up in the Western Cascades on Thursday (August 18). Sabine accompanied me for a trip to Warfield Bog, an interesting wetland east of Oakridge. Last year I discovered a population of the rare swamp red currant (Ribes triste) there (see Unexpected Find at Warfield Creek Bog), and I wanted to do a more careful survey to see how much of it grows there. We relocated last year’s site easily, under a clump of firs growing near the south edge of the bog. The plants had a few unripe berries on them. We crossed the bog and headed to the northeast corner to check on the woods at the edge there. It turns out a photo I had taken there the year before had the currant leaves in them but I hadn’t recognized them at the time. We found those plants creeping along a bleached out log growing with its prickly cousin swamp gooseberry (Ribes lacustre). We actually saw six species of Ribes in the area. When we returned to the small lake by the road, we found three more patches of swamp red currant, all under trees or shrubs fairly close to the water. This is quite similar to the habitat of the ones at Park Creek I’d seen earlier in the month (see Rare Currant at Park Creek). Next year I hope to come back to see them in bloom. Read the rest of this entry »

Mystery Bedstraw Blooming in Calapooyas

Is this California bedstraw (Galium californicum) this far north of its normal range? No, it's Gray's bedstraw (G. grayanum), still quite rare in Oregon.

When John Koenig said he had a day free to head up to the Calapooyas with me, I was excited about showing him the wonderful spot I’d explored a couple of weeks ago and seeing if my mystery plant was in bloom yet (see More Interesting Finds in the Calapooyas). So Wednesday (July 28), John and I headed back up Coal Creek Road. We couldn’t help but stop a number of times along the roadside because there was so much in bloom. The butterflies seemed to be everywhere, enjoying the flowers as much as we were. One of the plants that had drawn us both to this area many times is the rare Epilobium luteum. It was just starting to bloom. Also in the creeks and wet ditch that drain Balm Mountain were perfect Mitella caulescens, Veronica americana, masses of Senecio triangularis, and some gorgeous Epilobium glaberrimum. It may have small flowers, but they are a lovely shade of rose and are set off by attractive glaucous foliage. Glaucous foliage turned out to be the theme of the day. Farther up the road, there was a long stretch of Agastache urticifolia in full bloom. This is a real favorite of hummingbirds and large butterflies, but neither that nor flowering Castilleja miniata and pruinosa seemed to be attracting hummers. Read the rest of this entry »

Dome Rock… finally!

Dome Rock seen from earlier along the trail

Dome Rock seen from earlier along the trail

On Tuesday (August 5), John took Sabine and me up to Dome Rock (thanks again for all that driving John!). We a had a great day. We went up Coal Creek Rd 2133 (the scene of a very bad day for me a couple of years ago when I ran into a major washout on my way home from Douglas County. The road looks like it has had many other washouts but was passable for the moment at least.). There are some particularly good areas on the way up after the road turns to 5851. There’s a big cirque of sorts, and water comes down from Balm Mountain (T25S.R3E.S23, Douglas County I’m afraid). We stopped at a wetland along the road first and noticed blooming Trifolium howellii, some Oxalis suksdorfii and lots of tall blooming Rorippa. I noticed there’s no Rorippa on the OFP Atlas for around the area, but I have seen low-growing R. curvisiliqua at both Groundhog and Moon Point. This certainly looked different, but many photos of curvisiliqua show it upright. I will have to study that genus more.

Epilobium luteum & Mimulus guttatus

Epilobium luteum & Mimulus guttatus below Balm Mountain

Then we made a few stops at the many little creeks that come down off the cliffs. The Epilobium luteum that both John and I had seen before was just coming into bloom. We saw plants in several other spots during the day that were probably E. luteum but didn’t even have buds yet. It seems like a good area to look for more. There was also some Claytonia cordifolia coming into bloom and lots of a Stellaria John keyed out to calycantha. Another genus I need to sit down and study. There was a big patch of Artemisia on the side of the road, something I don’t see much Lane County. It had much wider leaf blades than the ones so common in Linn County. They did look similar to the ones at Groundhog however. There was also some Collomia tinctoria on the roadside. We passed by Loletta Lakes, a very large wetland, and the cliff where I saw my only Douglas County Castilleja rupicola. So many places to explore up there. We’ll have to just do a day of roadside botanizing sometime. Read the rest of this entry »

Spring Meadow above Blair Lake

I got to go out yesterday and decided to explore the area along Road 730 near Blair Lake. I’ve been up there before with Neil Björkland on a butterfly trip and by myself another time but never had time to properly look around. Sabine came with me, and we had a very good day. Bruce Newhouse mentioned something about a wet meadow up that way that had Kyhosia bolanderi. I’m guessing that was Spring Meadow, just below Beal Prairie. I only had a few minutes down there as Sabine had strained her leg recently and wasn’t up to bushwhacking. I got there via the nice little trail to the lower of the two cute lakes and then cut east. I returned by heading north up to the road—a much longer bushwhack. I can’t wait to go back. In my 20 minutes or so I did see sundew, Spiranthes, loads of Kalmia, cottongrass, the same willow that’s so common down at Blair which I’m guessing is S. commutata or boothii, Epilobium oregonense (probably), Saxifraga odontoloma, and Trifolium howellii in a side creek and lots of more common things. I didn’t see any Kyhosia bolanderi, but without my boots (sitting in the car!) and more time, I couldn’t properly explore it.

The upper pond was also quite nice with some reblooming Kalmia, a little Sagittaria cuneata, both Spiraeas as well as the hybrid, Ranunculus gormanii and Packera subnuda [Senecio cymbalarioides] like down at Blair Lake, and lots of a little groundcovering Epilobium which I think might be E. anagallidifolium. Nice sedges there as well. The lower pond doesn’t have much of a shoreline and no aquatics either, just spiraea and some willows.

rocky outcrop above Road 730

rocky outcrop above Road 730 south of Blair Lake. Beall Prairie can be seen not too far away.

Our last exploration was up the huge outcrop along the side of the road just south of the upper pond. Along with lots of the usual Sedum oregonense and Eriophyllum lanatum, we saw lots of Selaginella scopulorum and Lupinus lepidus lobbii (some still blooming!) and some Eriogonum marifolium (also some still blooming) growing near E. umbellatum again. There were also several places there and along the rocky part of the road with Pedicularis contorta (like on the rock outcrop overlooking Blair Lake).

Before leaving, we did a fairly quick spin around Blair Lake. All the Sagittaria was done (I got some good pictures of it flowering last year in August), but there was another aquatic I can’t identify. There were no signs of any flowering structures. I know very little about aquatics, but will be studying them this winter. Could it be some type of Potamogeton?

I’ll definitely be up Road 730 next spring if possible when things will be a lot easier to identify. Can’t wait!

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