Posts Tagged ‘ferns’

Ill-Fated Trip up Illahee Road: pt. 1, Illahee Meadow

From the road, it looks like the meadow ends beyond oaks at the top, but in fact there is much more open ground even farther uphill to the west.

The tiny flowers of common bluecup are bright purple, but they are surprisingly hard to spot. The long, distinctive sepals grow much larger as the ovary matures.

On the second day of my North Umpqua trip (June 2), I headed up Illahee Road 4760, just past the Dry Creek store on the north side of Highway 138. I hadn’t been to Illahee Rock for 8 years, and there are some meadows on the way up I wanted to explore. I hate to end a story on a sour note, so let’s get this out of the way first: on the way back down from Illahee Rock, I flatted a tire, most likely on a sharp rock, but I don’t know. I struggled to get the lug nuts off, causing some mild panic and a whole lot of swearing, but eventually got the spare on and drove straight home. That meant skipping the third day of my trip, but at that point, I just wanted to get back to “civilization” and the comfort of my own home, and I couldn’t go anywhere on my small spare anyway. I had been nervous about the idea of going all the way up to Illahee Rock because on my previous trips I had found the upper reaches of the road—along the steep, naked edge of the much-burned Boulder Creek Wilderness—quite scary. But I was determined not to let fear stop me from doing what I wanted to do, and I actually thought the surface of the road was in better shape than I expected. Needless to say, I had plenty of time to regret that decision on the long drive home. Read the rest of this entry »

From the Minute to the Majestic

In late August last year, I discovered a new rocky meadow just southwest of Patterson Mountain (see Exploring near Patterson Mountain). I wrote that I expected it to be blooming in May. Well, May is here, so it was time to see what it looked like in bloom. On Monday, May 9, John Koenig and I went up Road 1714 off of Patterson Mountain Road 5840. We parked at the quarry on the bend in the road and walked down the road for about a tenth of a mile. A very short walk through the woods brought us to the top of the east end of the steep meadow in a couple of minutes.

It can be hard to come up with a good name for a place so one doesn't have to refer to it as "that rocky meadow off Road 1714". The masses of Indian dream fern gave us the idea to name the meadow after it. The spring phacelia was perched on the rocky shelves above the ferns.

It can be hard to come up with a good name for a place, but we didn’t want to have to refer to this area as “that rocky meadow off Road 1714”. The masses of Indian dream fern gave us the idea to name the meadow after it.

Naked broomrape growing out of spring gold. Without digging the plants up to look for the attached haustorium, it is only a guess that they are parasitizing the spring gold.

Naked broomrape growing out of spring gold. Without digging the plants up to look for the attached haustorium, it is only a guess that they are parasitizing the spring gold.

I was thrilled to see so many brightly colored flowers after last year’s trip when most everything was dried out and brown. There were lots of purple larkspur (Delphinium menziesii) in full bloom as well as two slightly different shades of yellow lomatiums—both spring gold (Lomatium utriculatum) and the deeper yellow Hall’s lomatium (L. hallii) were abundant. Bright red paintbrushes were coming into bloom. They were quite variable. Some plants had the lobed leaves and wide, fluffy flower heads of harsh paintbrush (Castilleja hispida), while others had the unlobed leaves and narrow flower heads characteristic of frosted paintbrush (C. pruinosa). With the handlens I was able to find a few forked hairs on some of the plants, indicating at least some frosted paintbrush in their lineage. I’ve seen these mixed populations in many places in the area, so I wasn’t surprised. I assume the two species are hybridizing, but it would take DNA work to confirm my lay theory.

We poked around the east end of the meadow and finally discovered a small patch of Thompson’s mistmaiden, something I thought I’d seen dried plants of last year. It is so small, however, that I didn’t trust identifying it from seed, so I was pleased to find it in flower. We were very happy to find quite a few very bright purple flowers of naked broomrape (Orobanche uniflora). Their flowers were larger than usual, and from a distance we had trouble picking them out among the larkspur. I was surprised that they weren’t parasitizing the nearby wholeleaf saxifrage (Micranthes integrifolia) where I frequently find them, but rather they were growing most often among the spring gold. Rosy plectritis (Plectritis congesta) was everywhere but just budding up, so there will be plenty of color later in the month. Read the rest of this entry »

Searching for Erythronium at Hemlock Lake

Ed Alverson recently contacted me about looking for Klamath fawn lily (Erythronium klamathense) as close to Eugene as possible. There’s an historic record from the Bohemia/Fairview area, but no one has relocated that population, nor are there any other Lane County locations for this southern montane species. Unbeknownst to either of us, we had both been contacted by the same researcher in Romania who is doing some DNA studies on the genus and had been asked to collected samples. Hopefully he’ll be happy that we got duplicates of some of the species. So although I had already collected some E. klamathense when I was down at Grizzly Peak (see Spring Comes Exceptionally Early to Grizzly Peak), Ed still wanted to see it as did John Koenig, so on Friday (May 30), we headed down to Hemlock Lake in Douglas County, the northernmost site I’ve seen it growing.

Great polemonium (Polemonium carneum) looking great! The way the pretty creamy flowers fade to peach and eventually pink adds to their beauty.

Great polemonium (Polemonium carneum) looking great! The way the pretty creamy flowers fade to peach and eventually pink adds to their beauty.

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Siskiyou Fritillary in Lane County

Last year, I discovered what is currently the northernmost known site for the lovely Siskiyou fritillary (Fritillaria glauca). I purposely did not write about it in my report about Heavenly Bluff, A Heavenly New Site in Lane County, because it has been considered a rare plant, and the Oregon Flora Project and Oregon Biodiversity Information Center had been withholding location data for the reported sites. Evidently there are enough populations now that their locations are no longer withheld, so I guess I needn’t be so circumspect.

Fritillaria glauca happily grows en masse in the loose rock of a steep slope.

Fritillaria glauca happily grows en masse in the loose rock of a steep slope. The plants spread by little bulb offsets sliding downhill along with the gravel.

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Penstemons Aplenty at Scorpion Butte

Gravel road is ideal habitat for Cardwell’s penstemon (Penstemon cardwellii) and frosted paintbrush (Castilleja pruinosa).

Hopscotching over to “Heavenly Bluff”, the rocky opening I saw from Bearbones, worked so well on my last trip (see A Heavenly New Site in Lane County) that I decided to try it again. On Friday (July 6), I jumped a little farther west to Scorpion Butte, a place I’d never heard of but had seen from Heavenly Bluff a couple of days before. While it is less than 4 miles as the crow flies from Heavenly Bluff, I couldn’t get there from the east and had to drive to Cottage Grove and approach it from the west side. It is just a couple of miles south of Bohemia Saddle, but the shortest route was to follow Sharps Creek down to Martin Creek Road 23 (confusingly, not the same Road 23 that runs east from the Hills Creek Dam), up Puddin’ Rock Road 2328 to Shane Saddle, and east a little less than 2 miles down Road 3828 to a hard corner with a large gravel area. It was almost 12 miles of gravel road, but thankfully it was all in pretty decent shape and lined with colorful flowers in some of the higher elevation sections. And it was well worth the drive to see this beautiful spot. Read the rest of this entry »

A Heavenly New Site in Lane County

The site as seen from Bearbones Mountain a few miles to the southeast. It is unnamed on the map, but I could hear Horse Heaven Creek running below to the north, so I’m calling it “Heavenly Bluff.”

Discovery really is what gets my blood pumping. I had a spectacular day yesterday (July 4), and it had nothing to do with fireworks. Several weeks ago when I was on Bearbones Mountain (see Beautiful Bloom at Bearbones), I had noticed an open rocky area between there and Bohemia Mountain. I planned to head to Bearbones yesterday to see the next wave of flowers but wanted to see if I could even find this intriguing spot first. It’s at the end of a small spur road 920 off of 2213 just south of Johnson Meadows. I wasn’t even sure the road would be passable. I was quite pleased to find it was, although it clearly wasn’t used much and was lined with a dreadful amount of the bright yellow but nasty invasive Lotus corniculatus. It looked to be a very short bushwhack through some woods to reach the opening, but it was even easier than I expected. Someone had made a trail and lined it with pink ribbons. Who did that, and what could they be doing out here? The North Umpqua Ranger District of the Umpqua National Forest is in charge of this area, and they don’t have any records of projects there, so I may never know. The trail led right out to the opening and down into some woods below, so they probably were not there to look at the fabulous floral display. Read the rest of this entry »

Further Exploration of Cloverpatch

The lower meadows and cliffs at the east end of Cloverpatch Butte can be seen from across the river.

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.

The unusual cotyledon leaves of Clarkia species look a bit like bowling pins.

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 »

Fruits and Fronds at Eagles Rest

Rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa) going to seed on the south-facing front of the cliff. The little bumps in the distance are Fuji Mountain and Mount David Douglas.

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 and easier hike.

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Peak Season at Eagles Rest

Cutleaf daisy (Erigeron compositus) is distinctive for its highly dissected leaves.

Since it is such an easy trip for me to go to Eagles Rest near Dexter, I’ve been trying to track the season of bloom from start to finish this year. It was moving very slowly at first, but I figured things were moving along a little faster now, and it was high time to get back up there. So yesterday afternoon (June 24), my husband, Jim, and I made a quick trip up there. Mostly Jim napped while I explored, but he seemed to enjoy the chance to relax. I can’t sit still for very long when there are flowers in bloom. It does finally seem to be peak season up there. The most unusual plant there is cutleaf daisy (Erigeron compositus), and it was in perfect bloom. This plant puzzles me because it is so widely scattered with no apparent pattern in its distribution (click here for OFP Atlas). Each population also differs from the others, at least in their blossoms. I’ve only seen it in three other sites in Oregon: Horse Rock Ridge, Rattlesnake Mountain, and Browder Ridge. On Horse Rock Ridge, the flowers are quite large and showy. Those at Rattlesnake Mountain don’t even have rays and look more like little yellow buttons. At 6600′, Rattlesnake Mountain is far higher than Horse Rock Ridge or Eagles Rest, both near 3000′ elevation. And it grows on both sides of the Cascades. If only plants could talk! Read the rest of this entry »

Knobcone Pines on Bear Mountain Meadows

Bear Mountain Meadows seen in the distance from near Hills Peak. We got as far as the one in the center of the photo.

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 »

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