Posts Tagged ‘Frasera’

NPSO Trip to Nevergo Meadow and Elk Camp

orangetip@EC062914076

A male Sara orangetip, unusually still because of the cool, cloudy conditions early in the day.

PLEREF @ ES062914000

A tiny spider makes its home between the lovely spikelets of nodding semaphore grass (Pleuropogon retrofractus).

Yesterday, June 29, 13 NPSO members and friends headed up to Nevergo Meadow to look at wetland plants and whatever else we could find. I had been wanting to bring people to see this little known area since I first visited it. I thought it would make a really great place to botanize without having to do too much hiking or worrying about anyone getting lost. After a short stop along the road near the Saddleblanket wetlands, we parked our cars along the road by Nevergo Meadow. The rarest plant here is Umpqua frasera (Frasera umpquaensis), and the population at Nevergo Meadow is the northernmost one in its limited range, which reaches only as far as southwestern Oregon. Our first destination was to see this population, hopefully in bloom. We headed down through the meadow, which was now filled with much taller vegetation than it was for my trip in May (see Early Blooming at Elk Camp and Nevergo Meadow). On the way down, we were all quite taken with a large area of nodding semaphore grass (Pleuropogon retrofractus). This is a tall, attractive grass with graceful, dangling spikelets. I’d admired it here in the past. Never had I seen it looking so beautiful, however. We had arrived just as it was in perfect bloom, with both the fuzzy, white stigmas and large, red-violet stamens in evidence. It was suggested they would make lovely earrings. As a designer and occasional jewelry maker, they certainly were inspiring. Several us were determined to get photos, but even the slightest breeze kept them moving. Since grasses are wind-pollinated, this makes sense, but it was still frustrating trying to capture the details of their delicate beauty.

Read the rest of this entry »

Early Blooming at Elk Camp and Nevergo Meadow

Mountain shooting star (Dodecatheon jeffreyi and marsh marigold (Caltha leptosepala)

Mountain shooting star (Dodecatheon jeffreyi) and marsh marigold (Caltha leptosepala) put on a great show at the Elk Camp meadow. Note how similar this photo is to one I took here last year on June 10.

shooting star flowers go through a number of changes as they bloom. Buds start out upright, then bend over. The flower petals start out forward, then they flip back. This makes it easier for bees to do "buzz pollination" where they hang on the style and their buzzing shakes the pollen onto them.

Shooting star flowers go through a number of changes as they bloom. Buds start out upright, then bend over. The flower petals and sepals start out forward, then they flip back. This makes it easier for bees to do “buzz pollination” where they hang on the style, and their buzzing shakes the pollen onto them. Mountain shooting star has flower parts in 5s, long styles, and glandular pedicels.

With the mountains melting out fast, it is time to go willow hunting in earnest, so on Tuesday, May 20, I headed up to the wetlands at Elk Camp, Nevergo Meadow, and Saddleblanket Mountain. As it turns out, this is the exact date I went to Nevergo last year (see Wetland Bloom Starts with a Bang Near Elk Camp Shelter). Last year I was stopped by snow across the road just at the trailhead for Elk Camp and didn’t bother to go into the meadow, being quite satisfied with everything blooming at Nevergo Meadow a quarter mile earlier. This year, there were just a few very small patches of snow in the ditches. The plants were a little farther along but still quite beautiful and fresh. In fact, they were almost as far along as they were on June 10, last year (see Back to Elk Camp Shelter—Not Once But Twice). The skunk cabbage (Lysichiton americanus) was especially noticeable as being ahead of last year. All three locations had beautiful shows of marsh marigold (Caltha leptosepala) at peak bloom with Mountain shooting star (Dodecatheon jeffreyi) just coming on. Along the drier edges of the meadows were lots of the gorgeous blue Oregon bluebells (Mertensia bella). At the edges where the last snow had melted there were still plenty of glacier lilies (Erythronium grandiflorum). Along the roadside were blooming Lyall’s anemone (Anemone lyallii) and round-leaved violet (Viola orbiculata). Read the rest of this entry »

Back to Elk Camp Shelter—Not Once But Twice

The meadow by the Elk Camp Shelter was awash in color, with both marsh marigolds and mountain shooting stars still in their prime.

The meadow by the Elk Camp Shelter was awash in color, with both marsh marigolds and mountain shooting stars still in their prime.

After the beautiful day I had enjoying the first flowers of the season near Elk Camp Shelter last month (see Wetland Bloom Starts with a Bang Near Elk Camp Shelter), I decided I should try to come back every few weeks and follow the whole season as it progresses. I’ve thought about doing this many times, but it is hard to squeeze in so many trips to the same place, especially when there are so many great spots to visit. But this one is so easy for me to get to, and the only time I’d seen this area before this year was at the very tail end of the season, so I have a lot of catching up to do. Read the rest of this entry »

Surveying Upper Elk Meadows RNA

Frasera umpquaensis is a rare endemic found in the RNA. The inflorescence has a very shaggy look from the long sepals and bracts on the numerous flowers, most of which hadn’t opened yet.

Last Wednesday (June 20), I was invited to join a group of BLM botanists and natural resources specialists on a trip to Upper Elk Meadows, a BLM Research Natural Area (RNA). I’d only been there once before, last year (see Finally a Visit to Upper Elk Meadows) and had only spent a couple of hours, so I was excited to explore it with people who had been going there for many years. This area interests me because it is farther west than I usually go, in large part because much of the western edge of the Western Cascades is in private hands—the result of the checkerboard land allocation that resulted from the O&C Lands Act of 1937—and even the public land can be hard to access. The reason they were going up there was to  get some data on whether the native Douglas’ hawthorn (Crataegus suksdorfii) was in danger of swallowing up what was left of the open wetland. Alan Curtis is a retired BLM botanist and fellow NPSO member. He’s been coming to this site for many decades. It was his idea and energy that got this designated as an RNA, an area of quality habitat protected for biological research. In his many years of visiting Upper Elk Meadows, Alan has seen an advancement of shrubs across this wetland. Large parts of it are almost impenetrable thickets of shrubs. Only a few areas are open herbaceous wet meadow. Read the rest of this entry »

Finally, a Visit to Upper Elk Meadows

Mama grouse with adorable baby grouselings seem to be everywhere along the mountain roads now.

A golden longhorn beetle enjoys the flowers of Umpqua frasera (Frasera umquaensis).

I’ve heard about Upper Elk Meadows, south of Cottage Grove, for years, but I’ve never managed to go check it out. But last Friday (July 8) was the perfect opportunity as I was heading south to the North Umpqua for our annual NARGS campout, which I’ve been organizing the last few years. There are several nice cutoffs over the mountains via Cottage Grove that are actually paved all the way to Hwy 138. One of these, south of Cottage Grove Lake and London, via Big River Road, goes right by Upper Elk Meadows—or almost right by. I had a whole bunch of maps with me, but I’d forgotten to make sure I knew where it was on the map, and I hadn’t bothered to get directions from anyone, since I was far more concerned with planning the weekend camping trip, which had to be changed twice due to the low snowline. Neither of my BLM maps had it marked, nor did either of the nearby Forest Service district maps. After I arrived at the intersection of Rock Creek Road and had obviously missed Upper Elk Meadows, I checked the last possible map I had with me that might cover the area: the Umpqua National Forest map. Thankfully it was marked on there, even though it is not in their jurisdiction—it is actually a BLM RNA (Research Natural Area). Once I knew about where it was, it wasn’t too hard to find, off a gated-off side road, and small paths made it obvious where people had gone in there before. Read the rest of this entry »

Archives
Notification of New Posts