Posts Tagged ‘Gilia’

Seed Collecting at Tire Mountain

Gorgeous farewell-to-spring really glows when backlit.

Gorgeous farewell-to-spring really glows when backlit.

On July 31st, I decided to make one last trip to Tire Mountain to look at the final wave of flowers and collect some seeds. I was especially hoping to get seeds of the late-blooming farewell-to-spring (Clarkia amoena) while still seeing some fresh flowers, but I was surprised that hardly any seeds were ripe, and there were many buds still in evidence—on the last day of July! I’ve gotten a few started at home, but since they are annuals, I need a large enough population to be able to keep themselves going. Most other plants were in seed, and I was able to collect a number of species, including several biscuitroot (Lomatium dissectum, L. utriculatum, and L. nudicaule), my favorite bluefield gilia (Gilia capitata), rosy plectritis (Plectritis congesta), and Oregon fawn lily (Erythronium oregonum). Read the rest of this entry »

Back to Back Trips to Horsepasture and Lowder Mountains

The view of the Three Sisters is outstanding from the summit of Horsepasture.

The view of the Three Sisters is outstanding from the summit of Horsepasture.

It’s been a busy week, so I’m just going to post some photos from my last two trips. On Wednesday, June 22, I went up to Horsepasture Mountain with Jenny Lippert, Willamette National Forest botanist, to scout for an upcoming trip that she’ll be leading during the Native Plant Society of Oregon annual meeting in a few weeks. Then on Sunday, June 26, I led a trip to Lowder Mountain for Oregon Wild with Chandra LeGue, their Western Oregon Field Coordinator, and six other hikers interested in learning some Cascade wildflowers. Both trails are in the Willamette National Forest McKenzie District. The flowers on both mountains are still great, but we are definitely a few weeks earlier than “normal”, and things are moving along fast. Read the rest of this entry »

Finally a Look at a Hidden Meadow at Tire Mountain

There's a great view of the mountains beyond Oakridge, including Diamond Peak on the right and Fuji Mountain on the left, both still snowy. You can also make out the two west-facing meadows of Heckletooth Mountain.

From the hidden lower meadow, there’s a distant view of the mountains beyond Oakridge, including Diamond Peak on the right and Fuji Mountain in the center, both still snowy. You can also make out the two west-facing meadows of Heckletooth Mountain near Oakridge, to the left and below Diamond Peak.

Last month I went to Tire Mountain to check out a hidden meadow below the trail near the beginning of the Tire Mountain trail (see Off the Beaten Path at Tire Mountain). I wasn’t paying attention, however, and went up the wrong meadow. Having first explored it in the fall of 2012, I still needed to get back and check it out while it was still in bloom. I had also wanted to return to see the yampah (Perideridia sp.) in bloom and hopefully collect some seeds of early blooming flowers. My schedule has been pretty full, so I figured I’d better jump on the first decent day before it was too late. So on Sunday, June 19, I headed up to Tire Mountain hoping to accomplish at least some of my goals. Read the rest of this entry »

The Lure of the Little

Miniature gilia and Kellogg’s knotweed at Groundhog

On both my last two outings, part of my agenda was to relocate tiny annuals I had seen in the past. More and more, I find myself fascinated with these smallest of plants that have such a brief time in the sun. They just don’t get much respect. Sometimes I find myself ignoring large, showy perennials shamelessly calling attention to themselves with their bright colors. Instead, I look for the empty spaces in between the tall plants. Here lie an amazing array of Lilliputian annuals that can hardly be seen without kneeling down (hence the name “belly plants”). But up close, they are as fascinating as the relative giants above them.

At Bristow Prairie on July 13, my first stop was just a short ways from the road up a small wash. A couple of years ago (see Bristow Prairie’s Open Gravelly Slope), I had seen some tiny popcorn flowers (Plagiobothrys spp.). Unfortunately, they are so similar that to differentiate many species you need to see the nutlets. The various patterns of bumps and ridges and the placement of the scar where the nutlets were attached to the style help distinguish one species from another. I found the little plants pretty easily, and, unlike the previous trip, they had started to form nutlets. Even unripe, it is possible to see some of the necessary characteristics. I’m pretty sure they are harsh popcorn flower (P. hispidulus), as I had suspected, but it was good to finally get a look at the nutlets. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Butterflying at Groundhog Mountain

A lilac-bordered copper nectaring on Alice's fleabane (Erigeron aliceae)

On Tuesday (September 6), I returned to Groundhog Mountain to spend more time watching butterflies and seeing what was still in bloom. Groundhog Mountain is my go-to place when it seems too hot to do any real hiking. After stopping several times to photograph some difficult plants like the tiny-flowered spreading groundsmoke (Gayophytum diffusum), I parked in the wide spot where the bottom of Road 452 meets Road 2309. Already there were lots of butterflies including an unusually pale-bordered Lorquin’s admiral and a fresh hoary comma where the water flowed across the road. He kept disappearing on me when he closed his golden wings and his cryptic gray underside seemed to melt into the gravel road. The first of many Anna’s blues were also enjoying the damp soil. Since I only wanted to go as far as the Monardella area, just under a mile up the road, I walked up from here. It’s only 200 feet or so of elevation gain, and there really are flowers all along the road. The goldenrod was still blooming well along with loads of Eriogonum nudum. I don’t know why these weren’t of interest to the butterflies. They all seemed to be much more interested in the masses of leafy aster (Symphyotrichum foliaceum) and Cascade aster (Eucephalus ledophyllus). There were a good many fritillaries, all apparently hydaspe fritilliaries with cream undersides. I rarely see any of the species with the lovely silvery spots underneath. They seemed to be particular about the coyote mint (Monardella odoratissima). Their other favorite foodplant in my experience is horse mint (Agastache urticifolia), which blooms in one of the wetlands nearby but not along the road. There were lots of skippers and parnassians also enjoying the coyote mint, but the coppers never seemed to land on it at all. I did see one duskywing, a very dark individual, so possibly a Pacuvius, but these little guys seem very hard to tell apart.

Read the rest of this entry »

New Plant for Lowder Mountain

Sabine and I went to Lowder Mountain yesterday and had a very productive and enjoyable day (other than all the overgrown foliage being wet and soaking me for much of the day and lots of trees down on the trail). My main goal was to find a way to get a better look at the plants growing on the massive cliffs at the top—without killing myself. I was successful and found several open areas on the ridge farther west (thanks to GoogleEarth) and some places in the woods where I could go down a bit and get a better viewing angle at the nearby rocks. I was able to confirm 2 plants I had guessed by general gestalt from 100′ away with binoculars in the past. Both Dodecatheon pulchellum and Heuchera merriamii do indeed grow on those cliffs. The DODPUL was in seed but I was able to touch it. The Heuchera merriamii was in full bloom. Though still just seen from binoculars, I was a lot closer, and I’m now positive of the ID. In addition, I found Erigeron cascadensis, Trifolium productum, Epilobium glaberrimum fastigiatum, and an Arnica (not latifolia) on the rocks. And lots more Campanula rotundifolia, just coming into bloom. No more gentians however, although they were just starting at the rock garden on the ridge which is otherwise dried out.

Gilia capillaris

Close up of Gilia capillaris

We made several other additions to the list elsewhere on the trail, but the big one was that Sabine’s sharp eyes spotted Gilia capillaris in the meadow where the trail has an intersection and you turn to go up to the top of Lowder. I was quite surprised to see it there among the more common belly plants like Galium bifolium, Navarretia divaricata, Phlox gracilis, Polygonums (cascadense and kelloggioides) and Gayophytums. It is quite common in the Rogue-Umpqua Divide. I saw it at all 3 sites I visited last week there. But I’ve never seen it in Lane County before, and it isn’t on the Lane County Checklist. I seem to remember being told that someone had seen it at Moon Point. I would have been much less surprised to see it there in southern Lane County than up at Lowder. It has such delicate linear leaves, I can’t imagine noticing it out of bloom. Now that it is blooming, we should keep our eyes open for it in open ground habitat in Western Cascade meadows. It’s a cutie! It’s usually white to ice blue, but there are some pinky purple ones at Abbott Butte.

Also, the bloom is especially great up at the top of Lowder. There are small snowbanks left in the woods on the outer edges of the giant meadow and moonscape area (still some Mertensia bella and Mitella breweri blooming in a recently melted area). The giant population of Polygonum newberryi (Aconogonum davisae) is starting to bloom (it smells wonderful!), the gazillion Eremogone (Arenaria) pumicola are going full steam, and there is a ton of Calyptridium and Nothocalais alpestris. The other meadows along the trail are largely filled with blooming thimbleberry and Ligusticum, but the Lilium columbianum, Aquilegia formosa, and Ipomopsis aggregata are very nice as well. The first Kyhosia bolanderi are opening in the tiny wetland so I suspect they are blooming now at Quaking Aspen as well. After all the bushwhacking, there was no time to go down there for a peek.

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