Posts Tagged ‘Heuchera’

Citizen’s Rare Plant Watch at Bristow Prairie

Kris checking the Lewisia key on her tablet while Betsy continues to count plants.

Betsy spotted this pair of three-leaved plants trying to trick a trio of botanists. The Columbia windflower (Anemone deltoidea) flower is trying on the western trillium (Trillium ovatum) leaves, perhaps disappointed that its similar leaves (hiding above) are much smaller.

Citizen’s Rare Plant Watch is a citizen science program that was started by the Native Plant Society of Oregon in 2012 and is now run by the Rae Selling Berry Seed Bank and Plant Conservation Program at Portland State University. Volunteers, led by Kris Freitag, travel around the state gathering information on rare plants and trying to relocate plants that have not been seen in the state in many years.

Kris contacted me a while back about monitoring the Columbia lewisia (Lewisia columbiana) John Koenig and I found last year (see Yet Another Exciting Discovery at Bristow Prairie). I suggested I join her and give her the “tour” of one of my favorite places. After several volunteers had to cancel, only Betsy Becker was able to make it all the way down from the Portland area. As it happened, Walama Restoration was hosting a campout at Sacandaga Campground that weekend, so Kris and Betsy and I joined them there on Friday night and headed up to Bristow Prairie on Saturday morning, June 22nd.

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A Rainbow of Colors at Cone Peak and Iron Mountain

The Cone Peak meadows at peak bloom. What else can you say but “Wow!”?

The ivesia (Ivesia gordonii) was in perfect bloom on the side ridge of Cone Peak. It’s also on the top of the peak, but there are no records of it anywhere else on the west side of the Cascades.

Sabine Dutoit had a hankering to go to Cone Peak and Iron Mountain, so last Thursday, June 13, Sheila Klest and I joined her for an excellent day out in the Cascades. It was a gorgeous day, and the flowers were outstanding. We walked the 6.6-mile loop trail up through the Cone Peak meadows, over to Iron Mountain (passing just a few last patches of snow on the north side), and up to the Iron Mountain summit before returning to the road. It was great to be out with good friends, enjoying the flowers and views, and not working too hard. And there weren’t the usual crowds at Iron Mountain—undoubtedly the most popular wildflower site in the Western Cascades. Although that’s much longer than I usually hike, it seemed so relaxing not studying, surveying, or collecting seeds, and not bushwhacking. I’ll have to try that more often! It was hard to choose just a few photos to post. You’ll just have to imagine the rest—or go yourself! Read the rest of this entry »

Further Rigdon Area Meadow Exploration

I’ve been so busy, I haven’t been able to keep up with the blog. I went out another 16 times since my last report in July, but I just didn’t seem to have the time to post. So—now that the year is just about over—I thought I’d try to at least post some photos from the most interesting of those trips—many were just seed-collecting trips to familiar places for the restoration work on my own property.

Looking for more purple milkweed (Asclepias cordifolia) sites in the Rigdon area of southeastern Lane County was still one of my top priorities for the year. While I wasn’t able to find milkweed in most of them, I did find some interesting spots.
 

July 6

Purple milkweed dying back at the quarry meadow.

Crystal Shepherd, who worked as a botanist in the Middle Fork district last year, told me about a site where she found “one lonely Asclepius” last year. It was a very small opening above an old quarry along Youngs Creek Road 2129. I decided I’d better check it out it myself. I had looked at the meadow alongside the quarry many years ago in early spring but had never been back, even though it is just above the road that I’ve driven up countless times. I was thrilled to discover there was actually milkweed in the quarry meadow itself. I only spotted 10 plants, but some were already largely collapsed on the ground, so there may well be more than I saw. Before the quarry tore into the meadow, there might have been a much larger population. There were also a lot of other nice wildflowers in this meadow, including tons of tall bluefield gilia (Gilia capitata) going to seed (but not ripe yet—darn!) and quite a bit of blooming western rayless fleabane (Erigeron inornatus), what I’ve come to feel is a regular associate of purple milkweed. Read the rest of this entry »

The Bristow Prairie Area Continues to Yield More Discoveries

CASPRUPENDEU@BP061114210

Frosted paintbrush (Castilleja pruinosa) and hotrock penstemon (Penstemon deustus) up on the rocky bald.

After finally spotting the hidden north trailhead last summer (see A Grand Day Exploring Bristow Prairie’s Varied Habitats), John Koenig and I returned last fall to do the northern end of the High Divide trail that crosses Bristow Prairie. We discovered an awesome pillar rock, moist forest, and more meadows, so it was definitely worth a return trip. On Wednesday (June 11), Sabine Dutoit and I decided to head up there and see what the area looks like in flower. We still had trouble finding the trailhead, as although John and I had found the trail sign in the ditch and put it back up on the road, it was moved yet again. Luckily, I had made a GPS waypoint last year. Once we found the trailhead, just a tad up the road from a quarry and pillar rock I had checked out a few years ago, we could see the sign had been placed on the ground next to the trail, just up into the woods—not much good for spotting the trail from the road, but at least we knew we were in the right place! Read the rest of this entry »

Successful Return to Groundhog’s North Cliff

This smooth douglasia (Douglasia laevigata), on the right side of this photo, clearly bloomed quite well, but, unfortunately for me, that was several weeks ago. It was growing in an exposed spot near the top of the cliff. Wolf Mountain can be seen not so far away in the top center of the photo. Fuji Mountain is behind it just to the left.

Ever since I discovered the most southerly population of Douglasia laevigata on Groundhog Mountain in the fall of 2010 (see Exciting Cliff at Groundhog Mountain), I’ve been wanting to get back to see the hidden cliff on the north end in bloom. The deep snow pack last year discouraged me from even trying, as the cliff plants would have been quite far along before the north-facing road melted out, and Douglasia is a very early bloomer. Two weeks ago I decided to give it a try, but, alas, I ran into snow before the turn onto Road 451 to Waterdog Lake, so I cut over to Moon Point instead (see Butterflies, Currants, Shooting Stars, and More). Yesterday (July 2), I was pretty confident I could get over to the west side of Groundhog, and I hoped that there might be at least of few flowers left on the Douglasia. Sabine Dutoit and Ingrid Ford and her sweet dog Bogy joined me. 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 »

Amazing Rock Feature Worthy of a Name

“Mosaic Rock” seen from farther down the road. Steeple Rock is off to the left farther up the slope.

Back in March, while doing our usual early-season poking around southeastern Lane County (see Spring is Here!), Sabine and I came across a huge rock feature we hadn’t noticed before. At the time, access to it was blocked by snow, even though it tops out at 4000′, so on Monday (June 20), we finally headed back up there to get a close up look. We took the first right off of Coal Creek Road 2133. The sign says the road is called 2133-200, but the maps disagree as to what it is called farther up.

Montia diffusa comes in after fires. It looks somewhat like a small-flowered version of the common candyflower (Claytonia sibirica).

On the way up, we spent some time at Jim’s Oak Patch, an area the Willamette National Forest has been doing restoration work on. Several years ago it was burned, and we found several interesting plants that are adapted to burned habitat. These are always interesting because they tend to come in en masse in the scorched ground, but they eventually disappear as other plants reestablish. They must leave vast amounts of seed in the ground, which can sit and wait for many years until the area reburns. Some of these plants have been considered rare, but it is hard to make a judgement about a plant that is so temporary. One of these plants is Montia diffusa. I don’t remember seeing it before, although I was aware of it, so it was great to see it in bloom and get a chance to photograph it. Another was Geranium bicknellii. According to Bruce Newhouse, this pops up a lot more than the Atlas would indicate. It also likes to establish in ground cleared by fire. There was a lovely sweep of Camassia leichtlinii with Plectritis congesta in wet spots and our perennial native Geranium oreganum in bloom as well. Several patches of Heuchera chlorantha foliage lead me to believe there is more in this part of the county than I previously realized. Read the rest of this entry »

Beautiful Seeps at Youngs Rock

Yesterday (June 10), my husband, Jim, and I took some friends to Youngs Rock. It’s the kind of trail where you can botanize, hike for exercise, or enjoy the scenery of the awesome rocks. Our friends, David, Bob, Carolyn, and Hank (one of the sweetest dogs you’ll ever meet), had never been there, so it seemed the perfect place for everyone—there were even lots of great ponderosa pine branches for Hank to carry around! It’s a rare treat to have my husband hike with me because he prefers a real hike to my flower-by-flower explorations. We were also very lucky that we had plenty of sun while it was apparently cool and overcast all day at home. The southeastern corner of the county is usually warmer and less foggy than the Valley.

Looking east across the large, rocky and seepy slope just east of Youngs Rock

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Exciting Cliff at Groundhog Mountain

I hadn’t expected any excitement when Sabine and I headed up to Groundhog Mountain yesterday (October 1). Earlier in the week, I had hurt my foot (no, not while bushwhacking over logs or climbing up a talus slope—I stepped wrong on my carpeted stairs!). I had planned to go to Olallie Mountain, but I was too unsure of my foot to risk hiking seven miles. At Groundhog, I could enjoy a relaxing day of roadside botanizing, and if my foot gave out again, I wouldn’t be too far from the car. I had no real agenda other than enjoying the sunshine (the fog didn’t lift until late afternoon at home) and spending a few more days in the mountains before winter.

Out in the sun, these creeping snowberries (Symphoricarpos mollis) have far more berries than usual. The view west is terrific, with a little fog visible in the Valley.

We headed straight for Waterdog Lake. Today is the first day of gun hunting season, and there were already several hunters camping by the lake. They turned out to be very friendly and came over to see what we were doing on our hands and knees on the ground. I thought this might pique their curiosity. We were looking for the remnants of the tiny Botrychium simplex that Molly Juillerat and I had found back in August (see Awesome Day at Groundhog). There were a only few withering yellow leaves left. In contrast, the much larger Botrychium multifidum, a few hundred feet to the north, were sporing and had large, handsome green leaves. Dozens of little Boreal toads were hopping around throughout the area, still dispersing from the massive congregation in the lake in August. Read the rest of this entry »

Hunting for Plants at Hills Peak

Pine white sipping from the tiny tubular flowers of Ageratina occidentalis

Hunting season is one of my least favorite times of year. I really resent being told it is unsafe for me to be up in the mountains. So I ignore that and go about my business, my only accommodation being that I wear brightly colored clothes. In many years of botanizing in last summer and fall, I’ve never run into a hunter actually hunting. Usually I see them driving around, and I’ve had conversations with some who are camping or heading back to their cars. Well, there’s a first for everything.

I headed back up to Hills Peak yesterday (September 11), to check out the spots I’d missed on my two previous trips (click here to see previous posts) and to visit with the pikas one last time. Seeing a truck parked by the entrance to the pika slope, I started the day by parking just a bit farther up the road. From here, I walked through the woods to the wetland just south of Road 2153. I checked many of the numerous patches of the larger form of Mimulus primuloides to see if there were any stolons like there were on the small ones at the nearby wetlands and earlier in the week at Echo Basin (see Late Bloomers at Echo Basin & Ikenick Creek). I couldn’t find a single one. There were obvious runners in several patches of the small, hairy form on the south edge of the wetland. I don’t know what it means, but it is interesting, and I’ll keep paying attention to that feature in the future. Read the rest of this entry »

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