Posts Tagged ‘Lomatium’

Floriferous Roadcut Along McKenzie Highway

On Sunday (May 13), I headed out the McKenzie Highway to do some botanizing. My first stop was to the Castle Rock trail. It is still early there, but there were a number of fairy slippers in the woods and many Lomatium hallii and Sierra snakeroot (Sanicula graveolens) blooming in the open rocky areas of the summit. The pretty pink Phlox diffusa was also starting to bloom along with the lovely Viola sheltonii and Micranthes (Saxifraga) rufidula. It only took me around 3 hours to poke around my favorite spots to see how things were coming along, so I decided to continue on east past McKenzie Bridge.

The bright yellow blossoms of Hall’s lomatium (Lomatium hallii) are one of the first things to bloom up on Castle Rock.

Another good early spot for early flowers is along Deer Creek Road 2654, just over the border into Linn County, 7.5 miles past the ranger station. The wet springs of the last couple of years fueled some gorgeous displays of seep-loving annuals (see Superb Floral Display Above Deer Creek). While it has been wet this spring until recently and many things are just starting, the sudden change to warm, dry conditions may shorten the show of annuals this year. There were quite a few larkspurs in bloom along the road banks along with fading Lomatium hallii and saxifrages (Micranthes rufidula and M. integrifolia). Thompson’s mistmaiden (Romanzoffia thompsonii) was still blooming in a few of the many seeps. The big sweeps of rosy plectritis and blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia grandiflora) had not yet begun. Read the rest of this entry »

Early But Lovely at Eagles Rest

The cool spring has allowed the snow queen to keep blooming well into the much later fairy slipper season.

Yesterday (May 5), Sabine and I spent the afternoon exploring the rocky summit of Eagles Rest. It was exactly five weeks since my previous trip (see Blooming Begins at Eagles Rest), and I wanted to catch the next wave of blooms. The cold, wet, miserable April weather has kept things from moving along as quickly as they might have this time of year, so I figured it would take this long to see a real change. As soon as we stepped into the woods at the beginning of the trail, we we thrilled to see a carpet of trilliums and fairy slippers (Calypso bulbosa) at the peak of their bloom. There were at least 50 of each in a fairly small area. All the trillium were facing south toward the light. Snow queen and evergreen violets were still blooming here as well. The fairy slippers continued all the way up the trail and were even perched on shaded mossy rocks up at the top. This alone was worth the trip. The sun was trying to break through a mostly cloudy day. We weren’t the only ones a little chilled—we saw two separate garter snakes trying to warm up as we headed to the top. Read the rest of this entry »

Fractals = Math + Art + Nature

Outcrops at Tidbits look a bit like smaller versions of the larger rock formations.

I hope you all have had a chance to see Nova’s 2008 episode on fractals that was repeated last week. If not, click here to see “Hunting the Hidden Dimension.” It is an excellent overview of fractals, where and why they are found in nature and natural systems, and how scientists are applying fractal geometry to a wide variety of applications. Read the rest of this entry »

Bloom Coming on at Heckletooth

Madia elegans

Madia elegans in all its glory.

After the bad weather and resulting delayed blooming season, it was a joy to be out yesterday (June 12) at Heckletooth Mountain. The flowering season is finally coming on strong there, and Rob Castleberry and I enjoyed seeing the meadows starting to come alive with flowers. The gorgeous spring-blooming type of tarweed (Madia elegans) were starting their show of bright yellow in the large sloping meadow. On the summit slope, they were still only in bud. They seem to be taller than I’ve seen them before, no doubt because of the copious rain they’ve received. As we returned through the lower meadow at 4pm, many of the flowers were starting to close up for the day. I was actually surprised to see so many still wide open. I remember them closing earlier in the past. Perhaps they couldn’t get enough sun either! Read the rest of this entry »

Bears Gone Wild

Perhaps I should have expected a bear-ful day yesterday (June 5), since I was going to spend the day on Bearbones Mountain. As I drove up Bearbones Mountain Road 2127 past Hills Creek Reservoir, a bear dashed across the clearcut into the woods. Seeing a bear once in a year is always exciting—last year I didn’t see any—but this makes 3 bear sightings this year, and it isn’t even summer (officially or weather-wise). A couple of more bends, another clearcut, and this time it was a lone elk. I’m glad they find something good about these hideous clearcuts. Unfortunately, there are a number of private parcels within the Willamette National Forest in this area, and they’ve been pounding them hard over the last few years, not leaving so much as a single tree standing. In fact, there’s a new one at the base of Bearbones just since my last trip there in 2008.

bear damage

The aftermath of a bear's search for Lomatium roots

When I reached the old lookout site on top of Bearbones, I noticed some bear damage along one side. As usual, they were after Lomatium hallii, evidently one of their favorite plants. The damage grew steadily worse as I headed down the wonderful side ridge. As I followed this bear hurricane along the ridge, I witnessed an increasing number of areas where the rocks were strewn about, and rootless tops of the Lomatium were lying about as evidence of their feeding frenzy. Read the rest of this entry »

Heckletooth Times Two

Sunday (May 23rd), Sabine and I led a hike to Heckletooth Mountain, right outside of Oakridge, for a group of folks mainly from the Native Plant Society (NPSO) and the Rock Garden Society (NARGS). We had been thinking about doing this for several years as this is a relatively close-in, easy access hike with a number of wonderful wildflowers. We planned the hike much earlier this year when it looked like it was going to be an exceptionally early spring. As we all know, hindsight is 20/20 vision. The cold spring practically stopped everything dead in its tracks. I did at least have the foresight to schedule a rain date, so people were prepared when we decided to move the hike from Saturday to Sunday. Not only did it rain for much of Saturday, but the snow level came down well below 3000′.

Hike participants made quick work of recently fallen trees blocking the road.

We were quite surprised to have 19 participants (one of the canine variety) on what was still an iffy weather day. We had spent much of the week worrying about the trip in light of the dreadful combination of downpours, hail, high winds, and thunderstorms, as well as the low snow level, and had been thinking about our backup plan should snow prevent us from getting to the top of the mountain. What we hadn’t considered was what to do if we couldn’t even reach the trailhead. As we made our way up the short gravel road to the trailhead, we were surprised and dismayed to see two good-sized trees across the road. Another fitting saying is “many hands make light work.” It turned out having 18 people was perfect for this situation—that and a bow saw that I keep in the back of my vehicle for emergencies. Had I been alone, I would have just turned around, but with this gungho crowd, we dispatched the road block in no time. Read the rest of this entry »

First Trip to Cloverpatch in 4 years

Cloverpatch is a great place, but I hadn’t made it there in 4 years. I had decided yesterday that I was going to stay home today and finish vacuuming, do laundry, and take care of lots of paperwork piling up on my desk. Forget that! When I woke up this morning and had actually slept well (quiet cats for once) and saw that it was not so hot, I hightailed it for Cloverpatch.

I had 4 plants in mind to find and photograph. Out of thousands of budded up Castilleja tenuis in the main meadow along the trail, only one was in bloom, but that was all I needed to get a good closeup of the individual flower. In the uppermost and easternmost meadow (off trail) I found a nice patch of Castilleja attenuata, the other ex-Orthocarpus, to get a similar closeup. Check and check.

Woodsia scopulina

Woodsia scopulina

The next plant was much more of a challenge. I first found Woodsia scopulina in that uppermost meadow in 2004. On my last trip there in 2005, I tried in vain to relocate it. It just wasn’t on the rock face I thought it was on, and there are so many up there. And with all the Cystopteris fragilis everywhere, it’s hard to pick out a Woodsia from a distance. Little did I know when Sabine and I were discussing the large Arctostaphylos (canescens or a hairless columbiana—Ken Chambers thinks they should be lumped and I agree) up at the very top of the meadow, that the ferns were just on the other side of the nearest outcrop, 10 or 15 feet away. Today I searched many rock faces before I stopped in frustration, threw up my hands and cried “I just can’t find it!” (with a few other choice words sprinkled in). No sooner had the words left my mouth when I realized I was looking right at them! Now I don’t know how I ever found them in the first place, 5 small plants tucked away on this large rock face. Near them were a few fading Dodecatheon pulchellum and lots of gorgeous Cascadia (Saxifraga) nuttallii (it was going gangbusters in all the seeps up top). Both much more conspicuous plants. I was so relieved to have found them, that they are still there, and that I wasn’t imagining them. And I now have photos of the whole area and a GPS location so I won’t lose them again. One of these days, I’ll try to search the rest of the many rock faces up there to see if there is more. And someday, I’d like to search all the meadows since the trail cuts through only a few. Read the rest of this entry »

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