Posts Tagged ‘Lowder Mountain’

Field Trip Highlights from NPSO Annual Meeting

Thousands of mountain cat's ears blooming among the bunch grasses on Lowder Mountain

Thousands of mountain cat’s ears were blooming among the bunch grasses on the flat summit of Lowder Mountain.

This year was Emerald Chapter’s turn to host the Native Plant Society of Oregon‘s annual meeting, held this year in Rainbow in the McKenzie area. This is my chapter, based in Eugene, so I agreed to lead three field trips. We had perfect weather and great plants for all three days, and a great group of enthusiastic participants who were happy with whatever we came across. It was great having people with different interests and knowledge bases, and they spotted a number of additions to my list—something that always makes me happy. Below are a few highlights. 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 »

Autumn at Lowder Mountain

Summer is definitely over. The vine maples are turning on a distant talus slope, and new snow has fallen on South SIster.

Thursday (October 13) was supposed to be a nice day, so Sabine and Nancy and I headed east to the mountains. I was hoping to collect a few Gentiana calycosa seeds to go along with the samples I’m going to send to the gentian researchers (see Singing the Blues at Tidbits for more about this project) and any other good rock plants that might be in seed. I decided I’d rather do the longer but less steep to Lowder instead of nearby Horsepasture Mountain where they also grow. The promised sun didn’t materialize, and there were even a few drops of rain, but it was still a pleasant and successful trip. Read the rest of this entry »

NPSO Trip to Lowder Mountain

A handsome longhorn beetle on queen's cup (Clintonia uniflora)

Last Sunday (July 31), I led a trip to Lowder Mountain for NPSO. The original plan to take people to Balm Mountain had to be changed as a result of the amount of snow on the road (see Not Balmy Yet at Balm Mountain!). But a number of people hadn’t been to Lowder Mountain, and those that have usually enjoy it so much they are happy to return. The woods were really pretty with an especially good show of both queen’s cup (Clintonia uniflora) and Columbia windflower (Anemone deltoidea). So many forest wildflowers are white or light-colored. These show up better in the shade for the pollinators—and wildflower lovers. At the first dry opening, there were many tiny annuals growing in still damp soil between the masses of Eriogonum compositum, including a yellow-flowered plant. I like to point these out because so many people miss these miniature gardens that fill in the spaces between larger perennials. Read the rest of this entry »

Last Wave of Flowers at Lowder Mountain

A gorgeous hoary comma nectaring on a coneflower (Rudbeckia occidentalis).

Earlier this week (August 18), Sabine Dutoit, Andrew Mylko, and I went to see what was left at Lowder Mountain and take a quick look at Quaking Aspen Swamp. I was actually surprised at how far along things were at Lowder, no doubt the recent hot days pushed a few more plants over the edge. There were still a number of ericaceous woodland plants in good bloom, including Pyrola picta and Chimaphila umbellata. At the small wetland that empties into Quaking Aspen Swamp, Kyhosia bolanderi and Parnassia cirrata were in bloom along with some early Stachys cooleyae. These were down in QAS as well. Lowder Mountain is a great place for butterflies earlier in the season, but they seemed to be disappearing along with the flowers.

A single explorer's gentian (Gentiana calycosa) blooms near the trail where it can be studied close at hand.

My favorite spot at Lowder is the rocky ridge the trail passes by partway up. This is where some of the uncommon rock-loving plants occur, especially on the small north-facing cliff side. Not surprisingly, most everything is finished here so long after the moisture has disappeared. Seeds were ripe on Castilleja rupicola, Eremogone pumicola, Silene douglasii, and Lomatium hallii, and already gone from the early-blooming Phlox diffusa. But there are two special plants here that are just peaking now: Gentiana calycosa and Campanula rotundifolia. Both inhabit the north side of the ridge and are quite difficult to access for closeups. The Campanula especially is way down the cliff. I didn’t see it here for years. Binoculars are a must here and even more so on the upper cliffs below the summit. 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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