Posts Tagged ‘Lysichiton’

From the Minute to the Majestic

In late August last year, I discovered a new rocky meadow just southwest of Patterson Mountain (see Exploring near Patterson Mountain). I wrote that I expected it to be blooming in May. Well, May is here, so it was time to see what it looked like in bloom. On Monday, May 9, John Koenig and I went up Road 1714 off of Patterson Mountain Road 5840. We parked at the quarry on the bend in the road and walked down the road for about a tenth of a mile. A very short walk through the woods brought us to the top of the east end of the steep meadow in a couple of minutes.

It can be hard to come up with a good name for a place so one doesn't have to refer to it as "that rocky meadow off Road 1714". The masses of Indian dream fern gave us the idea to name the meadow after it. The spring phacelia was perched on the rocky shelves above the ferns.

It can be hard to come up with a good name for a place, but we didn’t want to have to refer to this area as “that rocky meadow off Road 1714”. The masses of Indian dream fern gave us the idea to name the meadow after it.

Naked broomrape growing out of spring gold. Without digging the plants up to look for the attached haustorium, it is only a guess that they are parasitizing the spring gold.

Naked broomrape growing out of spring gold. Without digging the plants up to look for the attached haustorium, it is only a guess that they are parasitizing the spring gold.

I was thrilled to see so many brightly colored flowers after last year’s trip when most everything was dried out and brown. There were lots of purple larkspur (Delphinium menziesii) in full bloom as well as two slightly different shades of yellow lomatiums—both spring gold (Lomatium utriculatum) and the deeper yellow Hall’s lomatium (L. hallii) were abundant. Bright red paintbrushes were coming into bloom. They were quite variable. Some plants had the lobed leaves and wide, fluffy flower heads of harsh paintbrush (Castilleja hispida), while others had the unlobed leaves and narrow flower heads characteristic of frosted paintbrush (C. pruinosa). With the handlens I was able to find a few forked hairs on some of the plants, indicating at least some frosted paintbrush in their lineage. I’ve seen these mixed populations in many places in the area, so I wasn’t surprised. I assume the two species are hybridizing, but it would take DNA work to confirm my lay theory.

We poked around the east end of the meadow and finally discovered a small patch of Thompson’s mistmaiden, something I thought I’d seen dried plants of last year. It is so small, however, that I didn’t trust identifying it from seed, so I was pleased to find it in flower. We were very happy to find quite a few very bright purple flowers of naked broomrape (Orobanche uniflora). Their flowers were larger than usual, and from a distance we had trouble picking them out among the larkspur. I was surprised that they weren’t parasitizing the nearby wholeleaf saxifrage (Micranthes integrifolia) where I frequently find them, but rather they were growing most often among the spring gold. Rosy plectritis (Plectritis congesta) was everywhere but just budding up, so there will be plenty of color later in the month. Read the rest of this entry »

Another Currant at Moon Point

A painted lady drinks from an upturned glacier lily (Erythronium grandiflorum). Painted ladies are very common this spring.

A painted lady drinks from an upturned glacier lily (Erythronium grandiflorum). Painted ladies are very common this spring, much more so than the last few years.

Still wanting to check out more populations of glacier lilies (Erythronium grandiflorum) to see how they have been affected by the lack of snow, I decided to go to Moon Point on Friday, May 8. Happily, there were still plenty of snowmelt species in bloom in the meadows. This area is moister and less exposed than Grasshopper Meadows, and the small creeks that cross the trail were still running, although not as much as there would be in a normal year. It was certainly far drier than it was on my early trip in 2011 after a winter of heavy snow pack (see Moon Point Melting Out). There were many short, upturned glacier lilies, as I had seen recently at Grasshopper Meadows and Bristow Prairie. It seemed like there was a higher percentage of “normal” flowers with reflexed tepals, maybe half and half. Perhaps that was from the additional moisture. There were also quite a few western springbeauty (Claytonia lanceolata) and Lyall’s anemone (Anemone lyallii), although they still seemed to be less floriferous than I remember them. A number of steer’s head (Dicentra uniflora) were evident, but I only found a few remaining flowers. Read the rest of this entry »

New Trail to the Base of Buffalo Peak

How many snakes do you think are here?

How many snakes do you think are here?

Back in January, I heard Bill Sullivan give a talk on new hikes he’s added to the latest version of his Central Oregon Cascades book. My ears perked when he mentioned the Forest Service had added a section to the North Fork trail, off the Aufderheide (Road 19), that passed along the base of the Buffalo Peak. I once climbed up from Road 1939 to the base of this grand rock feature on the north side and found one of my personal favorite plants, Heuchera merriamii, growing on the cliffs. I had wanted to explore the much larger south side that reaches almost to the river, so this new trail was a dream come true.

On Monday (April 7), Sabine and I decided to check  out the new trail section. We stopped at the ranger station in Westfir to double check the directions to the trailhead and were given a copy of an area map, showing the trailhead at the end of a spur road off of Road 1939, on the north side of the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the Willamette River. 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 »

Wetland Bloom Starts with a Bang Near Elk Camp Shelter

Marsh marigold

Marsh marigold (Clatha leptosepala) and skunk cabbage (Lysichiton americanus) put on a great show in a wetland at the corner of Roads 142 and 226.

Our Native Plant Society chapter meeting was Monday night (May 20), but according to the forecast (and for once they were right!), it was also the only dry, sunny day of the week. That left me in a quandary about where to go—or if I should try to go anywhere at all. On top of that, I had a terrible night’s sleep, so I was already pretty tired. But as I lay awake at 4 am, I got the great idea to drive out Road 18 along Fall Creek and see if I could get up to Elk Camp Shelter. If I couldn’t get there, I could always walk along the Fall Creek trail. Either way, I wouldn’t be too far from home and could get back in plenty of time to drive into Eugene for the evening meeting.

Read the rest of this entry »

Yellow is the Color of Spring at Patterson Mountain

Mountain buttercups spread across many parts of the wet meadow.

Mountain buttercups (Ranunculus populago) spread across many parts of the wet meadow.

Mountain buttercup has shiny, unlobed leaves that are oar-shaped to somewhat heart-shaped at the base.

Mountain buttercup has shiny, unlobed leaves that are oar-shaped to somewhat heart-shaped at the base.

On Tuesday, May 14, I spent a lovely afternoon enjoying the fresh flowers of spring in the newly melted out wet meadows of Patterson Mountain. The long drought was making the rock outcrops too depressing, so after a late start due to the morning fog, I thought Patterson Mountain would be a perfect place to forget about how dry everything had become (hopefully the last couple of days of showers has moistened things up at least a little bit). Some nice people had cleared out both the road and the trail already (thank you!), even though there were still patches of snow in several places. I was pleased to see there was still a little snow because I was really looking forward to seeing the early blooming buttercups. I was not disappointed. The  mountain buttercup (Ranunculus populago) was in its prime and putting on a great show. This beautiful flower is usually seen to the north, with the smaller Gorman’s buttercup (R. gormanii) filling the buttercup niche in most wetlands in Lane and Douglas counties. I spent quite a while taking photographs and looking the perfect plant where the leaf shapes were not hidden by surrounding plants. I did at last find what I was looking for. The only thing that would have made it better was a frog in the photo. I’ve taken photos of frogs among the buttercups before, and I did see a few on this trip but not next to the buttercups. The name Ranunculus is derived from Rana, the latin name from frog, so it just seems appropriate to sneak one into the photo. Read the rest of this entry »

Small Flowers Worth a Closer Look Along Fall Creek

Last Saturday (April 7), Nancy Bray and I headed east to the Fall Creek Trail to enjoy the dry day and early flowers. I am very lucky to live so close to this beautiful 14-mile trail that follows along Fall Creek through stunning old growth forest. It might seem a poor choice to take advantage of the sunny day, but with the deciduous trees not yet leafed out and a number of now-open burned areas, we enjoyed the sun (while it lasted) and even saw one butterfly, an anglewing, fluttering about.

The actual flowers of skunk cabbage are quite small. Each has four petals pressed hard against the spathe and four protruding anthers.

Our first stop was to admire one of the many small roadside swamps lit up by the bright yellow spathes of skunk cabbage (Lysichiton americanus). With the sunlight behind them, they look lit from within, giving rise to another name: swamp lantern. I have always been interested in fragrant plants, and I can’t help but pester anyone I’m with to smell different flowers. It’s always interesting to find out how different everyone’s sense of smell is. So I had to see what Nancy thought of the fragrance of the skunk cabbage flower. It is nothing like that of the skunky-smelling leaves. She agreed that it was pleasant.

Another fragrant plant all along the wet roadsides this time of year is coltsfoot (Petasites frigidus). I’ve always thought its unusual scent reminiscent of menthol. Someone recently suggested vanilla, and I think I can smell that as well. Lately, I have been looking more carefully at the variety of tiny florets in composites. Coltsfoot flower heads are either male or female. The males are composed mainly of disk florets and may or may not have any ray florets. The females have quite a few ray florets with only a few disk florets. I’d never noticed this before. Read the rest of this entry »

Archives
Notification of New Posts