Posts Tagged ‘Madia’

Youngs Rock to Moon Point

While the lower elevation meadows were drying out, this gorgeous area, off-trail just east of Youngs Rock itself, was being fueled by meltwater from the high ridge of Warner Mountain above. Both the monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus) and rosy plectritis (Plectritis congesta) were outstanding.

The Tolmie’s cats ears (Calochortus tolmiei) were outstanding at Youngs Rock. There was also quite a bit of showy tarweed (Madia elegans), but it was closing up in the afternoon.

On Saturday, June 24, Molly Juillerat and I co-led a wildflower field trip for the South Willamette Forest Collaborative, a group of people interested in restoration of the Rigdon area, southeast of Oakridge. Their previous field trip had been to see the Jim’s Creek area, which has been undergoing major restoration work for a number of years. The Youngs Rock trail starts in the Jim’s Creek area along Rigdon Road 21. We had planned to show people the wonderful trail going up to Youngs Rock starting just above the Jim’s Creek restoration area. We had pre-hiked it with some friends the previous Saturday, June 17, but when the weather forecast showed temperatures soaring above 100°F, we felt that it would be entirely too hot for an uphill climb through dry meadows and rocky habitat. Instead, we moved the trip farther uphill to Moon Point, which connects with the upper part of the Youngs Rock trail. At about 5100′, The snow there had only melted within the last few weeks, and the more or less level trail through damp meadows would be much more pleasant on such a hot day. Indeed it was a lovely day, and other than lots of mosquitoes (not aggressive, however), we had a great time. Here are a few highlights from both trips. Read the rest of this entry »

Ill-Fated Trip up Illahee Road: pt. 1, Illahee Meadow

From the road, it looks like the meadow ends beyond oaks at the top, but in fact there is much more open ground even farther uphill to the west.

The tiny flowers of common bluecup are bright purple, but they are surprisingly hard to spot. The long, distinctive sepals grow much larger as the ovary matures.

On the second day of my North Umpqua trip (June 2), I headed up Illahee Road 4760, just past the Dry Creek store on the north side of Highway 138. I hadn’t been to Illahee Rock for 8 years, and there are some meadows on the way up I wanted to explore. I hate to end a story on a sour note, so let’s get this out of the way first: on the way back down from Illahee Rock, I flatted a tire, most likely on a sharp rock, but I don’t know. I struggled to get the lug nuts off, causing some mild panic and a whole lot of swearing, but eventually got the spare on and drove straight home. That meant skipping the third day of my trip, but at that point, I just wanted to get back to “civilization” and the comfort of my own home, and I couldn’t go anywhere on my small spare anyway. I had been nervous about the idea of going all the way up to Illahee Rock because on my previous trips I had found the upper reaches of the road—along the steep, naked edge of the much-burned Boulder Creek Wilderness—quite scary. But I was determined not to let fear stop me from doing what I wanted to do, and I actually thought the surface of the road was in better shape than I expected. Needless to say, I had plenty of time to regret that decision on the long drive home. 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 »

Youngs Rock Report

We had a lovely day Wednesday (June 8) on the Youngs Rock trail, although Kim might be a little sore after we [I] dragged her around and up onto the backside of the Rock. A tough climb when you’re forced to stay behind a desk most of the time.

Western tiger swallowtail

Western tiger swallowtail on larkspur

Each meadow was a little different and most had some show of color. The first had a nice patch of Camas, one had a great patch of Delphinium menziesii serving as lunch for an Anise swallowtail, another had a gorgeous swath of blue—mostly Collinsia grandiflora, there was a big patch of Balsamroot at the bottom of a steep ridge meadow and gorgeous rosy plectritis on the ridge just south of the Rock. But the main show of color was a Madia with large (1”) showy flowers like M. elegans. There were patches of it blooming in almost every meadow and much more to come. The Checklist says M. elegans is not a Western Cascades species, but the other problem is almost all of the thousands of plants were below 8” tall (Hitchcock says it should be 2-8dm).

The Phacelia verna had started up on the ridge and we also found white Phacelia linearis on rocky areas at the lower ends of some of the meadows. The Castilleja rupicola was in bloom on the Rock, maybe 2 dozen plants, but it is hard to tell since there are probably many hiding behind rocks or not in bloom at all. The Saxifraga caespitosa was also blooming, though not putting on much of a show. It seems to like to interweave with Saxifraga bronchialis making it much easier to see the difference. As Kim mentioned, Sabine spotted the Lathyrus on the bank below the north side of the rock, which we quickly decided looked an awful lot like the Castle Rock one (and not like L. nevadensis or L. polyphyllus). While it wasn’t blooming, we’re planning to go back in a few weeks as lots more things hadn’t started and we have many more mysteries still to solve. Kim is still working on some things like several composites of the Agoseris type, one with lobes, one without. And I have to get to the bottom of the red-veined Coleus-like plant I’ve been seeing for years in these lower elevation rocky meadows.

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