Posts Tagged ‘McCord Creek Falls’

Late Bloom at McCord Creek Falls

Streambank arnica (A. lanceolata) prefers wet areas like the spray zone of Elowah Falls.

McCord Creek Falls is a great place to get a closeup look at the plants that grow on the spectacular but normally out-of-reach cliffs along the Gorge. At such a low elevation, it blooms earlier than most sites that are in the Western Cascades, so I’ve never checked it out this late in the year. On Wednesday (July 21), I was happily surprised to find a number of things still in bloom. Late-blooming Campanula rotundifolia is in its prime now, and the pretty and rare Erigeron oreganus and Hieracium longiberbe were still blooming well. Penstemon richardsonii was still showing a lot of color, and the ocean spray (Holodiscus discolor) was dripping its pretty cream wands off the cliffs. In the cool, wet conditions down at Elowah Falls, Arnica lanceolata (formerly amplexicaulis) and Packera (Seneciobolanderi were blooming well.

I saw some things I’d missed in the past and had one nice addition to my list. I finally saw the white-flowered Spiraea betulifolia, and it was in flower. That’s a new plant for me. It doesn’t range very far south in Oregon. It grows in the woods right along the trail, but with all the other shrubs and its late flowering, I’d never noticed it before, although I knew from others’ lists that it was there. Some Madia gracilis was just starting on the trail along the cliff. I’d never noticed it before either.

Woodsia scopulina is noticeably hairy but otherwise might be mistaken for the common Cystopteris fragilis.

It turns out a number of the ferns on the cliff face are Rocky Mountain woodsia (Woodsia scopulina). I’m surprised I didn’t look more closely at them before. I think that perhaps because they were still in good shape when the similar but glabrous fragile fern (Cystopteris fragilis) would have been shriveling up, they were more conspicuous. It does appear that Woodsia scopulina is found at a number of Gorge sites, so it isn’t very surprising. Still it is one of my favorite rock ferns and not very common in Oregon, so it was good to see it there. As late as it was, I was hoping to collect some seed but didn’t have much luck with the gorgeous Synthyris stellata. I did find some Bolandra oregana seed though and just a few Erigeron seeds were ripe. It is always worth checking out a spot well past “peak” flowering. You never know what you’ll find.

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