Posts Tagged ‘Nemophila’

First Meadow Survey of 2018

John enjoying the view (and a moment of sunshine) at our first new meadow site of the year.

On Monday, January 29, John Koenig and I attended a meeting of the Southern Willamette Forest Collaborative at the Forest Service office in Westfir. The purpose of the meeting was to propose surveying projects in the Rigdon area of the Middle Fork District of the Willamette National Forest (south of Oakridge and Hills Creek Reservoir). Earlier in the month, Molly Juillerat, the district botanist, and I met to talk about meadows we want to survey, especially those that might have purple milkweed (Asclepias cordifolia). I spent some time looking at Google Earth searching for potential meadow sites I hadn’t been to yet and put together a list of 16 low-elevation open areas I think are worth checking out. Read the rest of this entry »

First Taste of Spring

A beautiful mourning cloak basks in the warming sun at Campers Flat

A beautiful mourning cloak basks in the warming sun at Campers Flat

On Wednesday, February 24, Sabine Dutoit, Nancy Bray, Ginny McVickar, and I took advantage of the dry weather to head out to Hills Creek Reservoir south of Oakridge to look for the first wildflowers of the season. This has become an annual ritual, as it is usually warmer and drier down there, and the flower season gets an earlier start than on my property. While most of the early plants are small-flowered and not particularly showy (though still exciting in February!), the highlight of the trip is always the sheets of yellow gold stars (Crocidium multicaule). I was pretty sure we’d see some in bloom but not so sure the sheets of yellow on the cliffs along the reservoir would have kicked in yet. While the other two have seen this a number of times, this was the first time Ginny had been with us, so we were really pleased that the grand display was starting in one spot. If the rains keep coming, it should be stunning in March and may last for another month or two if it doesn’t dry out. The first Sierra gooseberry (Ribes roezlii) and Halls lomatium (Lomatium hallii) were just beginning. They ought to be quite beautiful in a few weeks, especially if we get more warm weather. Read the rest of this entry »

Spring is Here!

An early bee finds one of the first open blossoms of Sierra gooseberry (Ribes roezlii).

At long last, we had a sunny day on Tuesday (March 22), so Sabine and I took advantage of it and went out to enjoy one of the first days of spring. I was definitely getting cabin fever with all the cool, wet weather we’ve been having. We headed off to one of my favorite early botanizing spots, Road 21 along Hills Creek Reservoir, south of Oakridge. As expected, the adorable yellow Crocidium multicaule was opening up in many places on the cliffs on the west side of the reservoir. Unlike last year, it is not at peak yet but putting on a lovely show none the less (see Hills Creek Reservoir, take 2 for last year’s March outing to this area). We also noticed the fragrance in the air. I had forgotten about that. About the only other blooms in evidence at this time were Lomatium hallii and the equally cheery Ribes roezlii with its fuchsia-like red flowers. While a few of these thorny shrubs were fairly well open, most were still just covered with buds. I was able to recognize the seedlings of the tiny-flowered Tonella tenella, but many of the newly emerging annuals were still a mystery. There’ll be much more to see here in another month or two. Read the rest of this entry »

Nemophila pedunculata

When Sabine and I were out last week, we found 3 more populations of Nemophila pedunculata (meadow nemophila) growing along Road 21 in southeastern Lane County. They were already blooming on February 18. This is a low growing species that forms prostrate mats in seeps. It does not appear to reach too high up in the mountains. The photo is from last year on Tire Mountain at around 4000′, around as high as I’ve seen it so far.

Note the differences in the sepals of Nemophila pedunculata and N. parviflora

It might be confused with the far more common Nemophila parviflora. The lobed leaves of the latter are usually larger, but they are quite variable, and do not always effectively distinguish the two. N. pedunculata also usually has dark purple spots on the corolla lobes. But again, this is not always true.

If you look carefully, however, you can see definite differences in the flower structure, something usually more reliable than color or leaf size. The corolla tube of N. pedunculata is widely flaring and its calyx lobes are much shorter than the tube. The abruptly narrowed tube of N. parviflora, on the other hand, is pretty much hidden by the much longer calyx lobes that reach out to the edge of the corolla. It was easy to compare them at Tire Mountain where they were reasonably close together.

To be sure this wasn’t just a local population characteristic, I’ve looked at flowers of each from a number of populations, in Lane County at least, and it seems to be a good way to distinguish them.

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