Posts Tagged ‘Quaking Aspen Swamp’
Yesterday, June 30, Nancy Bray and I accompanied Molly Juillerat and her sweet dog, Ruby, on a trip to Quaking Aspen Swamp. Like last week’s trip to Horsepasture Mountain, this will be one of the sites Native Plant Society of Oregon annual meeting participants will visit, and Molly will be leading that hike. She is the Middle Fork district botanist, so this is out of her area, and we came to help familiarize her with the ins and outs (and, as it turns out, the ups and downs!) of this neat wetland. Since there isn’t a trail in the wetland itself, it takes some planning to figure out how to navigate it and where the best flowers are.
There were a number of highlights. Many of the predominantly white woodland flowers were at their peak. These included floriferous patches of bunchberry (Cornus unalaschkensis), Columbia windflower (Anemone deltoidea), and queen’s cup (Clintonia uniflora). Out along the edges of the wetland, there were pretty displays of alpine aster (Oreostemma alpigenum), blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium idahoense), and bog microseris (Microseris borealis). While the amazing colorful sheets of marsh marigold (Caltha leptosepala) and mountain shooting star (Dodecatheon jeffreyi) were over, there were a few pockets of still fresh flowers to be seen. The abundant sundews (Drosera rotundifolia, D. anglica, and hybrid D. x obovata) were just starting to bloom. Read the rest of this entry »
Mother Nature is an avid decorator, so much so that she changes her color scheme every few weeks. On Sunday (May 25) at Quaking Aspen Swamp, she was going for a pink and white theme with yellow accents. On the way down the trail were many western trilliums (Trillium ovatum), some fresh white, others aging to pink and even purple. Pink fairy slippers (Calypso bulbosa) were in their prime. White candyflower (Claytonia sibirica) was in bloom, and its larger cousin, heart-leaf miner’s lettuce (C. cordifolia), was just beginning along one of the side creeks. Last week at Elk Camp, its anthers were opening up to reveal black pollen, but here they kept with the theme and showed only pink anthers. The little red and white flowers of vine maple (Acer circinatum) fit in well. Scattered round-leaved violets (Viola orbiculata) and a lone glacier lily (Erythronium grandiflorum) added touches of yellow.
The open wetland was quite stunning. Grand sweeps of marsh marigold (Caltha leptosepala) and mountain shooting star (Dodecatheon jeffreyi) covered much of the area with their white and pink blossoms. Underneath, trying to get noticed, were large patches of Gorman’s buttercup (Ranunculus gormanii). Despite their bright yellow flowers, they are just too small and too close to the ground to get much attention under the far larger marsh marigolds and shooting stars. This is the common buttercup of wetlands in the southern half of the Western Cascades, but it was my first time seeing it this year, as the last few wetlands I’ve been to were all home to the larger and showier but less common mountain buttercup (R. populago). Interesting how almost every Cascade wetland seems to have one and only one species of buttercup. North of the mountain buttercup sites, water-plantain buttercup (R. alismifolius) seems to predominate. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
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.
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 »
Quaking Aspen Swamp was very nice yesterday although cold (about 50° all day). Sabine bailed at the last minute, so it turned out we only had two of us anyway. Doramay and I both had our rain pants on and were glad we did. The clouds had lifted by the time we arrived, but the foliage was quite wet at first. The sun came out quite a bit, but it never totally cleared up, and there was not enough sun to open up the Drosera, Sisyrinchium, or Gentianopsis flowers. There was a lot still in bloom. Things were not as far along as I expected. The Aster [Canadanthus] modestus was just barely starting. There were lots of hybrid Spiraeas (Spiraea xhitchcockii) as well as S. douglasii, lots of Oxypolis occidentalis, Aconitum columbianum, Stachys cooleyae (and some accompanying hummers), and Angelica genuflexa. The Kyhosia bolanderi was quite impressive and in even more places than I remembered. It looks better when it isn’t hot and sunny. The Aster [Oreostemma] alpigenus was in very good bloom as well. What was odd was no floating leaves of Potamogeton in the pond. There were only submerged leaves.
I added 3 new species to the list: Arnica mollis, a Utricularia (minor again? I haven’t gone through my photos yet. It was in the creek just before it goes into the pond), and Rosa pisocarpa. I reolcated the patch of Phyllodoce empetriformis but not the grapeferns. I also confirmed that the alders on the west side of the meadow are Alnus incana, although the ones along the trail are the usual A. viridis sinuata (boy, were they wet walking under!). I suspect the huge sweep of Alders going up the hill at the far end of the meadow are Sitka also. I still don’t have enough data, but the incana I’ve been seeing lately always seems to be in flat wet meadows, while the Sitka is often on wet slopes. I’m pretty sure the little scraggly ones along the edge of Bruno Meadows were also incana. I’m just starting to figure out alders. Unlike A. viridis, A. incana never seems to have very many flower buds or old cones. I did manage to find some plants with buds, and they had the long peduncles on the male buds and short ones on the female ones characteristic of incana, as well the dull leaves.
Lastly, I was able to collect some of the Spiranthes stellata, my main goal for the day (some for OSU, some for the orchid folks). They were scattered all over the meadow and just coming into bloom. Just before we left, we came to the best spot of all, with over 40 ones in good flower, just south of the major willow patch at the north end, northwest of the pond. We also found some Spiranthes romanzoffiana, but not as much and some of it still totally in bud. It was much heftier. I got a photo of one next to a S. stellata and the size difference was really pronounced. S. stellata is such a delicate thing.