More Exciting Finds at Gordon Meadows

Corallorhiza trifida

Note the greenish color and droopy tepals of Corallorhiza trifida

Yesterday (June 27), John Koenig and I went to Gordon Meadows. We had a terrific day and made some additions to the plant list (John took home a bunch of graminoids and may have more additions to the already extensive list from the Carex Project Report).

Our first discovery of the day came even before we got into the meadows. In the woods just before the trail intersection, we found 2 stalks of a very funny-looking coralroot. Of course, I hoped it might be Corallorhiza trifida, but I’ve seen many odd coralroots over the years and without a good reference we couldn’t be sure and soon forgot about it. Looking at my (not very good) photos and ones on the web this morning, however, I would say it is a dead ringer. Especially the drooping lateral petals. What do you think?

We explored a little of the bit of meadow west of the trail first. The Menziesia was blooming nicely there. The ones in the woods were barely in bud. The Microseris borealis is still blooming beautifully there. Next we went into the main meadow.

The wet meadow was filled with elephant head, bistort, and white bog orchids.

This pink paintbrush seems really unusual to me, but maybe it is just a light-colored scarlet paintbrush (Castilleja miniata).

It is gorgeous right now. Things are definitely farther along than when I first visited with Loren Russell on the same date in 2003. The camas is just finishing, but the Pedicularis groenlandica, Platanthera dilatata, and Polygonum bistortoides were outstanding. John showed me some of the many lovely graminoids, and hopefully I’ll remember a couple. We went toward the northeast end of the meadow and relocated the Montia chamissoi. We found lots of it scattered through the area under the Carex aquatilis, mainly along the edges of small channels and where there was some open mud. Only a small amount was in bloom. On the way to the east meadow, we passed a little patch of Sisyrinchium, an addition to the list. Nearby, right where the trail and the meadow meet, we saw 2 stalks of a very pink Castilleja, one in bud, the other with green galeas just peaking out. Don’t know if that’s because it was fresh or if they’re really that short. It wasn’t slimy (villous) like I normally think of Castilleja miniata, but all the leaves were simple so it isn’t parviflora like I thought. The lobes are wider than C. miniata also. I’m looking at photos of some light pink Castilleja rhexifolia from my trip to Utah last year and, wow, they look REALLY similar. We looked around but couldn’t find any more. Perhaps in a few weeks, they will be more evident.

We crossed into the east meadow at the first open spot after a fallen tree. There was a lot more Montia chamissoi in bloom and not so buried under sedges. While exploring this meadow we found even more of it just south of the willow patch on the north side. Right in the creek we studied the white aquatic mustard and debated over which Cardamine it might be. After looking at the books I concur with Loren that it is Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum with only 3 lobes on the leaves. Around the corner there is still no sign of the numerous Botrychium multifidum that had lots of fertile fronds last September. There is still some Cardamine cordifolia blooming under the sedges. We crossed the creek channel to the southern end of the meadow where the combination of elephanthead and both Platanthera dilitata and P. stricta was quite pretty.

Trientalis arctica

The pedicel of Trientalis arctica is at least as long as the length of the small, somewhat glaucous leaves.

On the way back we cut across to the south side of the main meadow. We got to where the sundews start and noticed all the little Parnassia cirrata intermedia had buds already. We also saw the Lycopodiella inundata. Then John discovered a tiny white flower. Trientalis arctica! This was totally new for John, and I’d only seen it once in Alaska, so we were thrilled. Looking at the OFP Atlas, it appears there is more in northern Linn county and quite a bit by Mt. Hood. We found at least 3 dozen in bloom and many, many more leaves, but they were in a fairly small area, mainly on one particular sphagnum mound and along the banks of a few nearby rivulets. They are just to the southwest of a small clump of conifers, (the eastern one of the only 2 isolated clumps of little conifers in that area of the meadow). I tried to get decent pictures, but it was 5:30 pm by then, and the mosquitoes had suddenly woken up and were hungry (we’d barely noticed any until then). I pressed a little and also a Montia for the Herbarium. As we passed through the little openings (filled with Viola adunca) back to the trail, we felt pretty good about such a beautiful and exciting day. Who needs bungee jumping for thrills!

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