Posts Tagged ‘Ageratina’

Studying Gentians at Warner Mountain

Few flowers are as gorgeous as gentians in full bloom. While most of these were single-flowered, a number of them had three flowers to a stalk. The Cascade grass-of-Parnassus (Parnassia cirrata) was also coming into bloom, although these three buds hadn’t opened yet.

After several years of bad timing, I finally hit the perfect time to collect milkweed seed at Grassy Glade.

Since the bog gentians (Gentiana calycosa) had only just started on my previous trip to Warner Mountian (see Warner Mountain Botanizing), I was determined to get a better look at them, so I returned by myself on August 9. By this time, the Middle Fork Complex fires had started (after a July 29th thunderstorm went through the district), and finding a day when the smoke wasn’t too bad was difficult. But I was getting tired of being stuck at home, I figured it would only get worse as the summer wore on, and the day seemed like it might be okay. I drove through heavy smoke between Lowell and Westfir, just south of the Gales Fire, and was questioning my plans, but it wasn’t so bad heading south along Hills Creek Reservoir. My first stop was to Big Pine Opening to look for purple milkweed (Asclepias cordifolia) seed, but it had already all blown away, so I continued on to Grassy Glade, a couple of thousand feet higher in elevation. Not only were the milkweed pods still cracking open, but I was above the smoke, so I was very pleased and spent a little while there collecting seeds and wandering around before continuing on to my main goal.

From the end of the road at Grassy Glade, I was above the smoke that had settled into the valleys and over Hills Creek Reservoir overnight, but it continued to rise all day. Warner Mountain is on the upper right of the photo, still above the smoke at this point.

While listening to a pika under the rocks I was standing on, I admired the magenta bracts covering the filberts (Corylus cornuta) from a small shrub above me. I’ve only seen them turn this color high in the mountains. Perhaps it has to do with cold temperatures. I have no idea what the benefit would be to the plant, but I wish the filberts on my property were this beautiful.

Heading up to Warner Mountain, I noticed the road seemed to be in better shape than I remembered. When I came to some road maintenance vehicles parked along the side, I was thrilled that the Forest Service was dealing with the potholes at last. My joy was short-lived, however, as they hadn’t finished the job. The dirt and gravel had been dumped but none of the grading done. It was not a pleasant few miles going over the rough road. I was quite relieved to finally make it past the road work (about at the intersection of the road that connects with 2129 and 2120) without flatting a tire; that had happened to me once when they were grading the road up to Table Rock Wilderness in Clackamas County a few miles ahead of me, and I never want to repeat that. Read the rest of this entry »

Hunting for Plants at Hills Peak

Pine white sipping from the tiny tubular flowers of Ageratina occidentalis

Hunting season is one of my least favorite times of the year. I really resent being told it is unsafe for me to be up in the mountains. So I ignore that and go about my business, my only accommodation being that I wear brightly colored clothes. In many years of botanizing in last summer and fall, I’ve never run into a hunter actually hunting. Usually, I see them driving around, and I’ve had conversations with some who are camping or heading back to their cars. Well, there’s a first for everything.

I headed back up to Hills Peak yesterday (September 11), to check out the spots I’d missed on my two previous trips (click here to see previous posts) and to visit with the pikas one last time. Seeing a truck parked by the entrance to the pika slope, I started the day by parking just a bit farther up the road. From here, I walked through the woods to the wetland just south of Road 2153. I checked many of the numerous patches of the larger form of Mimulus primuloides to see if there were any stolons like there were on the small ones at the nearby wetlands and earlier in the week at Echo Basin (see Late Bloomers at Echo Basin & Ikenick Creek). I couldn’t find a single one. There were obvious runners in several patches of the small, hairy form on the south edge of the wetland. I don’t know what it means, but it is interesting, and I’ll keep paying attention to that feature in the future. Read the rest of this entry »

New Cryptantha at Eagle Creek Road Quarry

This old quarry may not look like much, but several plants that are scarce in Lane County grow here including the pretty pink Ageratina occidentalis starting to bloom in the center of the photo.

Yesterday (August 21), I sort of took the day off from exploring the Western Cascades to join Gerry Carr, Dick Halse, Stu Garrett, and Barbara Ertter for a trip up to Fuji Mountain. Barbara is a Potentilla expert from the Jepson Herbarium who lives in Idaho, and she wanted to see the rare Potentilla up there. While Fuji is a High Cascade peak, the upper trailhead is accessed from the same road as Hells Half Acre. I wanted to show everyone the interesting old quarry spot along Eagle Creek Road 5883 that Sabine and I had discovered after our last trip to Fuji Mountain in 2007 (see Unusual Botanical Spot on Eagle Creek Road), just up from the Hells Half Acre trailhead, so after our successful hike to Fuji, we made a stop on the way back. The Ageratina occidentalis was coming into bloom and the lovely Parnassia cirrata was just starting to open. The green-flowered alumroot (Heuchera chlorantha), so abundant along the road, was just about finished. I was also able to show Richard Halse, an expert with our rockcress, an Arabis/Boechera that I’d seen there before. Alas, it was too over the hill for him to identify. Read the rest of this entry »

Hidden Lakes at Bristow Prairie

Another report from the Calapooyas. Yesterday, Sabine and I went back to Bristow Prairie. Things looked about the same as they did when we went last year in September, but we wanted to explore the Lane County side this time and to check out the smaller lakes in the woods. Mostly what was in bloom was goldenrod and Klamath weed, so the whole place had a pretty yellow tinge. The Veratrum has had a great bloom year everywhere and there were loads of V. insolitum hanging on as well as the more common viride and a little californicum. Last year on many of my trips it didn’t appear they had bloomed at all.

We headed straight for the main lake. The Sagittaria was in fading bloom as were the pond lilies. There was also still some Potamogeton epihydrus (I’m pretty sure of the species) with some flowers. I thought I’d seen that last year, but it was disappearing then so I wasn’t sure. We didn’t spend much time looking around the surrounding wetland, but I did see a few Spiranthes stellata and a large area of Stellaria obtusa. We saw lots more of that in damp shady areas as we continued. I had S. crispa on my list, so that was a misidentification. Unfortunately, not only did I drag Sabine on a day of nothing but bushwhacking, but I had her bring her rubber boots for the lower lakes and she lost one, and then we didn’t even need them as things were drying out. We tried but could not find it. I hope to get back earlier next year to see peak bloom. Maybe the boot will reappear when the foliage isn’t so tall!

Southwestern hidden lake at Bristow Prairie

Southwestern hidden lake at Bristow Prairie with oodles of Sagittaria cuneata, willows, Cicuta douglasii, and Spiraea douglasii

We found the lower two lakes without too much trouble although we went back a much easier way than we went down. They are only about 500′ from the bottom of the meadow. The animals obviously know the best way between the lakes and the meadow, so we followed their trail back up. The lower lakes are quite pretty. They are maybe 100′ apart and yet they didn’t have the same plants in them. The south one has tons of Sagittaria cuneata and pond lilies. The north has loads of Menyanthes trifoliata and some pond lilies but no Sagittaria. The bad news is that the southern pond is in Douglas County and the northern one in Lane. I found a swampy area just south of the south pond with a colony of Listera convallarioides. There were also a couple of plants with large, somewhat hairy, palmate leaves that I wouldn’t have guessed were Geranium richardsonii if I hadn’t just seen them blooming a few days before at Skipper Lakes. I double-checked my photos of the Geranium as well as similar plants like Trautvetteria that might be in that habitat, and it is definitely the Geranium. That of course is also on the Douglas County side. The interesting plants seem determined to stay out of Lane County! Read the rest of this entry »

Calapooya Report

I’ve been waiting all summer to get back to exploring the Calapooyas, so yesterday I went up Coal Creek Road to Bradley Lake and Loletta Lakes. Most of this is in Douglas County, but it is all on the north side of the Calapooya crest and in the Willamette National Forest (just barely). They really ought to have run the county line along the Calapooya Divide.

Western boneset (Ageratina occidentalis) is a lovely late-blooming composite with a woody base.

I made a couple of quick detours on my way up to check on the Piperias. Youngs Flat Picnic Area was filled with people camping, but luckily they seem to be leaving the woods on the north side alone. The Piperia elongata are still blooming pretty well, although past peak. I also checked the woods across from Mutton Meadow where I’d seen about 30 Piperia plants in the spring. I managed to find 5 flower stalks. Only 2 had any flowers left. I’m pretty sure they’re P. transversa as they looked white with straight spurs. It also makes sense because they start blooming a bit earlier than elongata, so should be farther along than the P. elongata at nearby Youngs Flat.

When John and I went up Coal Creek Rd in early July, the road was a bit of a mess, lots of branches and rocks. Looks like the road has been cleaned up and even graded. I was thrilled about this until I got up to the base of the cliffs where the Epilobium luteum was in full bloom. It looks like they pushed some of the gravel right into the wet ditch and scraped some of the ditch as well. There were slashed branches. There’s still a lot of good habitat, but this is really upsetting. I don’t know what the official status of Epilobium luteum is, but this is probably the biggest population I’ve seen, and there are loads of other pretty things like Claytonia cordifolia in there. I hate to see them buried in dirt. I’m also concerned about messing with the water flow all these plants depend upon.

Read the rest of this entry »

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