Posts Tagged ‘Alnus’

2021 Botany Season has Begun!

Our paintbrushes hunker down for the winter, not quite going totally dormant. Now the new shoots have begun to grow, bringing forth the promise of those gorgeous red flowers in a few months. This plant growing on the cliffs along Hills Creek Reservoir might be frosted paintbrush (Castilleja pruinosa), but the paintbrushes in this area are quite variable.

One of the small creeks at Many Creeks Meadow was running well.

Just a short post today about my first trip of the season. Sad to say, I’m already way behind on posting as the trip was a week ago, on March 3rd. As always, I started the season with a look at many of my favorite spots along Road 21, in the Rigdon area south of Oakridge. Things were just starting, with only a handful of species in bloom, but it was a gorgeous sunny 60° day, so I enjoyed it thoroughly. In bloom were gold stars (Crocidium multicaule), meadow nemophila (Nemophila pedunculata), snow queen (now with a new name: Veronica regina-nivalis), white alder (Alnus rhombifolia), slender toothwort (Cardamine nuttallii), Hall’s lomatium (Lomatium hallii), and the very first Sierra gooseberry (Ribes roezlii) flower.

I started the day with a quick stop along the north side of the reservoir just east of the dam. Tiny silvery lupine (Lupinus albifrons) seedlings were just sprouting their first true leaves. Even at this size, someone small had spotted this one and taken a few bites out of one of the thick cotyledon leaves.

I made a quick stop at the Oakridge dump, which is right near the Hills Creek Dam, to do some recycling. I was surprised to get this great view of Heckletooth Mountain, where both the west- and south-facing meadows can be seen at the same time.

The goldstars (Crocidium multicaule) that I seeded in my restoration area on my property had begun to bloom, so I was sure they would be flowering along the reservoir, but they still have a while to go before their peak bloom.

“Ladybug Rock” (just west of Camper’s Flat along Road 21) didn’t let me down. One of the sights I’d hoped to see was the first gathering of the overwintering butterflies as happy as I was for such a warm spring-like day. There were as many as a couple of dozen California tortoiseshells and a single green comma (wings open in the upper left) flitting about the south-facing rock face.

The male catkins of white alder (Alnus rhombifolia) were in bloom above the Middle Fork of the Willamette River at Camper’s Flat Campground.

Colorful Wet Meadows at Hemlock Butte

Above the wetlands filled with Jeffrey’s shooting star is the rocky knob of Hemlock Butte.

I don’t usually go out on substandard days—ones where there is a good chance of rain. It’s not just that I don’t like to get wet (some Oregonian I am!), but the flowers are wet and often droopy, so it isn’t the best time for photography. But with five days in a row of wet weather forecast, I couldn’t stand the idea of missing so many days of being out in the mountains. On Sunday (June 24), it was actually pretty sunny when I got up. I figured I could get at least a half day in before the rain started if I was lucky. I headed up to Hemlock Butte to see the lovely roadside wet meadows. If it did rain, I wouldn’t be far from the car. Read the rest of this entry »

A Soggy Day at Quaking Aspen Swamp

Kyhosia bolanderi

Kyhosia bolanderi (Bolander's tarweed)

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.

Spiranthes

Single-ranked Spiranthes stellata is much more delicate than the larger S. romanzoffiana above.

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.

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