Posts Tagged ‘Ericameria’

Balm Mountain Really Rocks!

Hall’s goldenweed (Columbiadoria hallii) blooming in front of gorgeous rock formation near the south end of the ridge.

Fall is officially here. Soon the snow will start to blanket the Cascades, and I’ll hang up my hiking vest for the winter. The last place I just had to get back to once more this season was Balm Mountain in the Calapooyas. On my previous trip (see First Exploration of Balm Mountain), I hadn’t made it all the way to the south end of the ridge. I really wanted to check it out to see where the most interesting parts of the ridge are for when I return next year to see it during peak flowering season, so yesterday (September 22), I headed back up there. This time I took Staley Ridge Road 2134, so I could drive all the way to the access point for Balm Mountain. Read the rest of this entry »

Seed Season at Grizzly Peak

With the summer almost over, earlier this week (September 16), I finally made it down to southern Oregon. After a day of plant shopping and visiting with friends from NARGS, I spent another day up on Grizzly Peak. Most of the flowers are gone, but there are plenty of seeds and other interesting things to see, and I really enjoy any chance I get to see the unusual plants that show up at the southern end of the Western Cascades.

Red baneberry (Actaea rubra) is especially common at the southern end of the Western Cascades. Its showy fruit adds a lot of color to the forest this time of year.

Last year, Kelley Leonard and I were excited to see some double-flowered Delphinium glaucum in one of the large patches near the beginning of the trail (see Double Delphiniums). It appeared they were actually creating seed, and instead of the usual three follicles per flower, there were many more. Double flowers tend to be sterile, so it would be very lucky to find fertile seeds. This time, it didn’t take me long to spot several double-flowered plants, even though there were only a few flowers left at the tops of some of the tall inflorescences. Unfortunately, the doubles are in fact sterile. They had formed clusters of follicles, but they were all shriveled up. In contrast, the normal flowers were setting copious amounts of seeds in their fully formed follicles. Even these, I’ve had trouble growing. Someone, maybe slugs, always eats the tiny seedlings of these and every other Delphinium I’ve tried to grow. But there’s always hope. A plant this beautiful is worth numerous tries to get it established in the garden. Read the rest of this entry »

First Trips to Pyramid Rock and Loletta Gravel Pit Rocks

Sierra cliffbrake (Pellaea brachyptera) at Pyramid Rock

Sierra cliffbrake (Pellaea brachyptera) at Pyramid Rock

I thought I might be done with reports for the season, but the weather is holding, so yesterday (September 11)  I went back through the Calapooyas on my way back from speaking to the Umpqua Valley chapter Thursday night. Someone once told me about the Lewisia columbiana on Pyramid Rock, so that’s been on my to do list for quite a while. I’ve been up to Reynolds Ridge many times, but I hadn’t been past Bullpup Lake on Road 300, so I was happy that the road was in such good shape. Hunters all over the place yesterday, and one guy right in front of me stopped to shoot out of the car @#&*^!! Luckily he turned around and left and I didn’t hear anyone else actively hunting in the middle of the day although I did chat with a few old timers. Read the rest of this entry »

Pollinator Party at Grizzly Peak

Great spangled fritillary

Great spangled fritillary on double delphinium (see next post for more on the delphiniums!)

My last trip of the year to Grizzly Peak turned out to be more about insects than plants. I can’t remember ever seeing such a variety of insects in one day. Kelley and I should have realized what a good insect day it was going to be when we met a bee expert in the parking area as soon as we arrived. We had seen some enormous bumble bees on our previous trip in late June, so we were sure he was in the right place for his research.

Along with bees, Grizzly Peak is an excellent site to look for butterflies. We saw quite a few as we passed through the various habitats. The gorgeous and statuesque Delphinium glaucum might not appear to be attractive to butterflies, but large butterflies that can reach their proboscis into the long spurs seemed exceedingly pleased with the stands blooming in openings in the woods near the beginning of the trail. We saw Western tiger swallowtails, anise swallowtails, great spangled fritillaries—both the golden brown males and the striking females with their deep chocolate brown and contrasting cream-bordered wings. There were even a few skippers and a clearwinged bee-like moth.

female blue copper on Eriogonum sphaerocephalum

My favorite of the day were the lovely female blue coppers. Their caterpillar host plant is Eriogonum, no shortage of sustenance for them there with four different species. The most unusual is Eriogonum sphaerocephalum, an Eastside plant. It is found in the burned western end of the summit. The female coppers were nectaring on these buckwheats. I love the subtle beauty of both of their gold-tinged colors and how they work so well together. The female, like many coppers, is brown on top, while the upperside of the stunning male is vibrant blue. You can tell the male blue copper from true blues by the prominent black veins across the blue.

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