Posts Tagged ‘Geranium’

First Botanizing Trip of 2024

While looking at the flowers on the cliffs, Lauren spotted a bald eagle sitting in a dead tree above us!

Sadly, the population of shining geranium (Geranium lucidum) at the base of the cliffs near milepost 7 is starting to spread up onto the rocks despite attempts to remove it. Here you can see how similar the geranium leaves (bottom) are to the lovely native California mistmaiden (Romanzoffia californica, top) that grows abundantly there. I tried to at least pull out the ones on the cliff so no one else would accidentally pull the mistmaiden. We looked carefully at the leaves and noted good distinguishing marks are the small tips on the lobes of the glabrous mistmaiden leaves vs. rounded lobes on the slightly hairy leaves of the geranium.

As is my tradition, my first botanizing of the year was to Hills Creek Reservoir south of Oakridge on March 17th. It’s such a relaxing way to start the year. I was joined by fellow Native Plant Society of Oregon (NPSO) members Nancy Bray and Lauren Meyer. We made a number of stops along Road 21 as far as Big Pine Opening across from the bridge that leads to Coal Creek and Staley Creek roads. It didn’t seem worth going any farther as there were still patches of snow in the ditches. Lots of snow up higher as well. It was a lovely warm day, however, and we enjoyed the beautiful gold stars (Crocidium multicaule) and other early flowers. And while not abundant, we did see four species of butterflies: California tortoiseshells, unidentified blues, an anglewing, and a mourning cloak. Seeing butterflies always starts my spring fever. Here are some photos of our (mostly) pleasant day. Read the rest of this entry »

Exploring the Meadows by Hills Creek Dam

A couple of weeks ago, Sabine Dutoit and I spent a little while along Kitson Springs Road 23, just east of the dam on Hills Creek Reservoir (see Late Start to a New Year of Botanizing). I hadn’t ever been to several meadows hidden from the road, so I decided that would be a good trip to do May 8 after getting a late start getting out in the morning—no gravel driving and relatively close to home.

From the meadows above Road 23, there’s a wonderful view to the south of a very full (!) Hills Creek Reservoir.

Read the rest of this entry »

Geraniums and Butterflies Along Road 21

Dan and Nancy enjoy the show of beautiful Oregon geraniums right by the main road.

Geranium oreganum has very large, very bright pink flowers. How could I have passed by this spot so many times and never seen these?!

Monday (June 11) was another day of leisurely roadside botanizing southeast of Oakridge for me, along with Sabine Dutoit, Nancy Bray, and Dan Thomas. We stopped at many of our usual sites, including the cliffs by the reservoir, Youngs Flat Picnic Area, Mutton Meadow, Jim’s Oak Patch, Skunk Creek by Road 400, several unnamed meadows, and even briefly up to the amazing “Mosaic Rock” Sabine and I discovered last year (see Amazing Rock Feature Worthy of a Name). One of the most prominent plants of the day is one I rarely see, Oregon geranium (Geranium oreganum). There used to be a plant on my property, but I haven’t seen it for years. I probably drive down Road 21 at least a dozen times every year, year after year, yet I was totally surprised when we came upon a grassy spot along the road just past Secret Campground that was filled with blooming geraniums. The only thing that might explain how I’ve missed these is that perhaps they have a short season of bloom. We stopped to take a look and saw several butterflies among the pretty flowers, including a great arctic. I got what I thought was a nice photo of a female silvery blue that Nancy had spotted. Sadly, when I saw it blown up on my computer, it turns out she was in the death grip of a crab spider. Read the rest of this entry »

Mysteries of Cotyledon Leaves

Over the last year or two, I’ve found a new challenge to amuse myself—learning to identify plants by their cotyledon leaves. Dicots get their name from the two cotyledon leaves that emerge from a newly germinated seed. This first pair of leaves often, if not usually, bears no resemblance to the regular leaves found later on the plant. Most likely, the form of these leaves is defined more by the shape or some other characteristic of the seed. Typically, they are more or less oval. Sometimes they have distinct petioles, sometimes they are sessile. One would be hard pressed to identify these unless they were growing in quantity under the mother plant. Some plants, however, have very unusual cotyledon leaves. These really pique my curiosity.

Lotus micranthus

The compound true leaves of two tiny Lotus micranthus solve the puzzle of the red-striped cotyledons

Oemleria cerasiformis?

Might these waterlily-like cotyledons belong to Oemleria cerasiformis? Note also the tiny Nemophila parviflora with its cotyledon leaves still attached.

A couple of years ago, while out on Heckletooth Mountain just east of Oakridge in the fall, some little cotyledon leaves caught my eye. While the shape of the leaf was fairly generic, each one had a distinct red stripe starting at the base and going halfway up the leaf. What could they be? There were plenty of them, and I surmised they were one of many common annuals growing on this low elevation mountain. I brought one home and put it in a pot, hoping to find my answer in the spring. Naturally, I forgot about it over the winter. The following spring, however, there it was again on Tire Mountain, this time with the first true leaf appearing. It was Lotus micranthus, a little annual member of the clover family that is abundant on many of the lower elevation mountains in the area. What a surprise! I checked my pot when I got home, and sure enough, there was a tiny Lotus micranthus. Since then I’ve seen it several times with both the red-striped cotyledon leaves and the first tiny compound true leaves. The stems are red, so perhaps this has something to do with the unusual red stripe on the cotyledons. Read the rest of this entry »

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