Posts Tagged ‘Heuchera’

Beautiful Seeps at Youngs Rock

Yesterday (June 10), my husband, Jim, and I took some friends to Youngs Rock. It’s the kind of trail where you can botanize, hike for exercise, or enjoy the scenery of the awesome rocks. Our friends, David, Bob, Carolyn, and Hank (one of the sweetest dogs you’ll ever meet), had never been there, so it seemed the perfect place for everyone—there were even lots of great ponderosa pine branches for Hank to carry around! It’s a rare treat to have my husband hike with me because he prefers a real hike to my flower-by-flower explorations. We were also very lucky that we had plenty of sun while it was apparently cool and overcast all day at home. The southeastern corner of the county is usually warmer and less foggy than the Valley.

Looking east across the large, rocky and seepy slope just east of Youngs Rock

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Exciting Cliff at Groundhog Mountain

I hadn’t expected any excitement when Sabine and I headed up to Groundhog Mountain yesterday (October 1). Earlier in the week, I had hurt my foot (no, not while bushwhacking over logs or climbing up a talus slope—I stepped wrong on my carpeted stairs!). I had planned to go to Olallie Mountain, but I was too unsure of my foot to risk hiking seven miles. At Groundhog, I could enjoy a relaxing day of roadside botanizing, and if my foot gave out again, I wouldn’t be too far from the car. I had no real agenda other than enjoying the sunshine (the fog didn’t lift until late afternoon at home) and spending a few more days in the mountains before winter.

Out in the sun, these creeping snowberries (Symphoricarpos mollis) have far more berries than usual. The view west is terrific, with a little fog visible in the Valley.

We headed straight for Waterdog Lake. Today is the first day of gun hunting season, and there were already several hunters camping by the lake. They turned out to be very friendly and came over to see what we were doing on our hands and knees on the ground. I thought this might pique their curiosity. We were looking for the remnants of the tiny Botrychium simplex that Molly Juillerat and I had found back in August (see Awesome Day at Groundhog). There were only a few withering yellow leaves left. In contrast, the much larger Botrychium multifidum, a few hundred feet to the north, were sporing and had large, handsome green leaves. Dozens of little Boreal toads were hopping around throughout the area, still dispersing from the massive congregation in the lake in August. 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 »

Last Wave of Flowers at Grasshopper Meadows

Yesterday (September 2), Sabine and I spent a relaxing and low-key day at Grasshopper Meadows. No exciting finds or multitudes of flowers, just a day out enjoying the wide open meadows and blue sky above. After a week off for inclement weather and other chores, it was just nice to get out again. It was very different than our other trip in June (see First Wave of Flowers at Grasshopper Meadows). Then everything was fresh and barely up out of the ground. Now, most things are fading, the grasses are taking on a warmer tone, and many things, especially the early annuals, are completely dried out. It’s a fun challenge trying to recognize plants at this stage.

Asters put on the last great show of flowers in the meadow.

The foliage was still quite wet from rain the day before but was much drier out in the open meadow where surprisingly strong winds were blowing. It’s aster time in the meadow and little else was blooming. Most of the asters appeared to be western aster (Symphyotrichum spathulatum, formerly Aster occidentalis) with small, even-sized phyllaries, but this often mixes with leafy aster (S. foliaceum) with its much larger outer phyllaries, and there was certainly some variety in the larger sweeps of lavender. I would have expected a lot more butterflies, but the wind was too much for them except near the eastern edge where it was blocked by the trees. Read the rest of this entry »

Third Trip to Loletta Peak

The interesting rock formations just north of Loletta Lakes and “Loletta Peak” are home to Heuchera merriamii and Penstemon rupicola.

Saturday (August 7), I returned to Loletta Peak, primarily to look for female plants of the dioecious Galium grayanum I had discovered three weeks ago (see More Interesting Finds in the Calapooyas). There was still plenty blooming along the roadside. The masses of pale yellow Epilobium luteum were almost at peak as was the nice stretch of Artemisia douglasiana. For the first time, I saw the two look-alikes, Stellaria crispa and S. obtusa growing side by side in the damp ditch. At a glance, it was easy to spot the difference between the tight, almost prostrate stems of S. obtusa and the lax but more upright stems of S. crispa with widely spread out leaves. There seemed to be lots of trucks driving around the normally empty roads. Hunting season is coming up, and, alas, this is a popular place for hunting. I met one nice young man out scouting with his daughter. He quickly figured out that I “probably didn’t like that sort of thing.” I replied that I enjoy seeing animals alive in the wild, but we had a pleasant conversation about the road conditions and nearby wet meadows. He was obviously very familiar with the area, too, but looked at it from a different viewpoint. 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 »

Park Creek Flowers

If any of you are going to hike the Three Pyramids trail or just driving along Hwy 22 and want to do some roadside botanizing, be sure to check out the Park Creek area (also known as The Parks). I stopped by there for a quick look this weekend on my way back from visiting some wet meadows in Clackamas County. I wish I’d had more time as it was really colorful. To get there, head north of Santiam Junction on Hwy 22 for 4.6 miles. Turn left onto Lava Lake Meadow Road 2067. There will be a sign for “Old Cacades trails”.

Park Creek

Gorgeous flowers blooming along Park Creek

At about .9 mile, there’s a long stretch of blooming Horkelia fusca along the righthand side of the road. At an intersection on the right about .2 mile farther, a large patch of Heuchera chlorantha is all budded up. These are 2 plants I rarely see. There are Platanthera stricta and fading Dodecatheon jeffreyi and many other things in the wet ditches on the sides of the road from here to the bridge, another .7 mile away. From the bridge you can get down to the creek and some wet areas on either side of the road. There are willows and Viburnum edule (both finished blooming) and lots of Trautvetteria caroliniensis in bloom. Take a right after the bridge and in about .2 mile you’ll see a side road going off to the left. Park around here and walk down to the creek on your right. On 4th of July, I was greeted by a patriotic display of red Castilleja miniata (a few Castilleja suksdorfii are also starting), loads of white cow parsnip on the far side of the creek and gorgeous blue-purple Lupinus polyphyllus. There is also a lot of fresh Senecio (Packera) pseudaurea, Platanthera dilatata, Sisyrinchium angustifolium, and lots more to see there. A month ago, I was in this area, and it was filled with blooming willows, Lonicera caerulea, and L. involucrata, Caltha leptosepala, and Viola adunca. Later in the year there is white Ranunculus aquatilis in the creek and goldenrod on the banks. It has a long season of great bloom, good butterflies, and the winding creek is really beautiful. The far bank has lots of dwarf birch and there are many other interesting shrubs in the area.

I didn’t have time to go farther this time, but usually I go to the next bridge 1.75 miles after the first bridge. Lots of lupines, Viburnum edule, and other pretty things there as well. There are places you can explore much farther into the creek basin if you have all day. If you are continuing on to the Three Pyramids trailhead, check out the meadow at an intersection 1.2 miles farther up the road. Lots of flowers including more Horkelia fusca. I used to always stop briefly on my way to and from the trailhead, but now I realize the roadside and creekside plants are worth a whole day on their own.

New Plant for Lowder Mountain

Sabine and I went to Lowder Mountain yesterday and had a very productive and enjoyable day (other than all the overgrown foliage being wet and soaking me for much of the day and lots of trees down on the trail). My main goal was to find a way to get a better look at the plants growing on the massive cliffs at the top—without killing myself. I was successful and found several open areas on the ridge farther west (thanks to GoogleEarth) and some places in the woods where I could go down a bit and get a better viewing angle at the nearby rocks. I was able to confirm 2 plants I had guessed by general gestalt from 100′ away with binoculars in the past. Both Dodecatheon pulchellum and Heuchera merriamii do indeed grow on those cliffs. The DODPUL was in seed but I was able to touch it. The Heuchera merriamii was in full bloom. Though still just seen from binoculars, I was a lot closer, and I’m now positive of the ID. In addition, I found Erigeron cascadensis, Trifolium productum, Epilobium glaberrimum fastigiatum, and an Arnica (not latifolia) on the rocks. And lots more Campanula rotundifolia, just coming into bloom. No more gentians however, although they were just starting at the rock garden on the ridge which is otherwise dried out.

Gilia capillaris

Close up of Gilia capillaris

We made several other additions to the list elsewhere on the trail, but the big one was that Sabine’s sharp eyes spotted Gilia capillaris in the meadow where the trail has an intersection and you turn to go up to the top of Lowder. I was quite surprised to see it there among the more common belly plants like Galium bifolium, Navarretia divaricata, Phlox gracilis, Polygonums (cascadense and kelloggioides) and Gayophytums. It is quite common in the Rogue-Umpqua Divide. I saw it at all 3 sites I visited last week there. But I’ve never seen it in Lane County before, and it isn’t on the Lane County Checklist. I seem to remember being told that someone had seen it at Moon Point. I would have been much less surprised to see it there in southern Lane County than up at Lowder. It has such delicate linear leaves, I can’t imagine noticing it out of bloom. Now that it is blooming, we should keep our eyes open for it in open ground habitat in Western Cascade meadows. It’s a cutie! It’s usually white to ice blue, but there are some pinky purple ones at Abbott Butte.

Also, the bloom is especially great up at the top of Lowder. There are small snowbanks left in the woods on the outer edges of the giant meadow and moonscape area (still some Mertensia bella and Mitella breweri blooming in a recently melted area). The giant population of Polygonum newberryi (Aconogonum davisae) is starting to bloom (it smells wonderful!), the gazillion Eremogone (Arenaria) pumicola are going full steam, and there is a ton of Calyptridium and Nothocalais alpestris. The other meadows along the trail are largely filled with blooming thimbleberry and Ligusticum, but the Lilium columbianum, Aquilegia formosa, and Ipomopsis aggregata are very nice as well. The first Kyhosia bolanderi are opening in the tiny wetland so I suspect they are blooming now at Quaking Aspen as well. After all the bushwhacking, there was no time to go down there for a peek.

Unusual Botanical Spot on Eagle Creek Road

It is easy to find the green flowered-alumroot (Heuchera chlorantha) along Eagle Creek Road.

Sabine and I had another exciting day in the field yesterday, checking on Fuji Mtn to see how it might be if we offer a hike there for next year’s NPSO Annual Meeting. Our major excitement was when we did some roadside botanizing on the way back from Fuji. We stopped to look at the oodles of white bog orchids in a ditch and discovered lots of other wonderful plants including a little Stenanthium and Parnassia. Just a little farther down the road at MP6, I was shocked to see hundreds of Heuchera chlorantha in bloom on the steep roadbank. I have it in the garden, but in all my wandering have never seen it in the wild. I noticed most of the Lane County sightings are from Bruce Newhouse. Loren Russell tells me he saws it long ago along the bottom of the road to Moon Point. I’ve gone up that road dozens of times, but I’ll look again. Read the rest of this entry »

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