Posts Tagged ‘Leptosiphon’

Butterflying with an Expert at Bristow Prairie

Neil Bjorklund at the rock garden all geared up for a day of butterfly photography.

One of the odd cat’s ears (Calochortus sp.) I’ve seen so often at Bristow Prairie. Not only does it have two extra petals, it’s not clear which species it is.

It had been almost 20 years since I’d had the opportunity to go out in the field with butterfly expert Neil Bjorklund. Neil’s website Butterflies of Oregon is the resource for the butterflies of our state, and he was a co-founder of our local chapter of the North American Butterfly Association (NABA). On June 28, we headed up to Bristow Prairie, one of my all-time favorite spots. Neil had been to Bristow Prairie a number of times, but he hadn’t been to the small wetlands that—as far as we know at present—are the northernmost outposts of Sierra Nevada blues. He also wasn’t aware of the south-facing bald I call “the rock garden” or “Lewisia Point,” two other excellent places to see butterflies. Our trip was mutually beneficial—I showed him my favorite spots, and he taught me a lot more about identifying butterflies. Read the rest of this entry »

Off the Beaten Track at Tidbits

A stunning show of mountain cat’s ear (Calochortus subalpinus) on the south-facing slope of “the Wall”.

Most people who go to Tidbits Mountain head up the trail to the old lookout site, enjoy the view, and return the same way they came. It’s a wonderful hike with many wildflowers and a fabulous view. But there is more to be seen at Tidbits. My goal for my trip yesterday (July 9) was to spend some time on what I call “the Wall”—the part of the ridge to the west of the “Tidbits” that can be seen from the summit. It puts on a great show in July. The last few years I’ve only come to Tidbits late during gentian season. I also wanted to relocate an uncommon plant I’d found back in the fall of 2009 off the side trail that heads north from the intersection where a cabin once sat. Read the rest of this entry »

Still More Discoveries at Youngs Rock

Sabine and I first discovered the Youngs Rock trail in December of 2004, while looking for a sunny place to hike in the winter. The following year, we returned 7 times, trying to go back every 3 weeks or so to track the changing waves of wildflowers. We found unusual plants almost every time. Each time we returned, we thought we’d seen it all, only to be surprised by another exciting find. I’d been there 17 times altogether, but somehow I’d missed seeing most of the July blooming. So yesterday (July 12), we headed back there again. I was quite certain that, this time, we wouldn’t find anything special.

Pretty red gland-tipped hairs cover much of the inflorescence of this pretty rose growing a mere 5″ off the ground.

Imagine my surprise when the second I stepped out of the car, there were some roses blooming—practically flat on the ground. I only know of one rose that grows like this, Rosa spithamea, the well-named ground rose. I’d only seen it in the southern part of the Rogue-Umpqua Divide (at Abbott Butte and nearby), so I wasn’t ready to jump to that ID right away. There were some taller Rosa gymnocarpa growing nearby, so we had to consider these might just be odd plants of that. Perhaps they’d been mowed down by trail work or something. Nope. The undeveloped hips were completely different. Those of R. gymnocarpa are glabrous and somewhat narrow. Red glands covered the hips, sepals, leaf margins and more of the low-growing roses. We found several more areas of them still close to the trail just south of the Spur Road 435 parking area that comes in about a third of the way up the trail. Despite keeping an eye out for them all day as we headed north up the trail, we never found more, but it would be worth looking along the southern end of the trail. After looking through photos and the floras, I’m pretty convinced they are indeed Rosa spithamea (but if someone has a better idea, let me know!). Read the rest of this entry »

Bristow Prairie’s Open Gravelly Slope

Red, white, and blue wildflowers prepare for Fourth of July

Bristow Prairie is a large, damp meadow area in the Calapooya Mountains. There is a trail of sorts that starts in Douglas County and runs along a ridge down to the main meadow area. A wet meadow and a shallow lake with a number of aquatic plants lie below the trail just by the county line. The trail is harder to follow to the north on the Lane County side—or so I thought. I’d only been there twice. The first trip (see Bristow Prairie), Sabine and I checked the lake and explored the Douglas County ridge looking for Horkelia fusca. I’ve seen it in a few places in Douglas County, but it seems determined to avoid crossing into Lane County. Late last summer, we bushwhacked down to two small lakes hidden in the woods, one on each side of the county line (see Hidden Lakes at Bristow Prairie), and then did a little exploring on the ridge to the north. We came across a large, open, gravelly slope. As it was August, it was all dried up, but it definitely looked worth returning earlier in the year. We also found an odd dried up plant that I later determined must be whisker brush (Leptosiphon [Linanthus] ciliatus), something I’d never even heard of, let alone seen. Read the rest of this entry »

Surprise at Tidbits


Nuttall’s linanthus (Leptosiphon nuttallii) has delicate foliage that is reminiscent of an asparagus fern.

I was planning to go back to the Calapooyas yesterday, but the smoke is way too bad down there (it’s just reaching our house this afternoon!), so I decided to head to Tidbits. It had been 2 years, and I missed the place. Since most everything is done blooming, I figured I’d do some more exploring, so after watching pikas on the talus and taking in the great view at the top, I went north along the Gold Hill trail from the old cabin intersection. Once before, I went a short ways down to the first outcrop but didn’t have time for more. I only made it a mile down yesterday when, after exploring another outcrop area, I had to turn around. But just .4 mile from the intersection I was shocked to find 2 plants of Leptosiphon (Linanthus) nuttallii. It turns out James Hickman found it on Rebel Rock, but the nearest site I knew of was at Fairview and Bohemia. The Atlas shows nothing else in Linn County. The rest of my few sites are all in Douglas County.

Read the rest of this entry »

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