Posts Tagged ‘Woodsia’

A Day of Uncommon Ferns and Sedges

Larkspur covered the mossy rocks of Sacandaga Bluff.

On May 3, John Koenig and I went back to Rigdon to check out what I now call Sacandaga Bluff, a wonderful rocky area hidden away between the Middle Fork of the Willamette River and Sacandaga Campground. Last year, Ed Alverson had told us he found a population there of Sierra cliffbrake (Pellaea brachyptera), an unusual fern found more commonly to the south. It is one of my favorite ferns, and I’ve written about finding new spots for it in Lane County several times. I went to this spot a couple of times later year, and once earlier this year (see last report), but I still wanted to see it in its high spring bloom. Read the rest of this entry »

Peak Season at Eagles Rest

Cutleaf daisy (Erigeron compositus) is distinctive for its highly dissected leaves.

Since it is such an easy trip for me to go to Eagles Rest near Dexter, I’ve been trying to track the season of bloom from start to finish this year. It was moving very slowly at first, but I figured things were moving along a little faster now, and it was high time to get back up there. So yesterday afternoon (June 24), my husband, Jim, and I made a quick trip up there. Mostly Jim napped while I explored, but he seemed to enjoy the chance to relax. I can’t sit still for very long when there are flowers in bloom. It does finally seem to be peak season up there. The most unusual plant there is cutleaf daisy (Erigeron compositus), and it was in perfect bloom. This plant puzzles me because it is so widely scattered with no apparent pattern in its distribution (click here for OFP Atlas). Each population also differs from the others, at least in their blossoms. I’ve only seen it in three other sites in Oregon: Horse Rock Ridge, Rattlesnake Mountain, and Browder Ridge. On Horse Rock Ridge, the flowers are quite large and showy. Those at Rattlesnake Mountain don’t even have rays and look more like little yellow buttons. At 6600′, Rattlesnake Mountain is far higher than Horse Rock Ridge or Eagles Rest, both near 3000′ elevation. And it grows on both sides of the Cascades. If only plants could talk! Read the rest of this entry »

Late Bloom at McCord Creek Falls

Streambank arnica (A. lanceolata) prefers wet areas like the spray zone of Elowah Falls.

McCord Creek Falls is a great place to get a closeup look at the plants that grow on the spectacular but normally out-of-reach cliffs along the Gorge. At such a low elevation, it blooms earlier than most sites that are in the Western Cascades, so I’ve never checked it out this late in the year. On Wednesday (July 21), I was happily surprised to find a number of things still in bloom. Late-blooming Campanula rotundifolia is in its prime now, and the pretty and rare Erigeron oreganus and Hieracium longiberbe were still blooming well. Penstemon richardsonii was still showing a lot of color, and the ocean spray (Holodiscus discolor) was dripping its pretty cream wands off the cliffs. In the cool, wet conditions down at Elowah Falls, Arnica lanceolata (formerly amplexicaulis) and Packera (Senecio) bolanderi were blooming well.

I saw some things I’d missed in the past and had one nice addition to my list. I finally saw the white-flowered Spiraea betulifolia, and it was in flower. That’s a new plant for me. It doesn’t range very far south in Oregon. It grows in the woods right along the trail, but with all the other shrubs and its late flowering, I’d never noticed it before, although I knew from others’ lists that it was there. Some Madia gracilis was just starting on the trail along the cliff. I’d never noticed it before either.

Woodsia scopulina is noticeably hairy but otherwise might be mistaken for the common Cystopteris fragilis.

It turns out a number of the ferns on the cliff face are Rocky Mountain woodsia (Woodsia scopulina). I’m surprised I didn’t look more closely at them before. I think that perhaps because they were still in good shape when the similar but glabrous fragile fern (Cystopteris fragilis) would have been shriveling up, they were more conspicuous. It does appear that Woodsia scopulina is found at a number of Gorge sites, so it isn’t very surprising. Still, it is one of my favorite rock ferns and not very common in Oregon, so it was good to see it there. As late as it was, I was hoping to collect some seed but didn’t have much luck with the gorgeous Synthyris stellata. I did find some Bolandra oregana seed though and just a few Erigeron seeds were ripe. It is always worth checking out a spot well past “peak” flowering. You never know what you’ll find.

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