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Author Topic: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California  (Read 80648 times)

Robert

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #30 on: February 03, 2017, 11:37:07 PM »
SNOW MOUNTAIN
Mill Creek & Tough Springs Ridge

Part I

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Sacramento Weather

Weather: Cloudy
Temperature, High:56 F, 13.5 C
                      Low:43 F, 6 C

Placerville Weather

Weather: Cloudy
Temperature, High:66 F, 19 C
                      Low:37 F, 2.5 C

After the outing last week, I quickly decided that I wanted to return to the Snow Mountain region in Colusa County, California. With the "normal" wintertime weather this season, the early spring wildflowers have not started to bloom in the Sierra Nevada Foothills. The Snow Mountain region is botanically rich and quite fascinating, but it is relatively cold there too. Most likely not much would be in bloom in this area either. I am quite determined to get well acquainted with the Snow Mountain region in all its season. This would be a good opportunity to explore the lower canyons and ridges well below the summit of Snow Mountain.



I started out early on Wednesday morning from Sacramento again accompanied by my companion Dalton. When we arrived in Mendocino National Forest we checked the maps and decided to explore the burned over chaparral south of Fouts Springs up the east side of the Mill Creek drainage. The mountains in this region rise quickly and steeply. The trail we choose was no exception.

The morning was very overcast and cool, 44 F, 6.5 C.



Arctostaphylos manzanita ssp. manzanita, Common Manzanita, was seen frequently at the lower elevations (starting elevation, 1,652 feet, 504 meters) as we started up the mountain. The growing season in this area is at least a month or more behind the southern end of the Northern Coastal Mountains where it have spent the last month or more exploring. The nascent flower buds of this species were just starting to open. This same species was in full bloom a month ago 50 miles to the south.



Another Manzanita species seen as we started out was Arctostaphylos glandulosa ssp. cushingiana.



Quercus palmeri was a commonly seen "dwarf" Oak species in the chaparral as we climbed up the mountain. This species has a distinctive acorn cap, so it is easy to identify this species if the caps can be found.



Before starting the steep ascent, we followed Mill Creek for a short distance. Occasionally there were the dried remains of a Wyethia species, either helenioides or glabra.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2017, 07:49:29 AM by Robert »
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
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Robert

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #31 on: February 04, 2017, 12:32:53 AM »


Along this lower stretch of the trail I found a few specimens of Eriogonum wrightii var. subscaposum. This variety of the species is not known from this region, however the specimens I saw did seem to match the variety subscaposum.



The trail was rising quickly and Mill Creek started to disappear into the canyon below. Before this area burned this mountainside was a tapestry of chaparral and small areas of Knobcone Pine, Pinus attenuata, forest. In the photograph the burned remains of Knobcone Pine can be seen.



Arctostaphylos glandulosa ssp. cushingiana was a species that we were going to see all day as we ascended and then descended the mountain. This burled taxon has short white non-glandular hairs on its young branched. This characteristic was quite variable among the plants I observed this day, some plants being thickly hairy, others somewhat sparsely hairy.



Another distinctive characteristic of Arctostaphylos glandulosa ssp. cushingiana are the leaf-like bracts on the inflorescence.



Most of the chaparral in this area consisted of Chamise, Adenostoma fasciculatum. Occasionally we would see Toyon, Heteromeles arbutifolia. In most cases, most of the berries had been stripped by birds from the plants we saw.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2017, 06:55:40 AM by Robert »
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #32 on: February 04, 2017, 07:13:06 PM »


The trail, if you want to call it that, was very steep. At times we needed both hands and feet to "climb" up the trail. The vistas were superb. This photograph is of the upper Mill Creek drainage.



Across the valley to the north Saint John Mountain is a prominent landmark.



As we approached the snowline, at about 2,950 feet (899 meters), the trail started to enter a pine-oak forest (Quercus chrysolepis and Pinus attenuata). The fire had only partly burned the vegetation in this forest.

We had just hiked through an extensive stretch of chaparral. This stretch of chaparral was noteworthy in its lack of diversity - even invasive species! Bromus madritensis (pictured) was one of the few grass species that grew along this trail. I noted very few bulbs - one Themidaceae species and a Toxicoscordion. Chamise, Adenostoma fasciculatum, dominated this chaparral plant community.



Right before we entered the forest we found a nice colony of Ribes malvaceum var. malvaceum in bloom.



It is such an attractive species. I have never grown it in our gardens, however it would most likely thrive in our hot inland gardens.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
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If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Hoy

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #33 on: February 05, 2017, 08:20:08 AM »
Robert,

Once more a nice outing!

I wonder, is ribes always flowering that early  - seems to be among the first spring bloomers? I have a Ribes rubra in the garden and it is not that early!
I like the oak also Q. palmeri reminds me of holly which is common around here.
Trond Hoy, gardening on the rainy west coast of Norway.

Robert

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #34 on: February 05, 2017, 09:06:55 AM »
SNOW MOUNTAIN
Mill Creek & Tough Springs Ridge

Part II



Many Ceanothus species are obligate seeders, and require fire to stimulate seed germination. Within this burn area there where very few Ceanothus species regenerating themselves in any manner.

Pictured is a health specimen of Ceanothus parryi seen within a burned out portion of the forest high on the ridge.



Ceanothus parryi as well as Ceanothus cuneatus (pictured), C. oliganthus, and C. jepsonii were seen all along our route, however never in quantity.



In addition, I found only one specimen of Frangula californica ssp. tomentella all day. In general, I would expect to find more in this type of habitat.



Arctostaphylos glandulosa ssp. cushiniana is often found in mixed populations with A. glandulosa ssp. glandulosa. Here they can be seen growing side by side, A. glandulosa ssp. glandulosa on the left, A. glandulosa ssp. cushingiana on the right. Both taxa were seen all along our route, however plants of subspecies cushingiana were much more numerous.



At 3,348 feet, 1,020 meters, the snow started to become thicker and more widespread. Without cross country skis or snowshoes walking on the snow can be slow and difficult - this would be a good location to turn around.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2017, 09:10:07 AM by Robert »
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #35 on: February 05, 2017, 09:42:37 AM »


A nice find at the turn around point was this blooming specimen of Arctostaphylos manzanita ssp. elegans. A blooming plant can be easily identified by examining the ovary which is very glandular. Subspecies roofii which might also be found in this area also has sticky, glandular fruit, however it is also burled, subspecies elegans is not. I checked around the base of this plant and also found some old dried-up fruit. It was sticky, glandular.



Dalton and I decided at this point to return by a different route. We were not certain that this route would lead back to the Outback, however we were willing to take a chance. Shortly, on the way down the mountain we found a burned over area full of regenerating seedlings of various species. This Arctostaphylos seedling is most likely A. manzanita ssp. elegans, judging by its upright growth habit (another characteristic of this subspecies).



I found an interesting specimen of Arctostaphylos glandulosa ssp. cushingiana with very serrated leaf margins. This is not a common characteristic of this subspecies, but this peculiarity is not rare either.



Still high on the ridge there were some nice vistas of the snow topped ridges off to the southwest.



To the west was the ridgeline leading up to the summit of Snow Mountain. The bare snow covered area seen in this photograph shows the high point of my outing in this area last October.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2017, 09:46:23 AM by Robert »
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
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Robert

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #36 on: February 05, 2017, 10:20:47 AM »


Off to the northeast was an excellent vista of Indian Valley.



Our route took us down along the top of Tough Springs Ridge. Here I found Coastal Whiteleaf Manzanita, Arctostaphylos viscida ssp. pulchella.



This taxon too has glandular, sticky fruit, however Arctostaphylos viscida is very different in appearance to A. manzanita, except subspecies glaucescens, which too can have glaucous foliage. The two species can be easily distinguished from each other by examining the nascent inflorescence, that of Arctostaphylos viscida being distinctly glandular sticky while the inflorescence of A. manzanita is not.



Not all burled plants survive a fire. The burl of this Chamise plant, Adenostoma fasciculatum, was damaged by the fire and did not resprout with new growth.



On the way down the mountain, I occasionally found some rosettes of this Cirsium species. It is most likely a form of C. occidentale.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
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If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #37 on: February 05, 2017, 10:47:08 AM »


Near the base of the mountain Ericameria arborescens started to appear. This species is very common within recently burned areas in many parts of California. The seeds of this species are easily triggered into germination after a fire.



Here too I saw Cerocarpos betuloides, a very common chaparral species in this part of California.



Dalton and I finally arrived back at the parking area. Our circular route worked out perfectly without any glitches.

Arctostaphylos glandulosa ssp. cushingiana was the plant of the day. Its gray foliage contrasted with the surround green of the other chaparral species - mostly Chamise, Adenostoma fasciculatum - making it easy to spot them as we hiked the trail.

Despite the lack of species diversity (only 46 taxa recorded) this was an excellent outing. There were a number of good finds on this hike and I was able to get a good overview of this part of the Snow Mountain area.

It looks like rainy weather this coming weeks. If it is worth while to get out, I hope to explore the Red Hills area of Toulumne County, one of the best wildflower sites in California.

Until next time.....
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
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If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #38 on: February 05, 2017, 11:05:28 AM »
Robert,

Once more a nice outing!

I wonder, is ribes always flowering that early  - seems to be among the first spring bloomers? I have a Ribes rubra in the garden and it is not that early!
I like the oak also Q. palmeri reminds me of holly which is common around here.

Trond,

I find the good forms of Quercus palmeri to be extremely attractive evergreen shrubs. It is a species that I want to include in the garden sometime in the future. It is not a common species in our area. The Snow Mountain area is the only place where I have found it growing extensively..... at least at this moment.

Ribes malvaceum is not native to the Sierra Nevada Foothills. I have not had much opportunity to observe its habits, but some forms, but not all, bloom extremely early in the season. Some of our other Ribes species bloom early in the season too, however they seem to bloom late only because they are native to high elevation sites where "spring" might not arrive until June. When they are grown at low elevations they can bloom extremely early in the year.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
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If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

David Nicholson

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #39 on: February 05, 2017, 07:33:13 PM »
Robert, I wonder if you are familiar at all with the work of the late Canadian folk singer and song writer, Kate McGarrigle, and in particular to her song "Talk to me of Mendocino". She comes into my mind every time I sit down to look at the reports of your journeys?

 
David Nicholson
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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #40 on: February 05, 2017, 10:20:30 PM »
Why David , what a surprise - me too - it so happens that I have been an admirer of the McGarrigles for decades - and  that happens to be my favourite song. I sing it often.
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #41 on: February 06, 2017, 09:15:42 AM »
Great minds.......? ;D
David Nicholson
in Devon, UK  Zone 9b
"Victims of satire who are overly defensive, who cry "foul" or just winge to high heaven, might take pause and consider what exactly it is that leaves them so sensitive, when they were happy with satire when they were on the side dishing it out"

Robert

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #42 on: February 06, 2017, 11:48:24 AM »
Robert, I wonder if you are familiar at all with the work of the late Canadian folk singer and song writer, Kate McGarrigle, and in particular to her song "Talk to me of Mendocino". She comes into my mind every time I sit down to look at the reports of your journeys?

 

Hi David,

I have to admit that I am not familiar with Kate McGarrigle. I will have to listen when I get a chance.  :)  I do appreciate pleasant music. I think that my music taste must be odd, as I liked Beethoven's 3rd Symphony when I was in grade school. I remember the teacher thinking that it was odd that I even knew what it was, let alone liked it and listened to it. I think that the teacher would have thought it as even more odd that I also liked Fred Astaire when he sung "Cheek to Cheek" to Ginger Rogers in "Top Hat"!  :o  I still sing the song to my wife.  :)
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
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If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #43 on: February 09, 2017, 10:19:55 AM »


It was a rainy and at times a windy stormy day in Morgan Territory on the southeastern flank of Mount Diablo. Mount Diablo is located at the northern end of the southern Coast Range near San Francisco, California. There is a considerable number of species I would like to see in this area and it was good to make a preliminary reconnaissance. Despite the crazy drivers and only one traffic jam, I found a site in this region where I feel comfortable.



There were some pretties in bloom. I will have a full report on this outing in a few more days..... and an interesting story about the Morgans.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
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If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

ArnoldT

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #44 on: February 09, 2017, 02:38:03 PM »
Hi Robert:

I like to throw you locations in Google and see where you are going.  You where near a spot call Devil's Pulpit. Can you describe that.

Thanks,
Arnold Trachtenberg
Leonia, New Jersey

 


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