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Author Topic: Plants, Ecosystems, Climate Northern California  (Read 3110 times)

Robert

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Re: Plants, Ecosystems, Climate Northern California
« Reply #75 on: August 06, 2022, 07:23:33 PM »


I had an opportunity to visit the Sierra Nevada Mountains in early August. Previously my intent was to visit a high elevation site within the 2021 Caldor Fire burn scar, however this area is closed to the public. My life is now occupied with new projects, so visiting another location worked perfectly.



I started out at an elevation of 6,400 feet (1,951 meters). Precipitation in our region was highly irregular this past season, however the totals for the whole precipitation season ended up near average. Snow cover days were below average, so the drying season started sooner than average. All this being said, the area was still reasonably moist and there were many wildflowers in bloom.

Anaphalis margaritacea (white flowers) and Drymocallis lacteal var. austiniae (yellow flowers) are pictured above.



Solidago elongata is a very common perennial species at this elevation. Most were still in the peak of their blooming cycle.



Lupinus polyphyllus var. bukei is another very common species at this elevation. Good forms of this species are very attractive when in flower.



Spiraea splendens is a fairly compact deciduous shrub. The pink flowers are very beautiful. During the autumn the foliage generally turns bright golden yellow, however I have observed forms where the foliage turns red and red-orange in the autumn.
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: Plants, Ecosystems, Climate Northern California
« Reply #76 on: August 06, 2022, 07:26:18 PM »


I am sure everyone in Europe is familiar with Fireweed, Chamerion angustifolium ssp. circumvagum.



 Within its native habitat Fireweed is very conspicuous when in full bloom.



Some forms of Aquilegia formosa can bloom for long periods of time. Many were still in bloom when I visited this site.



Lonicera conjugialis is a deciduous shrub with inconspicuous flowers that open in the early spring. The red berries of this species can be very attractive. It is still too early in the season for the berries to color fully.



Helenium bigelovii is another commonly seen species at this site.


I will be posting more photographs from this trip.
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: Plants, Ecosystems, Climate Northern California
« Reply #77 on: August 07, 2022, 06:41:05 PM »


In this part of the Sierra and Nevada Mountains Helenium bigelovii is frequently found in moist meadows between 5,500 feet and 7,000 feet elevation (1,676 meters and 2134 meters).



Catilleja miniata ssp. miniata is most commonly seen in its orange-red flowering form. Golden yellow and yellow flowering forms are seen occasionally.



Here the orange-red form of Castilleja miniata ssp. miniata is looking good growing with Anaphalis margaritacea.



Here is a close up view of Castilleja miniata ssp. miniata.



Senecio triangularis is frequently seen in moist semi-shaded locations.

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: Plants, Ecosystems, Climate Northern California
« Reply #78 on: August 07, 2022, 06:44:21 PM »


Later in the summer the lavender-blue daisy Symphyotrichum spathulatum var. spathulatum is found blooming in moist meadows and forest openings. The tattered leaves of Veratrum californicum var. californicum can be seen to the left. This is the usual appearance of Veratrum leaves in the late summer and early autumn before the plants go dormant. This time of the year intact leaves would not look right. Maybe this is something to consider in a naturalistic garden environment?



Cirsium andersonii is found in dry sites in forest openings. Many of our California native thistles are quite attractive.



Erythranthe tilingii enjoys moist to swampy sites. This stand was quite robust and attractive.



The Alpine Lily, Lilium parvum, has small out-facing orange flowers. I have found specimens in the wild with over 100 flowers per stem as well as forms with up-facing flowers. In addition, there are golden yellow forms as well as lavender-pink forms of this attractive species.



There are many meadows in the area I visited on this outing. Many of the meadows have been severely degraded by livestock grazing and other human activities that started in the 1870s and have continued, in one form or another, to the present time. Many of the meadows are in a state of flux. Lodgepole Pine, Pinus contorta ssp. murrayana, is encroaching into some meadows. Severely incised watercourses through many meadows have vastly altered the meadow hydrology. Introduced invasive plant species have also altered meadow ecology.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2022, 06:27:03 PM 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

Redmires

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Re: Plants, Ecosystems, Climate Northern California
« Reply #79 on: August 08, 2022, 07:54:17 AM »
Lovely to see a picture of Chaemerion angustifolium - the common name in the UK is 'rosebay willowherb' - which remains one of my favourite wildflowers, despite being so common - it looks so glorious en masse. I grow the white form in my garden and although the developing seedpods don't echo the flower colour as they do in the wild version it has its own more elegant appeal - I fell for it when I saw the white flowers at dusk in someone else's garden - stunning.
 

Robert

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Re: Plants, Ecosystems, Climate Northern California
« Reply #80 on: August 08, 2022, 06:30:28 PM »


Our native Monkshood, Aconitum columbianum ssp. viviparum, is generally encountered near small streams, and seeps.



In our region we generally find the subspecies viviparum. This subspecies is easily identified by the bulbils that form in the leaf and inflorescence axils.



The riparian habitats in this area contain many interesting plant species, however I wanted to explore the neighboring meadows and drier habitats.

In this area, Symphyotrichum spathulatum is a good indicator of a mesic habitat. Even when conditions appear dry on the surface of the ground, moist soil is generally near the surface.



Ragged Daisy, Eurybia intefrifolia, is one of my favorite daisy-like plants in the Sierra and Nevada Mountains. The flowers and foliage is quite coarse, however I like its rugged disposition. This species is generally found in seasonally moist areas that can become very dry by the end of the summer. I frequently see this species growing with Penstemon rydbergii ssp. oerocharis, another lovely meadow species.



Diplacus torreyi is a dryland annual. Large colonies of this tiny annual can be very striking when seen in full bloom, however they are usually seen in scattered populations.
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: Plants, Ecosystems, Climate Northern California
« Reply #81 on: August 08, 2022, 06:34:28 PM »


After spending a considerable amount of time surveying the meadow, I moved on to higher and drier terrain. Sidalcea glaucescens is a common species found in dry open forest habitats. Their pink flowers are very showy.



Doellingeria breweri is another commonly seen species in dry open forests. This species has recently undergone a number of name changes. Previously it was known as Eucephalis breweri and now Doellingeria. The rayless yellow flowers of this species are quite showy.



Lupinus lepidus var. sellulus forms tight buns topped by lavender-blue flowers. This species is generally found in dry meadows.



Hidden away in higher terrain is Paradise Meadow. This site has no official name, but I like to call this site Paradise Meadow. I have been visiting this meadow for over 50 years. This meadow habitat is very stable and has changed very little in the last 50 years. The presence of Bluegrass, Poa pratensis, and Sheep Sorrel, Rumex acetosella, are signs that livestock grazing occurred in this meadow sometime in the past, however I never remember seeing recent signs of livestock grazing in this meadow in the last 50 years. This meadow complex contains plant species not commonly seen in the other neighboring meadows that received much more recent, frequent and intense grazing pressure for many decades.



I encountered a number of Viola species on this outing. Viola macloskeyi was the only Viola species that I found in bloom. Most of our Sierra Nevada Viola species bloom much earlier in the season. Viola macloskeyi is a widespread species found throughout much of Northern North America.

More photographs to come.


Redmires

I am quite fond of white flowering plants in our Sacramento, California garden. At dusk when there is a full moon white flowers appear to glow in the twilight. In addition, many white flowering species are fragrant. It can be a very captivating experience. For me, your preference for the white flowering form of Fireweed is very understandable.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2022, 06:40:50 PM 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: Plants, Ecosystems, Climate Northern California
« Reply #82 on: August 10, 2022, 05:39:38 PM »


It is fairly common to find Orchids in our high mountain meadows. Spiranthes romanzoffiana is frequently seen blooming in mid to late summer in sunny portions of moist meadows.



It is interesting to see how the flowers spiral around the central stem of the inflorescence.



Potentilla flambellifolia is found in moist, high elevation meadows. This species has the capability to survive despite remaining flooded and submerged by water for many weeks during the spring season. I am familiar with a seasonal pond that, by mid-summer when the standing pond water evaporates, becomes carpeted yellow with flowers borne by this species.



Erythranthe primuloides is a small spreading Monkeyflower commonly seen in moist mountain meadows. They are frequently seen growing with running water surrounding their tiny rosettes during the early spring snow runoff.



Potentilla gracilis var. fastigata grows in much drier sites. Although this species is often seen in very moist locations during the early spring, this species is also tolerant of very dry conditions by late summer/autumn.

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: Plants, Ecosystems, Climate Northern California
« Reply #83 on: August 10, 2022, 05:42:53 PM »


This area was logged in a very destructive and exploitive way back in the late 1970s. My brother and I hiked through the area after it had been logged. The area was a disaster with very few remaining trees.

Pictured is part of a logging deck, which dates back to this time period. After more than 40 years parts of this logging deck are still devoid of plant life.



A few stunted trees can be seen growing in the background.



This seasonal seep was at one time contaminated with lethal levels of toxic ionic species of iron and manganese, which inhibited the growth of plant life. Highly compacted soil, seasonally flooded, anaerobic, and highly acidic soil conditions were created by the activity of heavy equipment and the extreme concentration of conifer bark at this logging deck. These and other factors contributed greatly to the toxicity of this site.



Iron oxides remain where the seasonal water seepage flows.



Slowly conditions have improved at this site. Severely stunted conifers now grow over much of the site, however there are still areas where there is no plant growth.
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: Plants, Ecosystems, Climate Northern California
« Reply #84 on: August 10, 2022, 05:44:47 PM »


Here is another view of the logging deck and the stunted conifers that are now growing at this site.

As storm clouds started to build late in the day I started back to the trailhead.



This is one last view of a meadow before I returned to my auto and Sacramento.
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

 


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