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Author Topic: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021  (Read 8044 times)

Robert

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2021, 08:54:00 PM »


An overcast day in a low elevation Blue Oak (Quercus douglasii) Savannah ecosystem in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

This ecosystem has been highly altered by the activities of humans, first during the California Gold Rush, then by livestock grazing. At one time, California native bunch grasses, combined with native bulbs, perennials, and annuals, flourished in this region. Now, for the most part, there are only a few remnant populations of our native perennial bunch grasses. Invasive annual grasses now dominate this type of ecosystem throughout California. Reestablishing stable populations of native bunch grasses while dramatically reducing invasive annual grass species is an enormous challenge, and has important ramifications regarding wildfire suppression.



Ranunculus occidentalis var. occidentalis is a very common perennial in our Foothill Oak Savannah ecosystems.



Claytinia perfoliata ssp. perfoliata is a frequently seen annual. It is now a popular salad green cultivated by a few farms throughout the U.S.A.



Primula hendersonii is a shade-loving perennial. Most forms in our region are sterile and are most often propagated by offsets of their rice-grain swollen roots which rodents tend to move from place-to-place.



Chaparral Honeysuckle, Lonicera interrrupta, can be found vining through shrubs and trees, or sprawling over the surface of the ground.
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: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2021, 08:56:05 PM »


Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis ssp. consanguinea, is frequently a pioneer species. During drought years, seed from this species will germinate prolifically on the barren soil ringing our depleted reservoirs.



White-leaf Manzanita, Arctostaphylos viscida ssp. viscida, is the dominant low elevation Manzanita species in our Sierra Foothill region. This species is an obligate seeder, in other words, it will not renew or propagate itself vegetatively from burls. Fire greatly enhances the germination of its seed: After a fire, the seed frequently germinates prolifically.
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

Hoy

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2021, 07:28:22 AM »
Nice to see fresh growth again! You have showed so many "dry" photographs.

I know the Claytonia is a popular salad herb here. Many people grow it in their gardens. I have not tried it. I have Claytonia sibirica though as a weed!

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Trond Hoy, gardening on the rainy west coast of Norway.

Robert

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #18 on: March 04, 2021, 10:31:39 PM »
Trond

You sure have some beautiful and interesting plants in your region.  8)



Sunrise on Peavine Ridge with Pyramid Peak in the distance, 3 March 2021. I will have more to report on this outing over the coming days.
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: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #19 on: March 07, 2021, 07:05:45 PM »


Wednesday, 3 March 2021. It was a crisp morning, temperature 30 F (-1.1 C). The breeze made it feel much colder than it actually was.



For much of the last month this portion of Peavine Ridge was carpeted with a blanket of snow. The higher elevations still have a considerable amount of snow, 89.07% of average in liquid equivalents. Overall, our regional hydrologic situation still looks grim. At our farm/nature preserve, precipitation to date is 52.31% of the 40-year average.



Now that the snow has melted away from much of the south facing slopes, the small seedlings that germinated during the relatively warm weather during December and January have to contend with frost heaving. This is not an unusual condition at this site, however frost heaving followed by warm dry weather seriously damages vulnerable seedlings.



The small seedlings have a number of bio-chemical processes that allow them to adjust to extremes in temperature, potentially dry conditions, and exposure to solar radiation during periods of cold temperature when metabolic activity is low. High concentrations of anthocyanins are often seen in both the upper and lower epidermal cells of young seedlings in the early spring. This is a protective measure taken by many high elevation plant species to contend with a variety of environmental stresses.



These well-established and anchored specimens of Calyptridium monospermum have to contend with the impacts of frost heaving. The epidermal cells of the exposed caudex have filled with anthocyanins to protect the tissues from solar radiation, most likely long wave UV-A.
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: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #20 on: March 07, 2021, 07:08:55 PM »


A variety of plants are enjoying the protection of this rock. The rock provides some additional warmth as well as moisture that collects under and around the perimeter of the rock.



Except for the frosted tips of the foliage, this specimen of Aspidotis densa was green in January before the snow fell in early February. Later this spring it will break dormancy with new growth.



The new growth of Chlorogalum pomeridianum had begun to emerge in late January. The snow cover brought this new growth to a halt; however with sunny weather and no snow cover they will resume active growth again.



During the early spring, with cold weather, the lower epidermal leaf cells of Phacelia stebbinsii contain high concentrations of anthocyanins. The anthocyanins have the capacity to absorb excesses of PAR (Photosytheticly Active Radiation) that is not used by the spongy mesophyll cells. In addition, vascular tissues in both the leaves and stems frequently contain high concentrations of anthocyanins.



A variety of specialized annual and perennial plant species grow in and around the perimeter of the seasonal vernal seeps in this area. The vernal seeps have many of the same characteristics of the vernal pool ecosystems in the Central Valley of California. Some species contend with seasonal flooding with anaerobic soil conditions followed by parched dry conditions later in the season. A few rare species are found at these sites.
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: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #21 on: March 07, 2021, 07:12:09 PM »


This seedling of Lessingia leptoclada will make rapid growth once the weather warms. This xeric annual species blooms late summer into the autumn.



Eriogonum prattenianum var. prattenianum will be breaking dormancy soon. The new growth is wooly and silvery-gray in color.



The burls of Arctostaphylos patula are frequently well exposed above the surface of the soil. As long as a fire is not too intense, new growth will sprout from the burls.



This is a beautiful scene of the canyon of the South Fork of the American River. The Central Valley of California is off in the distance to the west.



As the morning progressed the clouds began to thicken. A few days later much needed precipitation fell.

To be continued…
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

Hoy

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #22 on: March 11, 2021, 04:16:47 PM »
Hope you got some long awaited precipitation! We had a rainstorm got 37mm/1.5in yesterday.
Trond Hoy, gardening on the rainy west coast of Norway.

Robert

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #23 on: March 12, 2021, 09:29:58 PM »
Hello Trond,

Yes, we did get some much-needed precipitation this past week, 1.10 inch (27.94 mm) at the farm. As the following charts will show, we are still well below our seasonal averages to date. To date, precipitation at the farm is 54.52% of the 40-year average. In the Sierra Nevada Mountains conditions are better. For example, the snow liquid equivalent at one site is 92.21% of the 15-average. Our regional precipitation has diminished by 5% over the last 20 years, so 80% to 85% of average is a more realistic figure over the last 40 to 50 years.



Precipitation at our farm:
Blue line – 40-year average
Red line - last year’s total
Green line - this year’s total to date



Snow liquid equivalents:
Blue line – 15-year average
Red line – last year’s total
Green Line – this year’s total

It is clear to see that the total liquid in the snow cover is much higher than it was last year at this time. This is especially true at the mid-elevation regions (this chart is not shown).

There have been some major shifts in the synoptic weather pattern over the past week or two. The atmosphere may be responding to the diminishing La Niña event that has prevailed since autumn. We watch the weather closely and are hoping for the best.
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: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #24 on: March 12, 2021, 09:35:07 PM »


In late January when I last visited Peavine Ridge, Catilleja applegatei ssp. pinetorum was, for the most part, dormant, showing no emerging new vegetative growth. It is interesting how biochemical signals, triggered by environmental stimuli, prompt plants to respond to changing conditions in their environment.



The first Manzanita flowers of the spring season were starting to open. This specimen of Arctostaphylos patula had a few open flowers.



Arctostaphylos patula is generally not the first Manzanita species to commence blooming in the spring. During previous seasons, I have observed Arctostaphylos mewukka ssp. mewukka blooming as early as mid-December at a nearby location.



On this day, all the specimens of Arctostaphylos mewukka ssp. mewukka that I observed had closed flower buds.



Arctostaphylos viscida ssp. viscida is generally the last species to bloom on Peavine Ridge. Mazanita flowers and fruit are an important food source for many life forms in this area. During the early spring, hummingbirds and a host of insects feed on the nectar provided by the open flowers. During the autumn bears, deer, birds, and other animals eat the ripe fruit. Manzanita is an essential component of a healthy ecosystem in this area.
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: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #25 on: March 12, 2021, 09:38:05 PM »


The foliage of Arctostaphylos mewukka ssp. mewukka ranges in color from mat gray-green to an intense silver-green.



The new growth of Primula hendersonii is now beginning to emerge from the ground.



Since my visit in January, the growth of Luzula var. laxa has not advanced much.



Young and newly germinating seedlings have to contend with frost heaving. Depending on the timing and circumstances, many seedlings become vulnerable to extremes in heat, cold, dryness, or other forms of physical damage.



These seedlings have, for the most part, been pushed out of the ground. A small ball of soil remains around the roots; however on examination, the bulk of the root system had been severed from the top portion of the seedlings. With continued moist weather the seedling may extend new roots into the ground. With dry weather the seedlings will quickly desiccate and die.
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: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #26 on: March 12, 2021, 09:41:21 PM »


Young germinating seedlings are severely challenged by repeated exposure to ice crystals and the associated heaving of the soil. In many mountain habitats, the duration and consistency of the winter snow pack plays a key role in the vernalization, germination, and survival of mature plants, seeds and seedlings. Epigenetic response in gene expression is one of a number of physiological systems plants use to adapt to shifting environmental patterns.



There was still some remaining snow cover on Peavine Ridge. In many circumstances, a consistent and lingering snow cover protects plants from extremes in the weather and delays the germination of seedlings until consistently favorable weather prevails.



Adversely cold weather and snow cover generally does not affect the new growth of Agoseris grandiflora var. grandiflora after it emerges from the ground in the early spring.



These Clarkia seedlings were well protected from the cold temperatures and frost heaving.



As I continued my survey, I found additional plants of Arctostaphylos patula coming into bloom.

To be continued…
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

Hoy

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #27 on: March 13, 2021, 07:26:44 AM »
Robert,

Ice crystal formation and upheaving of the soil is a problem here also. But it differ from year to year how serious it is and it is worse on bare soil than in dense vegetation of course.

I like the different Arctostaphylos shrubs! I am sorry we only have one native species! No flowers yet but it should flower in a couple month or so.

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Trond Hoy, gardening on the rainy west coast of Norway.

Gabriela

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #28 on: March 14, 2021, 01:48:40 PM »
I would also like to have more Arctostaphylos species Trond (there are few more but on the western side of Canada only).
So I always admire the ones showed by Robert here.

Upheaving is a terrible problem here and is more pronounced on wetter areas; this year I was surprised to see that one of the most affected areas was in a place that had been covered with a thick snow layer.
Gabriela
Ontario, zone 5
http://botanicallyinclined.org/

Robert

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #29 on: March 15, 2021, 02:21:53 AM »
Yes, many of the Arctostaphylos species are very beautiful. Many have polished chestnut colored bark, some striking gray or wooly foliage. The flowers are pretty and attract all sorts of (native) insects, hummingbirds too. The ripe berries attract a wide variety of creatures. Even in our summer hot dry climate most well established specimens do not require summer irrigation to look great. Needless to say, we have many of the local species in our garden.

Gabriela,

In the “Northern Hemisphere” thread you made reference to two Caucasian Aristolochia species that you cultivate. Do they have any noteworthy characteristics? I am only familiar with our California native species.
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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