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Author Topic: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California  (Read 93306 times)

Robert

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #795 on: December 25, 2017, 05:40:52 PM »
I have found most of my old outing journals and have started up loading relevant listings onto the Calflora website. The first journal entry is of Rhododendron occidentale and Epipactic gigantean from the West Branch of the Feather River, dated 28 May 1977. There is a lot of material, but fortunately the entries from Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Montana, Western South Dakota, and British Columbia will not work on Calflora. I hope my Calflora entries will help those that follow my botanical diary. Reviewing the information has certainly helped me. There are definitely some regions I wish to revisit. Jarbidge Wilderness, Nevada is high on my list, however there are some places here in California I want to revisit.
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: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #796 on: December 26, 2017, 12:29:36 PM »
Robert,

Seems you do a lot of unpaid work! However it is most interesting and I hope a lot of people appreciate what you do.


Beautiful lilies! When I plant out in my garden I try to plant different specimens which vary a bit and hope for enhanced vigor of the progeny.
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 #797 on: December 26, 2017, 03:35:41 PM »
Robert,

Seems you do a lot of unpaid work! However it is most interesting and I hope a lot of people appreciate what you do.


Hi Trond,

What a great comment!  8)

I follow my passions and dreams each and every day. I am well aware that some people get paid to follow their passions; others do not. For me the question is “Why do something if I do not love it?” I love what I do and it brings meaning and fulfillment to my life. Yes, I do less than desirable things to “make money”. Maybe this will change for the better, maybe it will not. What I do for money at least provides the means to follow my passions. For better or worse, folks will continue to see my botanical diary on this forum for as long as I am able, which I hope is a long, long time. My botanical diary is part of my passion and I love doing it.
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 #798 on: December 26, 2017, 09:58:05 PM »
KANAKA VALLEY

El Dorado County, California

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Sacramento Weather
Weather: High Clouds
Temperature, High: 56 F, 13.3 CS
                       Low: 38 F, 3.3 C
Precipitation: To date: 2.49 inches (63 mm)

Placerville Weather
Weather: High Clouds
Temperature, High: 53 F, 11.6 C
                       Low: 22 F, -5.5 C
Precipitation: To date: 8.07 inches (205 mm), Average to date: 10.43 inches (265 mm)




I started out early on the 21 December, the first day of winter, from Sacramento to Kanaka Valley, El Dorado County, California. The weather was quite breezy when I left Sacramento, however once in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains the wind calmed considerably. I arrived at the trailhead, 1,015 feet (309 meters) at 8:00 a.m. and it was very frosty, 30 F (-1.1 C). The light southeasterly breeze provided enough mixing to keep the temperature from dropping further. The air was dry with a relative humidity of 62% (dry for this time in the morning) and a dew point of 23 F (-5 C). With calm winds it would have been much colder.

From the staging area there a number of different directions I could have traveled. I set off to the north hoping that I could reach Weber Creek or the South Fork of the American River. The northerly route travels through areas of Blue Oak savannah (Quercus douglasii) with open grassland dominated with the invasive Medusa Head, Elymus caput-medusae and Yellow Star-Thistle, Centaurea solstitialis.



The older braches of the Blue Oaks were completely colonized by lichens. On this tree I counted 5 species. In this photograph Evernia prunastri, Usnea subfloridana, and Candelaria pacifica can be seen. Much of the trunk was colonized with Flavopunctelia flaventior, with a few Parmeliopsis hyperopta. This is a typical situation in the lower foothill belt of the northern Sierra Nevada.



In the few densely wooded areas Sanicula crassicaulis (pictured) and Ranunculus occidentalis var. occidentalis were well into growth. The two species emerge quickly in the autumn shortly after the autumn rain wet the soil.



Eventually the oak savannah gave way to dense chaparral. In this region Whiteleaf Manzanita, Artostaphylos viscida ssp. viscida and Chamise, Adenostoma fasciculatum are the two dominant chaparral species.

There is considerable variance in a number of phenotypical characteristics in Arctostaphylos viscida ssp. viscida. In this photograph, the silvery foliage of the specimen in the foreground contrasts with the more dull green foliage of the specimen in the background. I have a keen interest in the Genus Arctostaphylos. I am always checking them closely and noting the variations I see.



This time of year the nascent inflorescences of Whiteleaf Manzanita begin to swell.  Open flowers will be following shortly.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2017, 10:02:23 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: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #799 on: December 26, 2017, 10:05:26 PM »


At this point the oak savannah gave way to an ocean of chaparral, extending for miles in many directions.



Immediately I noticed numerous plants of the El Dorado County endemic, Ceanothus roderickii. I have encountered this species in other parts of El Dorado County, however as the day progressed I was to see this species growing in huge numbers cover large areas on many hillsides.



Salvia sonomensis was the dominant chaparral understory species in this area. I see this arrangement frequently. Salvia sonomensis has strongly aromatic foliage. The scent is intoxicating on a hot summer afternoon or after a rain.



Another common species in this area was Wyethia bolanderi. I rarely encounter Wyethia bolanderi in other parts of El Dorado County, however it grew abundantly in this area.



I logged three species of Wyethia on this outing. Wyethia bolanderi, with its uniquely shaped foliage, was the most abundant of the three species. I encountered several colonies of the El Dorado County endemic Wyethia reticulata as well as several small groups of the much more widespread Wyethia angustifolia.
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 #800 on: December 26, 2017, 10:08:58 PM »


Wandering around in the chaparral is quite pleasant. Wrentits, Chamaea fasciata, are a common resident of the chaparral community. It is my understanding that each bird has a well-defined territory within the chaparral and patrols it constantly. Generally, they stay hidden in the brush, however if one is patience they will show themselves perched on a Manzanita branch. Most of the time I am aware of their presence by their distinctive call that reminds be of a ping-pong ball that is bouncing on a concrete floor.



Slowly I worked myself around a small hill. On the northeastern side there was a nice view of the countryside off to the northeast.



On the north side of the hill the chaparral gave way to an area forested with Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizenii. There was also a shift in the shrubby vegetation. Here I found stands of Toyon, Heteromeles arbutifolia. The birds were very active stripping the Toyon of their bright red berries.



Here there were also scattered stands of Coyote Bush, Baccharis pilularis ssp. consanguinea. The white flowers of this late autumn – winter blooming species contrasted nicely with their bright green foliage.



Bush Monkeyflower, Mimulus aurantiacus var. aurantiacus, occupied both sunny and somewhat shaded sites in the chaparral. In the spring there brilliant orange flowers will brighten the chaparral.
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 #801 on: December 26, 2017, 10:12:07 PM »


The northwestern side of the hillside opened up into a somewhat flat rocky field. Many species of lichens grew on the rocks. In this photograph Caloplaca subsoluta (orange) can be seen growing with Xanthoparmelia species and other forms of Caloplaca.



Here there were also dense stands of Whiteleaf Manzanita, Arctostaphylos viscida ssp. viscida. A few had already started to bloom. As I approached the blooming plants I could see that the year round resident Anna’s Hummingbirds, Calypte anna, had already found them. The Manzanitas are an important winter source of nectar for the Anna’s Hummingbird as well as many other creatures.



Yerba Santa, Erioditylon californicum is often seen growing in the most difficult, rocky bare sites. It also quickly recolonizes areas that have recently burned, often reseeding thickly. In this area, there was a shift in the rock strata; metamorphic rock gave way to serpentinite.



Rosettes of Dudleya cymosa clung to the rocky outcrops.



The beautiful Paintbrush, Castilleja foliolosa, inhabited open areas next to the rock outcroppings.
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 #802 on: December 26, 2017, 10:17:43 PM »


After circling most of this hill, I decided to follow a route to the top.



There was a small wooded ravine near my current locations that I attempted to explore before ascending to the summit of the hill. California Coffee Berry, Frangula californica ssp. tomentella, grew in the vicinity (pictured). Before I could make much progress into the wooded ravine, a huge thicket of Poison Oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum, stopped me. This was a good indication to turn around and hike to the top of the hill.



As I started my ascent of the hill, I encountered many clumps of Big Squirreltail, Elymus multisetus, in clearings among the chaparral shrubbery. The Elymus shared the opening with low hummocks of Ceanothus roderickii.



From the top of the top there was a nice vista to the west. Folsom Reservoir can be seen with the southern Sacramento Valley and the coastal mountains in the distance. Sadly there has been much development in this area and destruction of habitat. The good news is that much of the area where I was hiking is protected in the Pine Hill Preserve, as BLM land (public land), or Folsom Lake State Park.



This view is of the canyon of the South Fork of the American River. The path down to the South Fork can be seen in places in this photograph.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2017, 10:33:26 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: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #803 on: December 26, 2017, 10:21:12 PM »


From the hill summit there were also nice vistas to the east of the canyon of the South Fork of the American River and the Crystal Range in the distance. After taking in the views, my next objective was to descend the eastern side of the hill and hike down the ravine to the South Fork.



As I moved down into the ravine, there was a clear shift in the flora. In shaded areas near a seasonal creek there were dense patches of Berberis aquifolium var. dictyota.



Where there was a bit of subterranean moisture during the summer months there were scattered clumps of Deer Grass, Mulhenbergia rigens.



The deeper I moved into the ravine the colder it became. I some areas the path was still frozen, despite the fact that it was early afternoon. During the winter months many steep north-facing slopes receive very little or no direct sunlight.



Deep within the ravine I encountered a crustose lichen that looked exactly like Porpidia crustulata. This species is not known from this region, so I was not sure what to think of this observation. I will have to do more research.
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 #804 on: December 26, 2017, 10:24:58 PM »


Eventually I arrived at the South Fork of the American River, elevation 461 feet (141 meters).



The upper portion of the ravine I was following consisted of a seasonal water coarse. About half way down the ravine, a year round spring opened into the ravine with a good head of running water to the South Fork of the American River. Where the stream entered the South Fork, there were thickets of willow and alder. It was the perfect habitat for our Giant Chain Fern, Woodwardia fimbriata.



A great find in this thicket was a small colony of Rhododendron occidentale. This patch is not only an extension of the western limit of this species in El Dorado County, but also a new low elevation limit for this species in El Dorado County. The nearest colony to this site, that I am currently aware of, is upstream on Rock Creek. I have entered data to Calflora of this site and the Rock Creek site, so if anyone is interested they can compare the locations of the two sites. The 1907 Calflora entry on Sweetwater Creek may not be valid at this time. I explored much of Sweetwater Creek in the 1970’s, and never saw Rhododendron occidentale. Most of the watershed is private property and I no longer have access to this area. This is very unfortunate as the area is floristically rich. I would be very interested in reexamining the area to see, if indeed, Rhododendron occidentale grows or grew in the Sweetwater Creek watershed.



Along the shore of the South Fork there were beautiful outcroppings of banded gabbro. Much of is area is part of the Western Jurassic Terrane, a conglomeration of serpentinite, gabbro, sheeted dikes, and pillow basalt. I observed all these features on this outing, except the pillow basalt. The vegetation shifts subtly depending on the geologic feature, and of coarse, other factors.



Lichens colonized many of the rocks along the river shore. Dimelaena oreina, Golden Moonglow Lichen (pale colored lichen), was very common 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: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #805 on: December 26, 2017, 10:28:24 PM »


Lupinus albifrons var. albifrons grew in the sunny rocky terrain above the high water mark of the river.



I would have been nice to work my way eastward, upstream to the confluence with Weber Creek, however steep rocky terrain and the late hour convinced me that it would be more productive to retrace my route back up the ravine.



Before starting up the path, I took a good look down stream to the west. I surveyed the landscape for possible sites to visit on future outings to this area.



Part way up the ravine, I found a different route to follow back to the crest of the ridge. Along this route I found the dried stems of a Calochortus species. I have a good hunch that they belong to Calochortus luteus, as I observed this species in another part of this region last year. I have often speculated that there may have been large populations of Calochortus luteus in this area in the past, much like what I find in the coastal mountains of California. Anthropogenic activities may have been responsible for the possible reduction in the population of this species.



In shady crevices along this route I found small colonies of a Cladonia lichen. They were certainly part of the Cladonia chlorophaea complex and were most likely Cladonia pyxidata.
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 #806 on: December 26, 2017, 10:29:59 PM »


I arrived at the top of the ridge late in the day. There was still an hour or so of sunlight remaining so I decided to take an alternate route back to the Outback. Unfortunately this route turned out to be a dead end in a sea of thick chaparral. I needed to backtrack a ways until I found a likely path back to the trailhead. Despite the detour, I enjoyed my hike through the chaparral. There were consider signs of the chaparral inhabitants; Coyote, Fox, Bobcat, and others.

I was very pleased to finally get out and have an all day outing. It was extremely productive and I was very pleased to find the colony of Rhododendron occidentale near the South Fork of the American River. I have another outing planned soon.

Until next time…….
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

ian mcdonald

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #807 on: December 27, 2017, 12:53:08 PM »
Robert, that was a lot to take in on one days visit. A return trip next year during spring/summer will no doubt produce another good selection of species.

Robert

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #808 on: December 27, 2017, 01:39:45 PM »
Ian,

Yea, I logged over 100 vascular plant species on this outing. This is a lot for the wintertime.

There are multiple reasons for me to return to this area. At the present time, I am trying to tract down the relic (what may be a relic population) population of Rhododendron occidentale on Sweetwater Creek (i.e. the 7 June 1908 entry on Calflora). In addition, when I visited last spring I noticed a number of unusual forms of Brodiaea elegans ssp. elegans. And there is much more to investigate.

In addition, this outing got my “bells and whistles” going about some other plants I saw this summer. There is a very unusual population of Rhododendron columbianum on Lyons Creek that needs further investigation. I finally may have some indicator species that will help me piece together past vegetation patterns and distribution.

So, this outing was extremely productive for me.
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: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #809 on: December 28, 2017, 09:13:10 AM »
Robert,

interesting to see the chaparral during wintertime.
Trond Hoy, gardening on the rainy west coast of Norway.

 


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