First post: An intro to the project

Ladd Canyon is an intriguing area of the Santa Ana Mountains to study. There are no official trails into the canyon. The old Ladd Canyon Spring Trail is no longer maintained, and the so-called Smashmouth on Pleasants Peak’s south ridge is an unofficial route following SCE power lines installed in the early 2000s. Most past botanizing has been along Main Divide, although there are some old records from the short Ladd Canyon Spring Trail in upper East Fork. Reason enough to get into the canyon to see what is there! But there is more to consider here. The area at the north of Ladd around Pleasants Peak has the only serpentine soil in the Santa Ana Mountains, and serpentine is an important source of endemic species in California. It has also been suggested that moist marine air is funneled by the local topography up through Ladd Canyon, increasing moisture levels. The knobcone pine stands near Pleasants Peak are said to be associated with the serpentine soil and to rely on fog drip from the wet marine air. Their needles really do collect an impressive amount of water in morning fog. Finally, the canyon has been largely untouched by fire since the Green River Fire in 1948.

These abiotic factors could make a difference in the plant community in this part of the mountains. This project is an effort to document all the vascular plant species in Ladd Canyon, and many of the iNat observations here are associated with voucher specimens that will be preserved at the herbarium at California State University, Long Beach.

Posted by ddonovan17 ddonovan17, June 16, 2021 05:45

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