June gloom, June heat

June 4: I had a relatively short hike in lower Ladd Canyon, and I climbed a south-facing ridge. Everything was very dry on the ridge. It was pretty horrible for collecting, but I did find Bebbia juncea in flower, a new plant to me, and got a look at a new corner of the area. There are some small, permanent pools in the lower canyon, and I spotted some Western pond turtles again.

June 7: A much better day collecting. This hike started on Main Divide, headed down the east fork of East Fork Ladd Canyon, where I had never been, and ended up back on Main Divide on the north side of Bedford Peak by climbing a ravine. The sun only came out for maybe an hour all day. New collections included Madia gracilis, Rosa californica, and Allium peninsulara. Opening the newspaper on the rose at home perfumed my living room/botany lab. The onion has some of the prettiest flowers. Is that magenta? It's quite the color, anyway. The ravine where the onion was growing has some of the richest soil in the area. It drops to the northwest and is very shady. Dropping down the ravine halfway on an early exploration had turned up some woodland-star, Lithophragma affine. It's a neat spot. One regret for the day is that I thought I had collected Daucus pusillus in the area already and took only pictures, but it turns out I have never collected it. I always forget how bad my memory is.

June 16: I spent much of the day along Main Divide. Here's another story about learning by doing and making mistakes: One main goal was to collect some wavy-leafed soap plant, Chlorogalum pomeridianum, which I had noticed before and had been checking for blooms. When I checked June 7, there were lots of buds and some spent flowers, so I didn't collect it, figuring the buds would bloom and I'd have a better specimen. On this day, there were a few buds and lots of spent flowers, and I did collect it. Had a done a little research, I would have known that the plant is a night-bloomer! I should have made a plan to be around in the late afternoon/evening just after the buds open. I ended up dissecting some buds before pressing. I dropped down into the main fork of Ladd Canyon for a little bit, and found not too much in bloom. The Pycnanthemum californicum there was growing well but had no buds yet. The highlight of the day was the flower show in the area's largest Lepechinia cardiophylla population. There were plenty of pollinators, including Osmia bees and syrphid flies. Opening the field press at home was another sweet experience. I sat breathing in the minty smell for a good minute before getting to work. The day was extremely hot, upper 90s, and I never strayed too far from the truck's AC. In fact, when I was taking pollinator pictures at the end of the day, including some video, my phone had a heat stroke and shut down. I took it back to the truck and held it up to the vent as I blasted the AC, and it was able to return to life and take a few more shots. Sheesh.

June 21: A good day collecting in lower Ladd Canyon, with a good side trip up to a rock outcrop on the south side of the canyon. New collections for the checklist included several riparian plants: Erythranthe cardinalis (scarlet monkeyflower), Hoita macrostachya, Datisca glomerata, and Rumex conglomeratus. The Rumex (aka clustered dock) is a nonnative that doesn't seem to be terribly common in the mountains. Before turning around, I ventured south up a side canyon that seems relatively long and manageable, but I soon got distracted by a scree slope below a stone outcrop. It looked like an interesting change from riparian habitat, and it was. I had spotted some Weed's intermediate mariposa lily early in the day, a species of concern. There were only five plants, so I had no collection. Here, I found more than 45 plants among the scree and spikemoss. All the lilies are nice, and this batch made a pleasant scene. I made a few other collections here, including some Eriogonum fasciculatum (buckwheat) that was blooming like crazy. I haven't paid enough attention to it since it is super common, but I want to make sure to get all subspecies in the area. These seemed to be ssp. polifolium. I'll have to look more closely.

Posted by ddonovan17 ddonovan17, June 24, 2021 19:43


I missed that Allium peninsulare observation--I watch OC and looks like the top of the canyon is actually in Riverside County, so it doesn't show up in my feed. I love that magenta color!

When I saw your picture of Pycnanthemum californicum, it was an entirely new plant to me. Never heard of it at all! Looks like it would be something nice for cultivation. Usually those Lamiaceae make for cooperative garden plants.

Posted by arboretum_amy 4 months ago (Flag)

The Allium peninsulare is one of the prettiest things I've seen out there. Pycnanthemum californicum is in Tree of Life's catalog, though I don't know if it's in stock there. I'm interested in growing it too. The smell is so good!

Posted by ddonovan17 4 months ago (Flag)

Your trip reports remind me of John Muir's writing. They are, understandably, not quite as poetic and romantic, but, still, Muiresque.

Posted by seamusd 4 months ago (Flag)

You flatter me! I'll try to be more poetic and romantic!

Posted by ddonovan17 4 months ago (Flag)

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