It's summer and it's hot. The slopes and ridges are baking in the sun, but pools of water persist in the creek beds. I have not been collecting nearly as much as in the spring. There is less to collect, for one thing, and I have been careful to avoid the hottest days. Then, I was also preparing for the Botany 2021 conference. There's plenty to do in the cool climes of Long Beach anyway, like reading James P. Smith's book on the grasses of California -- anyone who looks at my Poaceae observations knows I need help there. I also made a list of taxa that I know are in the area but that I haven't collected because either I observed it in a vegetative state or it was someone else who collected it or posted an iNat observation. The list is over 50 taxa, and that's just what we know about. Several of these should be blooming now or in August, so we'll see what the next field trip brings.

June 30: I hiked from Ladd Canyon Road through the main canyon to East Fork. Close to East Fork, there is a relatively wide bench with a lot of Lepidospartum squamatum, a.k.a. scale broom (one of those that should be in bloom soon). I wonder what else might be there; it's a unique spot in the project area. In East Fork, I made my first botanical discovery by smell. It was in a relatively lush part of the creek, passing though a bunch of the usual riparian perennials -- no poison oak in this case! ... actually, just kidding, it was in the mix too -- in which the usual smell is from Stachys rigida, a mint-family plant with an interesting, sort of nice smell. I had to backtrack because I registered the scent of something delightful. It was Pycnanthemum californicum. Bob Allen told me it's a mint you can ID by its wonderful smell, but he didn't mention finding it that way.

July 16: A hike up West Fork. This was a long, hot hike to check on a second population of Monardella leucophylla. The main fork population still had some flowers, but when I finally relocated the West Fork group, I was out of luck. If it wasn't a great day for collecting, though, there was still some cause for joy: Humboldt lilies were blooming everywhere. Honestly, the first thought that flits through my head when I see the Humboldts is that I'm probably committing bad science through collection bias, i.e. collecting (or making iNat observations of) the glittering beauties and neglecting the less glamorous specimens. One reason to read up on grasses is to counter this, after all. But whose going to object when a long, hot, unproductive day is brightened by our most fabulous flower? I came to my senses and enjoyed myself, and I took a lot of pictures.

Posted by ddonovan17 ddonovan17, July 21, 2021 08:50


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