Eastern Mojave Vegetation Field Notes (Continued)  
 

Tom Schweich  

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Contents
Literature Cited
 When I first read the field notes of Annie Alexander and Louise Kellogg, I was fascinated by the descriptions they wrote about the places they went and the plants and animals they found there. By publishing my field notes on the Internet I hope to follow a little bit in their tradition.
 

July 2010

 
 

Friday, July 2, 2010

 

Other articles: California Highway 120 at Dross Rd  

626  Mimulus nanus var. mephiticus, collected beside Dross Road on the way to the transfer station, plants not hairy when first collected here on 16 June 2010 (see smaller specimen), but hairy when collected June 30, 2010 (see larger specimen).

Diplacus mephiticus (Greene) G.L. Nesom. Skunky Monkey Flower. Pumice Valley, Mono County, California. Along Dross Road to the Mono County Transfer Station. 37.9048°N, 119.0622°W. WGS 1984. Elev. 6823 ft. Plants not hairy when first collected here on 16 June 2010, see smaller specimen, then hairy when collected 30 Jun 2010, see larger specimen.

Other articles: Forest Road 1N02 at Sagehen Mdw
Full Size ImageHabitat of Bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata var. tridentata) in Sagehen Meadow.  

627  Purshia tridentata (Pursh) DC. var. tridentata. Antelope Bitterbrush.

Sagehen Meadow, Mono County, California. North edge of meadow. 37.8719°N, 118.8577°W. WGS 1984. Elev. 2500 m.

Other articles: Forest Road 1N02 at Sagehen Mdw
Full Size ImageHabitat of Phlox stansburyi in Sagehen Meadow.  

628  Phlox stansburyi (Torrey) A. A. Heller. Cold-Desert Phlox.

Sagehen Meadow, Mono County, California. North edge of meadow. 37.8716°N, 118.8577°W. WGS 1984 Elev. 2538 m. Plants erect, branches open, not matted.

Other articles: Forest Road 1N02 at Sagehen Mdw
Full Size ImageHabitat of the Ash Penstemon (Penstemon cinicola) in Sagehen Meadow.
Full Size ImageFlower of Penstemon cinicola.  

629  Penstemon cinicola D. D. Keck. Ash Penstemon.

Sagehen Meadow, Mono County, California. South side of meadow, locally common at edge of meadow. 37.8702°N, 118.857°W. WGS 1984. Elev. 8342 ft. Spreads by rhizomes, infloresence crowded at nodes, glabrous, corolla 7 mm, blue-purple, glabrous except hairy floor, valves spreading, staminode yellow hairy.

Full Size Image
Infloresence of Penstemon cinicola.
  2500-2700 m.
Penstemon cinicola My Collection No. 629  Penstemon rydbergi var. oreocharis
Perennial 15–40 cm, glabrous or short-hairy below Perennial, spreading by rhizomes, 20 cm.   Perennial 20–60 cm, generally glabrous(or finely hairy on stems below)
Leaves mostly cauline, 30–60 mm, linear, entire, folded lengthwise, arching-recurved Leaves mostly cauline; Leaves entire; basal and lower cauline leaves well developed, oblanceolate; upper cauline leaves 25–70 mm, lanceolate
Inflorescence glabrous Infloresence glabrous  
Flower:   Flower:
- calyx 1–2.5 mm,   - calyx 3–5 mm,
- lobes widely obovate, tips generally jagged-toothed; tips entire; - lobes narrowly oblong to (ob)ovate;
- corolla 6–9 mm, blue-purple, glabrous except hairy floor;   - corolla 9–14 mm, blue to purple, glabrous (except white- to yellow-hairy floor);
- anther sacs 0.3–0.5 mm, valves spreading widely;   - anther sacs 0.5–0.8 mm, dehiscing full length;
- staminode yellow-hairy   - staminode densely golden-yellow-hairy
Chromosomes: 2n=16,32   Chromosomes: 2n=16
Ecology: UNCOMMON. Dry, rocky, igneous soils, in sagebrush openings of montane forests Rare to Common; loose, ashy soils; dry meadows or dry streambanks. Ecology: Moist meadows, streambanks, generally in montane to subalpine forests
Elevation: 1250–2200 m.  Elevation: 1200–3100 m.
Bioregional distribution: Modoc Plateau Sierra Nevada East (SNE): Big Sand Flat, Sagehen Meadow, Crooked Meadows Bioregional distribution: Cascade Range, High Sierra Nevada, Great Basin Floristic Province
Collections in Mono County:   Collections in Mono County:
Big Sand Flat: Tom Schweich #604    
Crooked Meadows: Dean W. Taylor #6535, Michael Honer #470, #1333 (NY, vouchers at RSA and UC are determined as Penstemon rydbergii var. oreocharis)    
Dry Creek (above Big Sand Flat): Tom Schweich #648.    
    Lee Vining Canyon: L. S. Rose #50188
    Long Valley: Michael Honer #294, #912
Sagehen Meadow: Tom Schweich #629.   Sagehen Meadow: Michael Honer #976, #978
Sentinel Meadow: Michael Honer #412 (NY811909 is annotated P. cinicola, N. H. Holmgren 2004, whereas RSA682234 and UC1786831 are determined as Penstemon rydbergii var. oreocharis).    
    Sawmill Campground: Scott D. White, E. Read, G. Hawkins, A. Sears, S. Weaver #5490
Distribution outside California: Oregon   Distribution outside California: Oregon, Nevada
 

Saturday July 3rd

Early last Saturday morning we took the Mono Lake Committee’s canoe tour of Mono Lake. I didn’t take my camera, because I did not want it to get wet. So I don’t have any photographs from the tour.

The tour leaves from Navy Beach, on the south side of the lake. We left the house at 700 AM for our 800 AM tour. They want us tourists on-site a half hour before the tour, so that we can sign the liability waiver, get fitted for a life vest, and take the safety lecture. Depending upon the number of people who attend, there may or may not be a guide in each boat. Since there were only six people signed up for our tour, each canoe had a guide. The 930 AM tour had 22 people, so I’m guessing some canoes did not have guides. In our canoe, I sat in the front (I guess I should say “bow”), Cheryl sat in the middle, and our guide Sarah sat in the stern. The tour route is from Navy Beach west to South Tufa, and return. Even though it was early in the morning, the lake had swells from the north about 9 inches high.

Though Mono Lake appears blue from a distance, that must be just a reflection of the sky, for the water close up is a green from the algae growing in it. The water is clear enough though to see the bottom through 5 to 6 feet of water. I was also surprised to see so many brine shrimp. When I visited South Tufa with the Swiss botanists on Sunday, we saw a few along the shore. The same was true last summer when we Nacho took Ian out into the lake at the Picnic Grounds on the west side of the lake. However, out in the canoe you can see how many brine shrimp there are; our guide said trillions. We caught a few and saw plain brine shrimp, green brine shrimp, brine shrimp with egg cases, and mating brine shrimp. Sarah, our guide said that sometimes red brine shrimp are found and that the color is the result of the oxidation state of the iron in their hemoglobin. The eggs just sink to the bottom of the lake, and wait until next year to hatch.

Along the way, we saw several swallows nesting in holes in the tufa towers. The osprey nest we saw on the previous Sunday was vacant and we saw no osprey at all this morning. The tour also took us by a newly forming tufa tower. It was about 35 feet from shore and about 18 inches high, topping out just above the water line. It was a good size spring, with a hole about 2 inches in diameter, and water flowing about what you’d expect from a large garden hose. And the water was warm! Maybe about 85°F. When we were back on shore, though, I could not locate it out in the lake.

Back at the house, I did some things for our landlord, including measuring how far the brush had been cleared away from the house. I also discovered the wood pile outback was too close to the house, so I restacked the portion that was too close, so that none is the wood is closer than 30 feet to the house. I also blocked a little hole that allowed small animals to get into the garage.

 

Sunday, July 4, 2010

 

Other articles: U. S. Highway 395 in Bridgeport 43595
Full Size ImageIndependence Day parade in Bridgeport
Full Size ImageBridgeport Ranch Rodeo  

Sunday was the Fourth of July, and we went to Bridgeport to partake in their festivities. Bridgeport is about an hour from the house. It’s 20 minutes from the house to US Hwy 395, 10 minutes to and through Lee Vining, and then 20 more minutes up and over Conway Summit and down the other side. We parked at the east end of Bridgeport and carried our chairs across the bridge over the West Walker River. Found a good spot at pretty much the east end of town, and plunked down our chairs for a front row seat. This was about 5 minutes before the parade was scheduled to start. In Alameda, you’ve got to get there a couple of hours before the parade to get a front row seat. The parade came down Main Street, which is also US Highway 395. I was a little surprised that such a major highway would be closed for a parade, but I guess it’s just a matter of priorities. Of course, Main Street is pretty short, it’s maybe 6 blocks from one end of town to the other. So we’re thinking it’s going to be a pretty short parade. Actually it was a fairly good-sized parade for a small town (and county), with maybe 40 entries. The best part was, once the parade reached the end of town, they simply turned around and marched the other way. So everyone got to see the parade twice! Once coming, and once going.

Set up around the County Courthouse were maybe 4-5 of the “jumpy things” for kids, and a stage for various announcements and entertainment. Behind the court house, were the usual cheesy art booths with a few specialty booths. All the public land agencies were there: BLM, Forest Service, etc. The Friends of the Bodie Railway & Timber Company were there, and I learned that they paid for and built the very nice interpretive display at Mono Mills, where timber was milled before riding the railroad to Bodie.

For lunch we paid our $15 and had the barbecue lunch in the park just behind the court house. They said they were sponsored by the Bridgeport Chapter of PETA. Of course, as we learned, in Bridgeport PETA stands for “People Eating Tasty Animals,” so we had very tasty barbecued steak.

Also behind the park is the Bridgeport Museum. There they called our attention to the latest issue of their newsletter, which featured the schools and school teachers of Mono County in the early part of the 20th century. I asked them about Miss Maud Minthorn. She was the schoolmistress in Lundy in 1908. I’m aware of her because she also collected plants and sent them to the herbarium at Cal. I’ve seen 76 plant collections by Miss Minthorn at Cal which would make her the fourth most prolific collector in the Mono Lake basin. Apparently, she only lasted one year in Lundy, because her 1909 collections are from Pioche, Nevada, including one of Swertia albomarginata, the little plant I study. From Pioche, she went back to Cal, earned a Masters in mathematics, and then taught high school math in Fresno for any years. Well, anyway, after some correspondence with the director of the museum, this was new information to them. Some day, I need to go to a Fresno museum or historical society, because perhaps looking at old high school yearbooks, I can find a photo of Miss Minthorn.

We hung around the park for a while, enjoyed the karaoke, which was mixed in with Frank and his significant other, Ellie or Evie, something like that, performing separately and together. Frank did an excellent Conway Twitty. They must have been in their eighties, and were still performing in Minden and Gardnerville.

Now it was time for the rodeo, so we walked from the courthouse at the middle of town to the west end of town, two blocks, to the rodeo grounds. There was a woman standing by the rail, setting up her tripods, cameras, etc., so I struck up a conversation with her about the rodeo, where to sit, etc. She gave us a great orientation, and we sat right at the railing, directly opposite the announcer’s booth and the bucking bronco chutes.

This was a ranch rodeo, not the professional stuff we see on television. So the events featured skills that the cattle ranchers used. The most interesting was the cattle loading event. For this event they brought a pickup truck and a trailer into the arena. Four cowboys (and cowgirls) … I dunno could you say “cowpersons?” … would load their horses into the trailer and then get into the truck. At “Go,” they would jump out of the truck, get the horses out of the trailer, set up a temporary fence, go round up three cows, get them into the trailer, take down the temporary fence, close the door, and gather their horses together. I think the fastest time was 1:34 minutes. And all kinds of thing could go wrong. If your horse wandered away while the fence was being taken apart, that counted against you. Sometimes the cows would stay together, and sometimes they would scatter. I got a good video of this event, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAHwxI3kdLs it’s uploading right now, but our upload speed is pretty slow, so it may not be done before I send this out. There were lots of other events at the rodeo, and it went on for about four hours. Two hours was great; three hours would have been enough; but at the four hour mark I was beginning to feel like a roast lobster, even with our hats and sunscreen. It was fun, though, and I’m glad we went.

 

Monday, July 5, 2010

Yesterday, we stayed around here, and I botanized. Won’t bore you with too many details, but I did find several Sierran wet meadow plants down in the swale that drains Sagehen Meadow. Here’s a short list: Longstalk Starwort (Stellaria longipes), Primrose Monkeyflower (Mimulus primuloides) in the photo at right, and Water Minerslettuce (Montia chamissoi). Looking at what’s been collected in this area, the plants at Sagehen Meadow seem a little more similar to the wetter meadows on the flanks of Glass Mountain, than to the nearby sand flats just a mile or so away. I also collected the Prickly Phlox (Linanthus pungens) and Western Blue Flag (Iris missouriensis) that are now blooming all over the meadow.

Just above the wet part of the meadow, I found a Cinquefoil (Potentilla) that keyed out straight to Comb-Leaf Cinquefoil (P. gracilis var. elmeri). I’m always a little nervous when something keys out easily, as in “could I have gone wrong in the key somewhere?” But finding this plant here, and having keyed it out, I’m now wondering about a Potentilla we saw at the Benton Hot Springs Ranch. It was on their list as Potentilla gracilis var. gracilis. In an exchange with Barbara I learned var. gracilis was a coastal variety, and that the likely variety out here was var. elmeri. That’s what I found here at Sagehen Meadow. So should I call this to the attention of the Eastern Sierra Land Trust? Suggest they re-examine their Potentilla in the field? Let it be? I don’t know.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S196 in Sagehen Mdw

Locations: Sagehen Meadow.
Full Size ImageHabitat of Potentilla gracilis var. elmeri in Sagehen Meadow.  

630  Potentilla gracilis Hook. var. elmeri (Rydb.) Jeps. Comb-Leaf Cinquefoil.

Sagehen Meadow, Mono County, California. South side of meadow. 37.8697°N, 118.8565°W. WGS 1984. Elev. 2502 m. With sagebrush.

Full Size Image
Potentilla gracilis var. elmeri in Sagehen Meadow.
Full Size Image
Potentilla gracilis var. elmeri in Sagehen Meadow.

Other articles: Forest Road 1N02 at Sagehen Mdw
Full Size ImageColl. No. 631, Agoseris glauca var. glauca, collected at Sagehen Meadow.
Full Size ImageColl. No. 631, Agoseris glauca var. glauca, collected at Sagehen Meadow.  

631  Agoseris glauca (Pursh) Raf. var. glauca. Pale Agoseris.

Sagehen Meadow, Mono County, California. South side of meadow. 37.8698°N, 118.8564°W. WGS 1984. Elev. 2529.

Full Size Image
Coll. No. 631, Agoseris glauca var. glauca, collected at Sagehen Meadow.

Other articles: Forest Road 1N02 at Sagehen Mdw

Locations: Sagehen Meadow.
Full Size ImageHabitat of Iris missouriensis in Sagehen Meadow.  

632  Iris missouriensis Nutt. Western Blue Flag.

Sagehen Meadow, Mono County, California. South side of meadow, in drier areas mixed with Artemisia cana and Carex douglasii. 37.8703°N, 118.8556°W. WGS 1984.

Full Size Image
Iris missouriensis in Sagehen Meadow.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S196 in Sagehen Mdw

Locations: Sagehen Meadow.
Full Size ImageHabitat of Linanthus pungens at Sagehen Meadow.  

633  Linanthus pungens (Torr.) J.M. Porter & L.A. Johnson. Granite Prickly Plhox.

Sagehen Meadow, Mono County, California. South side of meadow. 37.8701°N, 118.8552°W. WGS 1984. Elev. 2536 m.

Full Size Image
Linanthus pungens at Sagehen Meadow.
  634  Rumex paucifolius S. Watson. Alpine Sheep Sorrel.

Sagehen Meadow, Mono County, California. South side of meadow. 37.8704°N, 118.8552°W. WGS 1984. Elev. 2532 m.

  635  Juncus mexicanus Willd. (Syn: Juncus balticus Willd. var. mexicanus (Willd.) Kuntz ) Mexican Rush.

Sagehen Meadow, Mono County, California. South side of meadow. 37.8704°N, 118.8552°W. WGS 1984. Elev. 2532 m.

12 June 2011:

  • Rhizamatous
  • Upper culms compressed (sort of), a few twists evident
  • Infl appears lateral, lowest bract like an extension of the stem
  • Perianth bristles absent
  • Fls many per cluster
  • Floral bracts 2-ranked
  • Perigynia absent
  • Anthers 2 mm., filament < 0.5 mm, therefore anthers > filaments
  • Stigma 2+
  • Many ovules

Other articles: F. R. 01S04A 10300 Forest Road 1N02 at Sagehen Mdw Field Notes Coll. No. 603, 22 Jun 2010.

Locations: Sagehen Meadow.
Full Size ImageHabitat of Stellaria longipes in Sagehen Meadow.  

636  Stellaria longipes Goldie ssp. longipes. Longstalk Starwort.

Sagehen Meadow, Mono County, California. In the swale draining the meadow, southeast corner. 37.8707°N, 118.8552°W. WGS 1984 Elev. 2532 m.

Other articles: Forest Road 1N02 at Sagehen Mdw

Locations: Sagehen Meadow.
Full Size ImageErythranthe primuloides in Sagehen Meadow.  

637  Mimulus primuloides Benth.

Erythranthe primuloides (Benth.) G.L. Nesom & N.S. Fraga. Primrose Monkey Flower.

Sagehen Meadow, Mono County, California. In the swale draining the meadow, at a log dam intended to reduce erosion. 37.8707°N, 118.8552°W. WGS 1984. Elev. 2533 m.

Full Size Image
Habitat of Erythranthe primuloides in Sagehen Meadow.

Other articles: Forest Road 1N02 at Sagehen Mdw
Full Size ImageHabit of Montia chamissoi in Sagehen Meadow.  

638  Montia chamissoi (Spreng.) Greene. Toad Lily.

Sagehen Meadow, Mono County, California. In the swale draining the meadow, southeast side. 37.8707°N, 118.8552°W. WGS 1984. Elev. 2533 m.

  I found Abronia turbinata and Penstemon spectabilis on the slopes immediately southeast of the Sagehen Meadow Campground. Neither of them are developed well enough to collect. I should go back there again in a week.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S160 above Sagehen CG
Full Size ImageHabitat of Castilleja chromosa south of Sagehen Meadow.
Full Size ImageColl. No. 639, Castilleja chromosa  

639  Castilleja angustifolia (Nutt.) G. Don. Desert Indian Paintbrush.

Sagehen Meadow Campground, Mono County, California. about 1 mile south of Sagehen Meadow Campground on Forest Road 01S160, 37.854°N, 118.8585°W. WGS 1984. Elev. 2630 m. parasitizing Linanthus pungens among bitterbrush and Jeffrey pines.

Taylor (2010) uses C. chromosa Nelson, but C. angustifolia (Nutt.) G. Don is the earliest epithet in the widespread C. chromosa Nelson complex. More study needed.

8 June 2011:

  • Perennial
  • Hairy (not glabrous or wooly), hairs not branched, not glandular below spike
  • Leaves 3-divided
  • Calyx cleft equally dorsally and ventrally
  • Infl reddish
  • Stigma unclear whether 2-lobed or not when dry, but not diagnostic anyway

Full Size ImageColl. No. 640, Carex aquatilis var. aquatilis
Full Size ImageColl. No. 640
Full Size ImageColl. No. 640  
640  Carex aquatilis Wahlenb. var. aquatilis in water at the mouth of Dry Creek, where it enters Big Sand Flat, just off California Highway 120.

8 June 2011:

  • Infl not exceeding leaves
  • Monoecious
  • Unilocular
  • Perigynia not nerved (or maybe weakly nerved)
  • Style 1
  • Stigma 2 (Sect. Phacocystis)

… at least I think it's Carex aquatilis … there is a Helmkamp collection from Pilot Spring, while Taylor (2010) does not list it for the Mono Lake basin.


Full Size ImageHulsea vestita with bee as seen in Big Sand Flat.
Full Size ImageHulsea vestita in Big Sand Flat.
Full Size ImageHabit of Hulsea vestita in Big Sand Flat.  
641  Hulsea vestita A. Gray ssp. vestita. Stem leafless, Leaves woolly, spoon-shaped. Near mouth of Dry Creek where it enters Big Sand Flat, and near California Highway 120, in very soft sandy soil.
Full Size Image
Coll. No. 641, Hulsea vestita

Literature Cited:
- Baldwin, Bruce G., Steve Boyd, Barbara J. Ertter, Robert W. Patterson, Thomas J. Rosatti, and Dieter H. Wilken, 2002.

Other articles: Forest Road 01S27K 74000 Mono Lake Basin Flora near Sagehen Summit

Locations: Big Sand Flat.  

642  Astragalus monoensis Barneby. East end of flat on very sandy soil with sedges and lupines.

Fairly easy to recognize due to, "Crown below soil surface, lower stipules especially underground stipules fused around stem into sheath (Baldwin, et al., 2002)."

Full Size Image
Astragalus monoensis in Big Sand Flat
Full Size Image
Habitat of Astragalus monoensis in Big Sand Flat
Full Size Image
Astragalus monoensis in Big Sand Flat
Full Size Image
Astragalus monoensis in Big Sand Flat

Full Size ImageFirst photo taken of Collinsia parviflora, before I knew what it was.  
There was also this little thing in the swale that I need to key out. I thought needed a day or two to mature.
 

Thursday, July 8, 2010.

Jan and Kees visited for an afternoon and dinner. Kees and I walked in the meadow where I showed him the little plant that I had discovered that morning. I took a few more photographs, and then learned it was Collinsia parviflora. The closest previous collection to Mono Lake basin was by Mary DeDecker in 1984 at “Sky Meadow,” near Kelty Meadows, about 14 miles southeast of Sagehen Meadow. I can’t really claim to have found this little plant in the Mono Lake basin, but I’m getting close. It’s also interesting to me (and maybe other botanists) that Michael Honer did not collect this species while working on his flora of Glass Mountain. Perhaps it shows the variability of plants from year to year.

Full Size ImageHabit of Collinsia parviflora in Sagehen Meadow
Full Size ImageCollinsia parviflora in Sagehen Meadow.  
643  Collinsia parviflora Lindl. In the swale draining the meadow.
  644  Mimulus nanus Hook. & Arn. var. mephiticus (Greene) D. M. Thomps. In open areas southeast of the spring. Somewhat ambiguous as to var. mephiticus vs. var. nanus.
  645  Phacelia bicolor Torr. ex S. Watson var. bicolor. In open areas southeast of the spring.
  646  Arabis hoboellii Hornem. var. pinetorum (Tidestr.) Rollins. In open areas southeast of the spring.
  647  Rumex paucifolius S. Watson. Under Jeffrey pines southeast of the spring.

Full Size ImageHabitat of Penstemon cinicola on upper Dry Creek.  
648  Penstemon cinicola D. D. Keck. In upper Dry Creek, where it is crossed by Forest Road 1S56, just north of Crooked Meadows.
  View upstream (northeast) of Dry Creek.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S56 at Dry Creek near Dry Ck Mono Lake Basin Flora upper Dry Ck.

Locations: Dry Creek.
Full Size ImageView upsteam (northeast) of Dry Creek.  

View downstream (west) of Dry Creek.
Full Size Image
View downstream (west) of Dry Creek.
Full Size Image
Looking into Dry Creek drainage from divide.
  View into Dry Creek drainage from divide.
 

Friday, July 9, 2010

 

Other articles: Test Station Road near South Tufa

Locations: South Tufa Area.
Full Size ImageFresh water spring with new tufa  

 

Locations: South Tufa Area.
Full Size ImageBirdwatchers at South Tufa.  

Mimi and her family came the next day after an arduous journey filled with wrong turns. On Friday, we went to the Mono Lake tourist spots, of Panum Crater, the Visitor Center, lunch at the county park, and then South Tufa. We brought our flip-flops and waded in the lake, catching brine shrimp and alkali flies. Then Saturday, we took the shuttle bus into Devils Postpile National Monument. Getting off at the Ranger Station this time, we saw the postpile from bottom and top, and then hiked up to Minaret Falls.
 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

 

Full Size ImageSoda Springs on the San Joaquin River.  
on the San Joaquin River.
 

Monday, July 12, 2010

On Monday, Cheryl and I drove to some botanical spots locally, and I made a few collections inside the Mono Lake basin.

Locations: Sagehen Meadow Campground.
Full Size ImageHabitat of Abronia turbinata near Sagehen Meadow Campground  

649  Abronia turbinata S. Watson. On loose sand slope just south of the Sagehen Meadow Campground.

Locations: Sagehen Meadow Campground.
Full Size ImageOverview of Coll. No. 650, Penstemon speciosus
Full Size ImageFlower of Coll. No. 650, Penstemon speciosus  

650  Penstemon speciousus Lindl. on wooded slopes west of the Sagehen Meadow Campground.

Leaves, upper glabrous; Infloresence, axis and pedicels glabrous; Calyx 7-9 mm; Corolla, color blue, 30 mm, throat 11 mm wide; Anthers glabrous (definitely not wooly), sacs not dehiscing full length, spreading not quite 90°.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S160B s. end of mdw s. end of mdw near gate
Full Size ImageMeadow in Dry Creek Canyon.
Full Size ImageRoad into Dry Creek meadow.  

We found a little road that crosses the upper portion of Dry Creek. This road is shown on USGS quadrangle maps, but not the forest maps. The forest puts out a special series of “Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUM),” printed on newsprint. At the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua, I talked to the Friends of the Inyo about these maps and their input to them. They suggested that I should call to the attention any roads not shown on the maps. Well, comparing one paper map to another, it doesn’t look like this road is shown. But it would be nice if the special MVUM maps were available in a GIS format, so I could compare the maps electronically and reduce the chance that I might err in my coparison. Anyway, we plunged down this road. There was a gate at the upper end. However, the gate was unlocked and wide open so we drove in. The chain and lock were still on the gate. I suppose someone could have cut the chain and left the gate open, but I really did not inspect the chain and lock carefully. Inside was a beautiful meadow: hawks screeching, frogs croaking, lots of plants to collect. I collected for about an hour, and then we headed down the road a little further.
Full Size Image
The gate at the south end of the road.

Full Size ImageColl. No. 651, Salix exigua var. exigua  
651  Salix exigua var. exigua. Coyote Willow.

Tall shrub, forms thickets (maybe clone-forming); Leaves entire, linear, 5-7 (8) mm wide, not glandular at base of blade on petiole, pubescent below, pubesence appressed and parallel to axis.


Full Size ImageColl. No. 652, Juncus orthophyllus
Full Size ImageColl. No. 652, Juncus orthophyllus  
652  Juncus orthophyllus Coville. Straight-Leaf Rush.

Perennial; Stem with pith; Leaf blade flat, flat side oriented toward stem, sheaths open and not appendaged; Flowers in head-like clusters, 5-6 per cluster; Perianth 5 mm; Anthers basifixed; Ovary not unilocular, ovules and seeds obviously many more than locules; Stigmas 3.

In Taylor (2010) this would key out as J. covilleii because of the few flowers per cluster. In TJM2, size of perianth and fruit would distinguish them.

  653  Geum macrophyllum
  654  Stellaria longipes var. longipes
  655  Gilia sp.
  There was a good strong culvert where the road crossed the creek in a tree shaded glen. Along Dry Creek (with running water), I found what I believe to be Thalictrum sparsiflorum, with a common name of Few-Flowered Meadow Rue. For botanist eyes only: it definitely has bisexual flowers, so I’m pretty sure about the determination. This would be the first collection of this plant in the Mono Lake basin away from the Sierra Nevada.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S160B at col. Locn.
Full Size ImageFlowers of Ranunculaceae Thalictrum sparsiflorum, collection #656
Full Size ImageLeaf of Thalictrum sparsiflorum along Dry Creek.  

656  Thalictrum sparsiflorum Turcz. ex Fisch. & C. A. Mey. Fewflower Meadow-Rue.
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Coll. No. 656, Thalictrum sparsiflorum
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Coll. No. 656, Thalictrum sparsiflorum
  Across the creek, the road starts to climb out of the little canyon of Dry Creek. While I collected some interesting things along the road, we eventually came upon a fallen tree across the road. Just beyond the fallen tree was also a gate. But like the gate at the beginning of the road, the gate at the end was open. Regardless, the tree was much too big for me to move, so we had to back down the road, maybe a quarter mile, until I could find a (safe) place to turn around.

Full Size ImageColl. No. 657, Ipomopsis aggregata ssp. formosissima
Full Size ImageColl. No. 657, Ipomopsis aggregata ssp. formosissima  
657  Ipomopsis aggregata (Pursh) V. E. Grant ssp. formosissima (Greene) Wherry. Scarlet Gilia.

Perennial, infl clusters not on one side of axis (they appear to alternate to me); calyx lobes long-ish (?) but acuminate, not hairy; corolla 23-26 mm, color red; pollen yellow.

  Thinking about lunch, we drove to an overlook of Long Valley that Karl, the contractor, told me about. While the view was pretty, the wind was strong, and the clouds a little thundery, so we decided not to stay at that exposed location, and drove to Pilot Spring for lunch.

I was a Pilot Spring about a week before. While there, I noticed some Western Columbine (Aquilegia formosa) that were about to bloom. Today, they were in bloom. I made a check up and down the stream bed until I found enough that I thought it OK to collect, about a dozen plants, and then made a small collection. The odd thing about Pilot Spring is that quite a few plants have been collected there once, but not more that that. G. K. Helmkamp collected only Sierra Sanicle (Sanicula graveolens) ever found in Mono County at Pilot Springs in 1997, but I’ve not found it there since. I collected Large-Leaf Avens (Geum macrophyllum) there in 2008 and haven’t seen it at the spring since. And, now, even though this is the fourth year I’ve checked Pilot Spring, I’ve found Western Columbine for the first time. Don’t know if this means anything. Barbara suggested maybe the species are brought there in the wool of sheep, or perhaps on or in other sheep parts.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S04 Pilot Spring

Locations: Pilot Spring.
Full Size ImageHabitat of Aquilegia formosa at Pilot Spring.  

658  Aquilegia formosa Fisch. ex DC. Western Columbine.
   

Other articles: Forest Road 1S17 at Crooked Mdws
Full Size ImageShooting Stars in Crooked Meadows  

Shooting Stars in Crooked Meadows.
   
 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

When Steve visited, we walked down in the meadow, and I showed him the Ash Penstemon (Penstemon cinicola). Typically, Penstemons looking like this one are determined P. rydbergii var. oreocharis or P. procerus subsp. formosus. However, Dean Taylor’s collection from Crooked Meadows was annotated P. cinicola by Margriet Wetherwax, and a Michael Honer collection from the same location were annotated P. cinicola by Noel Holmgren. I’ve been finding this plant in Sagehen Meadow, and upper reaches of Dry Creek, and I’ve found a few in Big Sand Flat. So I think I have extended the Mono County range of P. cinicola from just Crooked Meadows, to Sagehen Meadow and Big Sand Flat.

Other articles: Glossary spur

Locations: Sagehen Meadow.
Full Size ImageHabitat of Lupinus argenteus near Sagehen Meadow.  

659  Lupinus argenteus var. argenteus. Perennial, no basal leaves, only cauline leaves, petioles 5-6 cm, flower spurred ± 1 mm, upper keel margin ciliate, banner back hairy.

17 May 2011: Looked at this again. If I could see the spur being 1-3 mm, then it could be L. a. var. heteranthus, a much more common variety, though mostly in the western portion of the Mono Lake Basin. However, a length of 1 mm is really stretching it. So I don't think it's var. heteranthus. Another alternative is var. palmeri, which Mary DeDecker collected nearby, but I don't see the stem hairs spreading, and the leaves have some green instead of gray to silver. So, I'm staying with var. argenteus.

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Detail of Collection No. 659
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Flower of Collection No. 659
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Overview of Collection No. 658
 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

 

Full Size ImageMoth seen at Mono Lake County Park  
For Katherine’s visit, we did the Mono Lake spots on Wednesday, and then took an abbreviated trip on Thursday to the Long Valley Overlook. On the way we stopped at Crooked Meadows to look at the Shooting Stars, and also found a lot of the Ash Penstemon. On the way back we stopped along Sagehen Meadows Road to view the “arborglyphs.”

As this was our third time stopping along the road, we’re beginning to understand that Jose Irigoyen was a prolific arborglyphist. . I thought the glyph in the photo at right showed a lot of creativity with the stylized carving of the letters. Hopefully, Jose was just as creative in his sheep herding. I’m not sure how much time he spent guarding the sheep. And perhaps a few were carried off by the coyotes, as he may have documented that as well. One of the arborglyphs is the epithet “Estuos putas coyotes.” Many of these glyphs carry dates of 1967 and 1970. We’ve been seeing a few signs that sheep are still grazed in the area. Tuesday, we noticed a loading chute between Mono Mills and Big Sand Flat. And, later, while climbing Panum Crater with Katherine, we noticed a double-decker stock truck and trailer. Friday, we saw a water truck going up Sagehen Meadow Road.

Supposedly, the sheep herders will come and ask if they can graze the private property in the meadow. We’re pledged to ask them not to do so. We really want to keep the meadow nice and attractive because it’s for sale. (And, actually, truth be told, I’d be really sad if the Forest Service lets the sheep graze the meadows. As dry and sandy as they are, they would look horrible if grazed and torn up by the sheep.) I just hope they don’t come while we’re gone. Or, if they do come while we’re gone, they’ll assume that not having permission means they shouldn’t graze the meadow.

Locations: South Tufa Area.
Full Size ImageTorrey's Blazing-Star (Mentzelia torreyi) at South Tufa.  

I saw this Torrey's Blazing-Star (Mentzelia torreyi) along the trail at South Tufa. There are no collections of this taxon at this location. All collections in the Mono Lake basin are around Black Point.
 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

 
  660  Eriogonum spergulinum var. reddingianum

Locations: Sagehen Meadow.
Full Size ImageHow to distinguish between Eriogonum umbellatum var. umbellatum and var. nevadense per FNANM.
Full Size ImageHabit of Eriogonum umbellatum var. nevadense near Sagehen Meadow.  

661  Eriogonum umbellatum var. nevadense
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Eriogonum umbellatum var. nevadense
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Overview of Eriogonum umbellatum var. nevadense
  662  Achnatherum hymenoides

Full Size ImageColl No. 663, Stipa comata
Full Size ImageColl No. 663, Stipa comata  
663  Stipa comata Trin. & Rupr. Var. comata Needle and Thread. Distal awn curled in age.

Full Size ImageColl. No. 664, Hordeum jubatum
Full Size ImageColl. No. 664, Hordeum jubatum  
664  Hordeum jubatum L. ssp. jubatum Foxtail Barley. North of the meadow among sagebrush.

7 June 2011:

  • Annual
  • Internodes hollow
  • Sheath open
  • Ligule membrane reduced, auricles not seen on upper leaves, no lower leaves available.
  • Infloresence type panicle, although appearing spike-like
  • Compression: eh?
  • Disarticulation at nodes
  • Spikelets consistent in construction
  • Spikelets per node, appears to be 2, one on a very short stalk, but not really sessile, perhaps distorted by pressing and drying
  • Glumes awn-like 55 mm
  • Lemma veins 5, awns attached at end
  • Florets per spikelet 2+, reduced above

Other articles: Forest Road 01S17G 75000
Full Size ImageCalochortus seen on the rim of the Long Valley caldera
Full Size ImageFlowers (Balsamorhiza sagittata) along road in burned area.  

Calochortus seen in burned area on rim of Long Valley caldera.
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Round-Leaved Snowberry Symphoricarpos rotundifolius in the burned area along the road.

Other articles: Forest Road 01S17G near burned area.
Full Size ImageOwens River and Long Valley from north wall of Long Valley caldera  

View south of the Owens River and Long Valley.

Other articles: Forest Road 1N02 at upper viewpoint
Full Size ImageView of the Mono Lake basin from Sagehen Meadow Road  

Near the summit on Sagehen Meadows Road is an excellent view point.

Other articles: Forest Road 1N02 near arborglyphs
Full Size ImageA particularly elaborate arborglyph.
Full Size ImageCheryl by arborglyphs beside Sagehen Meadow Road.  

Beside the road are numerous arborglyphs.
 

Friday, July 16, 2010

 

Locations: Sagehen Meadow.
Full Size ImageHabitat of Symphoricarpos rotundifolius near Sagehen Meadow
Full Size ImageSymphoricarpos rotundifolius near Sagehen Meadow  

665  Symphoricarpos rotundifolius A. Gray var. rotundifolius Roundleaf Snowberry. Plant erect, corolla length 6-8 m, 1½ × width of erect lobes, inside of tube hairy in lower ½.
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Symphoricarpos rotundifolius near Sagehen Meadow
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Detail of Collection No. 665, Symphoricarpos rotundifolius var. rotundifolius
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Overview of Collection No. 665, Symphoricarpos rotundifolius var. rotundifolius

Locations: Sagehen Meadow.
Full Size ImageCastilleja applegatei var. pinetorum near Sagehen Meadow.
Full Size ImageCastilleja applegatei var. pinetorum near Sagehen Meadow.  

666  Castilleja applegatei Fernald subsp. pinetorum (Fernald) T. I. Chuang & Heckard. Behind the house north of the meadow. Stem many, 40 cm, hairs not branched, not particularly glandular-sticky, Leaf 25-42 mm, margin wavy, lobes 0-3, Calyx 14 mm, divided > ½ in front, < ½ in back, lobes acute.
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Habitat of Castilleja applegatei var. pinetorum near Sagehen Meadow.
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Overview of Collection No. 666, Castilleja applegatei var. pinetorum

Full Size ImageMountain Mahogany on hills near Sagehen Meadow
Full Size ImageDetail of Collection No. 667.
Full Size ImageOverview of Collection No. 667.  
667  Cercocarpus ledifolius Nutt. var. intermontanus N. H. Holmgren. Curl-leaf Mountain Mahogany.

Full Size ImageOcean Spray (Holodiscus discolor var. microphyllus) on hill above Sagehen Meadow
Full Size ImageFlowers of Collection No. 668, Holodiscus discolor var. microphyllus
Full Size ImageOverview of Collection No. 668, Holodiscus discolor var. microphyllus  
668  Holodiscus microphyllus Rydb. Ocean Spray.
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Stems and leaves of Collection No. 668, Holodiscus discolor var. microphyllus

Full Size ImageColl. No. 669, Phacelia ramosissima
Full Size ImageColl. No. 669, Phacelia ramosissima  
669  Phacelia ramosissima Douglas ex Lehm. Var. ramosissima

Full Size ImageColl. No. 670, Grayia spinosa  
670  Grayia spinosa (Hook.) Moq. Spiny Hop Sage.

Full Size ImageIncoming Storm  
Incoming storm.

Full Size ImageBruneau Mariposa Lily (Calochortus bruneaunis) as seen north of Sagehen Meadow  
Possible Calochortus bruneaunis seen on the hill slope north of Sagehen Meadow. Only one seen, not collected.
 

July 17 to July 19th

As you might have gathered, Cheryl and I are visiting our parents for a few days. Here, near sea level, the air has a soupy, humid feel to it. I think we’ll be glad to return to the dry, thin air of Sagehen Meadow. Clothes dry on the line in about a half-hour. Shirts never feel sticky or wet. And exposing a sweaty back by taking off a back pack, leaves one shivering from the cold. We’re also acclimatized to having few people around. The direct route from Sagehen Meadow to Atascadero is by way of Yosemite Valley. The traffic jams and crush of people at Bridalveil Fall,and the Wawona tunnel viewpoint were a little overwhelming. Not to mention the highway construction on California Highway 41 between the valley floor and Wawona. For the return trip, we’re hoping to miss some of this by using CA Highway 140 to the valley. There is just no reasonable way to avoid Tioga Pass and Tuolumne Meadows. The other passes all take much more time.
 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

 

Other articles: Forest Road 1N02 n. of Sagehen Pk
Full Size ImageView of sand slope on north side of Sagehen Peak.  

One of the landforms we have out here are barren sand slopes scattered here and there. You may have seen them in my other photos of Sagehen Peak. The photo at right is a closeup and the sand slope is just below center. When we first arrived in early June, the slopes looked quite barren.

As the summer has past, though, the slopes have taken on a silvery green aspect. On Friday of last week, I made an expedition to one of these slopes.

On close inspection, it turns out these slopes are very loose and soft cinders. There is almost a monoculture of lupine on them, the same species I identified near the house in Sagehen Meadow: Lupinus argenteus var. argenteus. I’m the only guy around here who thinks the variety argenteus can be found here. Michael Honer who did the Glass Mountain flora lists variety palmeri, but then again, none of his collections indicate that he ever collected specifically on these “barren” sand slopes. So maybe it’s another small issue that will have to be resolved back in the herbarium. Around the edges of the sand slopes are buckwheats and penstemons, but besides the lupines, the only other plant growing in the sand slopes is an odd little thing called Shield Plant (Streptanthus tortuosus). This is another high Sierra plant that I am finding out here in the high, dry meadows. I guess the lesson is that staying in one smallish area, and looking again and again, you’ll find something no one else has found.


Full Size ImageColl. No. 671, Stipa occidentalis var. occidentalis  
671  Stipa occidentalis Thurb. ex S. Watson var. occidentalis. Beside Sagehen Meadows Road approximately 1/2 mile north of Sagehen Peak.

Coll. No. 671, 5 Nov 2011, Characters observed while keying: Lemma hairy; Palea << lemma; Awn all segments hairy, lowest hairs < hairs on upper lemma.

Other articles: Glossary terete
Full Size ImageDetail of Coll. No. 672, Rosa woodsii var. ultramontana
Full Size ImageOverview of Coll. No. 672, Rosa woodsii var. ultramontana  

672  Rosa woodsii Lindl. var. ultramontana (S. Watson) Jeps. In a flat area beside Sahegen Meadows Road approximately 1/2 mile north of Sagehen Peak, 7/22/2010 Sagehen Peak, Mono County, California. (Sagehen).

30 Oct 2011: Characters observed while keying: Shrubs large; Leaves glandless; Leaflet tip rounded (as opposed to truncate); Prickles generally terete, slender, straight or slightly curved; Sepals glandless, tips entire, persistent in fruit (Note to self: remember the ovary is inferior, so the sepals are on top of the fruit.); Petals 10-25 mm (measured 10-19 mm); Pistils >10 (observed 26±).


Full Size ImageColl. No. 673, Muhlenbergia richardsonis
Full Size ImageColl. No. 673, Muhlenbergia richardsonis  
673  Grass, looks somewhat like a saltgrass.

Full Size ImageOverview of Coll. No. 674, Chenopodium leptophyllum  
674  Chenopodium leptophyllum (Moq.) Nutt. ex S. Watson. In a flat area beside Sagehen Medows Road about 1/2 mile north of Sagehen Peak.

27 Oct 2011: Characters observed while keying: Annual, Leaves dull green to grayish; Lower Blades, one-veined from base, < 3.5 mm wide (measured 2 mm wide); Seed horizontal.


Full Size ImageDetail of Coll. No. 675, Lupinus argenteus var. argenteus  
675  Lupinus argenteus Pursh var. argenteus.

Characters observed while keying: Perennial > 1 dm, stem hairs appressed, leaves cauline, petioles 4-4.5mm, calyx spurred <= 1 mm, banner back hairy, keel upper margin ciliate distal half.


Full Size ImageColl. No. 676, Streptanthus tortuosus
Full Size ImageColl. No. 676, Streptanthus tortuosus  
676  Streptanthus tortuosus Kellogg. Glabrous throughout, cauline leaves clasping. On a barren sand slope about 1/3 mile north northwest of Sagehen Peak, and east of Sagehen Meadow Road, 7/22/2010 Sagehen Peak, Mono County, California. (Sagehen).
  677  Penstemon speciosus Lindl. On a barren sand slope about 1/3 mile north northwest of Sagehen Peak, and east of Sagehen Meadow Road, Common at this location, nearly finished flowering. 7/22/2010 Sagehen Peak, Mono County, California. (Sagehen).

Full Size ImageHabitat of Eriogonum microthecum var. ambiguum
Full Size ImageOverview of Coll. No. 678, Eriogonum microthecum var. ambiguum  
678  Eriogonum microthecum Nutt. var. ambiguum (M. E. Jones) Reveal. On a dry mesa about 1/3 mile north of Sagehen Peak, and east of Sagehen Meadow Road, 7/22/2010 Sagehen Peak, Mono County, California. (Sagehen).

27 Oct 2011: Characters observed while keying: Subshrub ± erect (not cushion-like or matted); Stems upright, not jointed; Leaves not in fascicles, 10-20 mm, slightly rolled under; Bracts scale-like (as opposed to leaf-like); Infloresence branches short, evenly branched; Involucres solitary, terminal; Perianth base not jointed with a pedicel, glabrous, yellow.

 

Friday, July 23, 2010

 

Other articles: Forest Road 1S161 at end
Full Size ImageEnd of the road.
Full Size ImageColl. No. 679, Lupinus argenteus var. meionanthus  

679  Lupinus argenteus Pursh var. meionanthus (A. Gray) Barneby. Leaves cauline, flower white, banner glabrous, keel ciliate entire length. Among Jeffrey pines at the northwest base of the peak with the "Crooked" benchmark, at the end of Forest Road 1S161.

Coll. No. 679, 5 Nov 2011, Characters observed while keying: Perennial, herb, >= 3 dm tall (obs: 4.5-5 dm); Leaves cauline, spread along stem; Leaflets 22-38 mm, upper surface appressed hairy, not wooly; Infloresence open; Pedicels slender, 4-5 mm; Calyx spur mere bulge; Bracts persistent; Flower white, 10-11 mm; Banner base lightly hairy, back glabrous; Keel upper margin ciliate claw to tip not uniform, cilia density increases claw to tip.

Keys to Lupinus holmgrenanus in TJM1, L. gracilentus in TJM2, L. argenteus var. meionanthus in TJDM, and L. pratensis var. eriostachyus in Taylor (2010). The larger flower size of 10-11 mm is usually what gets one off track while keying. Also, the persistence of the bracts can be a problem.


Full Size ImageColl. No. 680, Juncus orthophyllus  
680  Juncus orthophyllus Coville. Streambed in upper reaches of Dry Creek, above Big Sand Flat.

Perennial > 10 dm; Stem with pith; Leaf mostly basal, blade flat, flexible, flat side oriented toward stem, sheaths open and not appendaged; Flowers in head-like clusters, 5-6 per cluster; Perianth 4-5 mm; parts <= 1.5 mm wide; Anthers basifixed; Ovary not unilocular, ovules and seeds obviously many more than locules; Stigmas 3.

In TJM1 and Taylor (2010) the few number of flowers per cluster would lead one to J. covilleii, which has been collected once in Slate Creek Valley (J. Clausen, 1839, Sep 14 1940, UC1154006). In TJM2, size of perianth and fruit would separate them. TJDM does not include J. covilleii.


Full Size ImageColl. No. 681, Eriophyllum lanatum var. integrifolium  
681  Eriophyllum lanatum (Pursh) J. Forbes var. integrifolium (Hook.) Smiley. Sandy soils among Jeffrey pines near the top of Dry Creek.

Coll. No. 681, 3 Nov 2011: Characters observed while keying: Perennial subshrub, not thistle-like; Leaves entire to 3-(5-)lobed (not compound), margins flat; Headsradiate, > 15 mm wide including ligules (obs: 17-18 mm wide); Phyllaries 5-10 or < 15 (1 obs = 8), keeled; Receptacle naked; Flowers not all ligulate, color yellow; Ray flowers present ±8 (1 obs = 7); Achenes with a small crown-like pappus of scales.


Full Size ImageColl. No. 682, Calyptridium umbellatum  
682  Calyptridium umbellatum (Torr.) Greene. Mt. Hood Pussypaws. (Syn: Calyptridium umbellatum var. caudiciferum (A. Gray) Jeps.; Cistanthe umbellata (Torr.) Hershk.) 3 Nov 2011: The smaller of these two specimens were partially dissected to show whether the infloresence was terminal (C. umbellatum) or axillary (C. monospermum). I could not really see that, but it is clear that there are multiple rosettes (C. umbellatum) rather than a single rosette (C. monospermum).

Full Size ImageColl. No. 683, Lupinus lepidus var. confertus
Full Size ImageColl. No. 683, Lupinus lepidus var. confertus  
683  Lupinus lepidus Douglas ex Lindl. var. confertus (Kellogg) C.P. Sm. Leaves basal and cauline, banner glabrous, keel white to dark red-purple, ciliated distal half. Uppermost portion of Dry Creek, sandy soil of volcanic cinders. 7/23/2010 Dry Creek, Mono County, California.

30 Oct 2011: Characters observed while keying: Perennial herb; Leaves mostly cauline, spread along stems, upper and lower surfaces hairy; Leaflets largest < 40 mm (obs: 10-12 mm); Infloresence > leaves, dense, whorls > 7 (obs: 8-10); Calyx spur 0-1 mm; Banner back glabrous, spot yellow; Keel ciliate on distal half, color white to dark red-purple.


Full Size ImageColl. No. 684, Phacelia hastata var. compacta  
684  Phacelia hastata var. compacta Hairs more spreading than appressed, calyx glandular below hairs.

Full Size ImageDetail of Coll. No. 685, Geum macrophyllum  
685  Geum macrophyllum Willd. Mouth of Dry Creek at Big Sand Flat, close to California Highway 120.

30 Oct 2011: Characters observed while keying: Perennial herb, drying green; Flowers 3-10 (observed: 8, 10), erect; Epicalyx should be present per Taylor (2010) but unable to see; Sepals 4, green; Hypanthium shape ? (unable to observe in dried specimens), bractlets unclear (but see small appendages circled in red on detail photo); Petals present, yellow; Styles persistent, 2-9 mm (obs: 4-5 mm), tapered, hooked, bristles at base (see detail photo, conflicts with species description), not plumose.

Other articles: Forest Road 1N02 in Mono Basin in Adobe Vy
Full Size ImageView into Mono Lake basin from Sagehen Meadow Road
Full Size ImageView into Adobe Valley drainage from Sagehen Meadow Road.  

View into Mono Lake basin from Sagehen Meadows Road.

Other articles: Forest Road 1N02 near 1S160 near 1S160 Forest Road 1S160 near Sagehen Mdws Rd
Full Size ImageSagehen Meadow Road in Mono Lake basin.
Full Size ImageSagehen Meadow Road in Mono Lake basin  

Sagehen Meadows Road, 1N02, near junction with 1S160.
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Little road heading south.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S160 near Dry Ck
Full Size ImageRoad crosses a dry tributary of Dry Creek.  

Forest Road 1S160 (1S437) crosses a dry tributary of Dry Creek. This may be a good place to access the main course of Dry Creek.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S160 in Adobe Vy drainage edge of Mono Basin
Full Size ImageLooking out of Mono Basin into Adobe Valley drainage.
Full Size ImageLooking into Mono Lake basin near Sagehen Peak  

Divide between Adobe Valley and Mono Lake basin.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S160B at s. end
Full Size ImageLooking northwest into Dry Creek.  

 

Other articles: Forest Road 1S160B near gate
Full Size ImageThe gate at the south end of the road.  

 

Other articles: Forest Road 1S160B near gate
Full Size ImageOpen gate and fallen tree.  

 

Other articles: Forest Road 1S12 near 1S04
Full Size ImageEast end of Forest Road 1S12  

East end of Forest Road 1S12.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S88 in Little Sand Flat
Full Size ImageMono Craters as seen from Little Sand Flat  

View of the Mono Craters from Little Sand Flat.
 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

 
  View of sand slope on north side of Sagehen Peak.
 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

On Sunday, we took a little trip to the Bodie Hills. There is a little lupine that stumped me last time I visited in 2007. This time, I sat in the dirt with the plant and the book and worked through the key, until I arrived at Lupinus lepidus var. lobbii., sometimes called the Donner Lake Lupine. It grows in mats with some of the flowers above the leaves, and some below. This little lupine is actually quite common in the upper Mono Lake basin, at such places as Saddlebag Lake, Dana Plateau, and Tioga Pass. So it’s a little unusual to find it in the Bodie Hills away from the Sierra Nevada. And there is another similar lupine that others have collected in the Bodie Hills, called Lupinus breweri, or Brewer’s Lupine. Brewer, by the way, was the botanist on the California Geological Survey in 1860-1864. Oftentimes, the identification of a plant hinges on subjective observations, such as: would you dense the arrangement of flowers as “dense” or “open.” In this case, I think the flowers are dense, so I’m going with the Donner Lake Lupine rather than Brewer’s Lupine. Of course, the right thing to do is to check my determination with a Lupine expert when I get back to the herbarium. I hope I’m right, but time will tell.

After collecting the little lupine, we were exploring a little dirt road, and saw some ears sticking up. There were pretty big for deer ears. Turns out they were antelope ears, and this little herd numbered 6 or 7 individuals. They would not let us get very close, nor would they stand still while I changed lenses on my camera, so this is about the best photo I could get.

The other thing we saw on this trip has me puzzled a bit. It’s an exclosure of some sort, i.e., it’s meant to keep animals out. The usual purpose is to see what effects animals, such as cows or sheep, are having on plants by excluding them from an area, and then comparing the measurements of things inside the exclosure to things outside. I’ve seen three of these this summer: this one in the Bodie Hills, one in Big Sand Flat, and another in Alkali Valley. They are of the same dimensions, roughly 3 feet on a side and 4 feet tall, roughly pyramidal, and made of welded rebar and 6 inch wire. The thing is, the area inside the exclosure is quite small, so the organism under treatment must be quite small also. It can’t be a big bush. Maybe someone is studying the effects of large grazing animals on ants, and ant hills (?). Of course, the pyramidal shape could also suggest they are navigation beacons for aliens ….. *<8^)

Other articles: Unknown Forest Road on basin floor Field Notes Coll No. 487
Full Size ImageLooking south toward Mt. Biedeman
Full Size ImageMats of Lupinus lepidus var. lobbii  

686  Lupinus lepidus Douglas ex Lindl. var. lobbii (S. Watson) C. L. Hitchc.

Plant < 1 dm, matted, cauline lvs clustered near base, leaf upper surface hairy, largest lflt < 40 mm, infloresence gen > lvs, sometimes < lvs, dense, headlike, 2-8 cm, calyx spur 0, bracts persistent, banner back glabrous, upper keel margin glabrous.

Same as my collection no. 487.

Full Size Image
Collection No. 686 of Lupinus lepidus var. lobbii
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Coll. No. 686, Lupinus lepidus var. lobbii
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Coll. No. 686, Lupinus lepidus var. lobbii

Full Size ImageColl. No. 687, Crepis intermedia  
687  Crepis intermedia A. Gray. Limestone Hawksbeard.

Coll. No. 687, 7 Nov 2011, characters observed while keying: Perennial 6 dm tall; Leaves alternate, pinnately lobed; Infloresence a panicle with 7-19 heads; Involucre 10 mm long; Phyllaries in 2 series, 4 outer << inner, 4 inner black tipped; Receptacle naked; Flowers unable to discern color or ray vs. disk; Achenes 6, pappus of bristles.

Other articles: California Highway 270 19000 Field Notes 2-Aug-07
Full Size ImagePotentilla biennis, Coll #688, Bodie Hills
Full Size ImageColl. No. 688, Potentilla biennis  

688  Potentilla biennis Greene. Yellow flowers, growing with nettles.

Coll. No. 688, 7 Nov 2011, characters observed while keying: Perennial herb (not shrub), to 4 dm, without stolons; Stem some hairs weakly glandular; Leaflets 3; Petals yellow, 1.5 mm; Carpels numerous on a convex receptacle; Styles attached at tip of achene (carpel?), 0.6 mm long, widest at base, bumpy; Achene glabrous.

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Coll. No. 688, Potentilla biennis

Other articles: California Highway 270 19000
Full Size ImageHorkelia fusca ssp. parviflora, Coll #689
Full Size ImageColl. No. 689, Horkelia fusca var. parviflora  

689  Horkelia fusca Lindl

Other articles: Cottonwood Canyon Road at miners cabin
Full Size ImageMiners cabin in Cottonwood Canyon.  

Small miners cabin and spring in Cottonwood Canyon.
  690  Mimulus primuloides

Other articles: Cottonwood Canyon Road at miners cabin Field Notes Coll. No. 841
Full Size ImageColl. No. 690.1, Epilobium ciliatum
Full Size ImageColl. No. 690.1, Epilobium ciliatum  

690.1  Epilobium ciliatum Raf. Fringed Willowherb.

Cottonwood Canyon, Mono County, California. At small spring and miner's cabin 0.6 mi (1 km) south southwest of Sugarloaf. 38.1795°N, 119.0123°W. WGS 1984 Elev. 2440 m.

Coll. No. 690.1, 8 Nov 2011, characters observed while keying: Annual, to 1 dm, glabrous, not tap-rooted; Leaves basal 0, cauline opposite, to 3 cm, 1 cm wide, not reduced above; Ovary inferior; Hypanthium, ±1 mm. (measured from ovary tip? to sepal base); Sepals 4, 3 mm; Petals 4, white to rose; Stamens 2 × 4 = 8, unequal; Stigma entire.

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Coll. No. 690.1, Epilobium ciliatum
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Coll. No. 690.1, Epilobium ciliatum

Full Size ImageColl. No. 691, Rosa woodsii var. ultramontana  
691  Rosa woodsii var. ultramontana

Other articles: Unknown Forest Road near divide near divide
Full Size ImageLooking west into Clearwater Creek (East Walker River) Drainage
Full Size ImageLooking east into the Mono Basin.  

Looking back into the Clearwater Creek drainage. Clearwater Creek is tributary to the East Walker River.

Other articles: Unknown Forest Road where the antelope play California Highway 270 n. of Mt. Biedeman
Full Size ImageAntelope in the Bodie Hills  

We saw a small herd (6 or 7 animals) of antelope.

Other articles: Unknown Forest Road near the exclosure California Highway 270 nw. of Mt. Biedeman Forest Road 01S27K in Big Sand Flat
Full Size ImageSmall exclosure in Bodie Hills.  

Small exclosure alongside the road. I'm seen similar exclosures in Alkali Valley and Big Sand Flat.

Other articles: California Highway 270 n. of Mt. Biedeman
Full Size ImageSmall lightning set fires in the Bodie Hills.  

Noticed a couple of small fires north of the highway.

Locations: Sagehen Meadow.
Full Size ImageSagehen Meadow and Sagehen Peak after a thunderstorm.  

7:20 PM, we take a walk in the meadow after a day of thunderstorms.

Other articles: Field Notes 15 Jun 2011  

Monday, July 26, 2010

Monday July 26th So, we had a little fire drill on Monday

You may know that eastern California has had a lot of thunder and lightning in the past few days. We had quite a lightning show out here, and about a quarter inch of rain. The National Interagency Fire Center listed this event as being 33 fires of varying sizes.

Well, late Monday afternoon, I looked out the back window, and saw all this smoke billowing up. It was huge. It was also clear that the smoke was being blown to the northeast, i.e., parallel to the house. But it looked pretty close. We decided to go take a look.

The exercise of putting our shoes on became an exercise is gathering whatever stuff we thought we would need for a day or two. A week of pills, a change of clothes, our computers, cameras, etc. As we were driving out the road, the main question to us was whether the fire was on our side of CA Hwy 120 or the other side. But as we got closer to the highway it became apparent the fire was some distance away, about 10 miles away, down by the Mono Crater, Panum Crater and the South Tufa area. We felt a little sheepish, but drove down nearer to the fire, where a nice CHP officer told us that Highway 120 was closed because the fire was about to jump the road.

It’s not like CA Highway 120 is the only route by which we can leave the house. We could leave to the southwest, by way of the dirt Bald Mountain Road. Or, we could go south and then east on another dirt road, past Crooked Meadow, Sentinel Meadow and Dexter Canyon. Or, even closer to home is a small 4WD road that comes out on CA Hwy 120 at Gas Pipe Spring. We actually drove that route one day just after we arrived here, just to make sure which little road to take, and where it comes out to the highway.

Anyway, after having a nice chat with the CHP officer (AAA with guns), we drove back to the house, had dinner and went about our business.

I collected three different plants, and then getting chased back to the house by a rapidly approaching thunderstorm. We have gotten quite a bit of rain the last few days, and this wave of thunderstorms came through. According to the rain gauge, we got about a quarter inch of rain, enough to dampen down the dust. That small amount of rain only soaks into the soil an inch or so, but I imagine it’s enough to benefit the plants somewhat.

Locations: Sagehen Meadow.
Full Size ImageArnica sororia in Sagehen Meadow.
Full Size ImageColl. No. 692, Arnica sororia  

692  Arnica sororia
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Coll. No. 692, Arnica sororia
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Habitat of Arnica sororia in Sagehen Meadow.
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Arnica sororia in Sagehen Meadow.
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Coll. No. 692, Arnica sororia
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Coll. No. 692, Arnica sororia

Full Size ImageCastilleja pilosa in Sagehen Meadow
Full Size ImageColl. No. 693, Castilleja pilosa  
693  Castilleja pilosa (S. Watson) Rydb.

Full Size ImageHorkeliella congdonis in Sagehen Meadow
Full Size ImageColl. No, 694, Horkeliella congdonis  
694  Horkeliella congdonis (Rydb.) Rydb. Congdon's False Horkelia

Full Size ImageLeaf of Diplacus mephiticus
Full Size ImageFlower of Diplacus mephiticus  
Photographs of Mimulus nanus, after comparison with Thompson (2005) determined to be var. mephiticus
 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tuesday morning, we planned to attend a wildflower walk along the Tioga Pass Road, near Ellery Lake. It was to be led by Cathy Rose, a National Park Service volunteer at Tuolumne Meadows. Turns out that Cathy Rose knew Carl Sharsmith (the Mountain Sage, as his biography is titled) and she has been leading wildflower walks for a long time.

Of course, to get to Tioga Pass, the best route is still west on California Highway 120 past the location of the fire. I checked the CalTrans and CHP web sites Tuesday morning and learned that the highway was still closed. One of the lines on the CHP web site was, “

9:15PM They will be keeping the roadway closed all the way out of Benton Crossing because of European tourists running out of gas.

I guess American tourists know not to run out of gas, or residents can fend for themselves or something like that. We decided to call CHP when we got out to the road and see if, as residents, we would be allowed to pass through the fire zone, not to mention we were curious about what the fire zone looked like. Well, CHP thought we could get through, but transferred us to the Mono County Sheriff. They thought we could get through also and said, “Come on down, we’ll let you through.”

At South Tufa, the highway was barricaded. We drove around the barricade since we’d been invited to “come on down.” The Deputy Sheriff we encountered hadn’t heard of our personal invitation, however, and greeted us with flashing lights and a “Whaddya doin’ out here?!?!?!?” Upon explanation, his passenger recognized our name, and suggested to the Deputy that he let us through.

And then it was just kind of interesting to drive slowly through the fire zone. Here and there would be a burning bush (no divine words, however) a smoldering tree, a CalFire, Forest Service, or BLM truck, with guys standing around. We saw a truck marked Stanislaus Hot Shot Team, so I imagine they drove over very early this morning. Basically, I think they were just standing by to see if the afternoon winds came up or not. One thing that was apparent was the fire had not jumped the highway.

Our original objective, which you may remember from the previous page, was a Wildflower Walk hosted by Cathy Rose. Our meeting place was the dam behind which Ellery Lake is found. Right off the Tioga Pass road, the elevation is about 9000 ft, so the zone was maybe low Alpine zone. Southern California Edison, who owns the dam, and the powerhouse below, has installed a catwalk across the spillway for fisherman and wildflower walk access. For the walk we followed a little road, probably left over from construction of the dam and penstock. I have driven by this location many times, but never stopped and crossed the dam, and never knew this little road, or hiking trail, was hidden there. We saw a lot of interesting plants, mountain heathers and other things in the Heath family, 5 species of conifer tree, and a little tiny Astragalus (loco weed) with spines on the tips of its leaflets. As the field trip ended at noon, we went by the post office to collect our mail, and then to the Mobil gas station for lunch. We shared the Chicken Caesar Wrap, half of which was just right for lunch. Then we toured the June Lake Loop, and came home.

It was pretty clear that CA Hwy 120 would be closed, so we came back via some of the dirt back roads. The forest south of Mono Lake has a lot of good dirt roads. Perhaps this is due in part to a large number of small fires, as the roads pass through many burned areas, and other areas where a lot of fuel reduction work has been done. The route was south on US Hwy 395 to Bald Mountain road, east on that road, and then north on Indiana Summit Road back to Highway 120 in Big Sand Flat. From our road, Sagehen Meadows Road, we could look back toward the Mono Craters, and see that the wind was whipping the fire out of control again.

Other articles: California Highway 120 at Ellery Lake
Full Size ImageWildflower walk led by Cathy Rose  

Wildflower walk led by Cathy Rose near Ellery Lake.
 

Thursday, July 29th

And then, last Thursday, we attended the opening of an exhibit of Mono Paiute baskets and other woven work at the Forest Service Visitor Center. The Mono Paiutes are not a federally recognized tribe, so they don’t have a reservation and other benefits that come with recognition. They’re working on recognition, but it seems to be a long and difficult road for them. This exhibit features the work of six Mono Paiute women.

Finally, after the exhibit opening we went to the Thursday night bluegrass at the Mobil Station. I had the Baby Back Ribs. The bluegrass music was pretty good, and we enjoyed talking with our table mates.

 

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Saturday,July 31st Saturday we went to a concert in Parsons Lodge near Tuolumne Meadows. The concert was given by Malcolm Dalglish and his Ooolation Singers. It’s really the performance part of a summer musical camp that Dalglish runs. Their headquarters are at a resort called “Burgers” fairly close to Lee Vining. To get there you have to go up the Log Cabin Mine Road. That’s one of the roads we haven’t done yet. It’s on our list, though. The music was eclectic, there were a couple of traditional Irish songs, some mouth music somewhat like the Bobby McFerrin music, and even a little klezmer, complete with a trombone. This concert was held in Parsons Lodge near Tuoloumne Meadows. To get there you park near Lembert Dome, and then walk about a half mile south. At nearly the same place is Soda Springs, where the water is naturally carbonated. Parsons Lodge was built a long time ago by the Sierra Club, as a place to meet and discuss, and enjoy.

Locations: Soda Springs.
Full Size ImageFrasera speciosa at Soda Springs, Tuolumne Meadows.

Species Lists: Frasera speciosa  

Soda Springs with Frasera speciosa
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Date and time this article was prepared: 2/10/2017 5:06:51 PM