Saturday, May 18, 2013

In the Vicinity of Berry Creek

 The Mountain Lady's Slippers are back!  In Latin, they are Cypripedium montanum, in the Family Orchidaceae.  A friend told me a week ago that they were blooming in a remote stretch of Taylor Creek, but at my favorite spot off the Oakland Camp Road they were barely in buds.  Things happened fast this past week of alternating rain and sunshine.  Friday afternoon there were over a dozen plants blooming in my spot, many of them having two or more blossoms each.
 I've yet to find an insect in or on one of these, but I'll check regularly.  Orchids are generally pollinated by tiny wasps, so I'd love to see that happen.
 In this same dark, shady area, there are other orchids, the corralroots, and several species of lilies, the most prominent one at this time being the False Solomon's Seal, Maianthemum racemosa (below).

[Photo of False Solomon's Seal accidentally deleted from this spot during editing.  I'm going to wait until I get near a decent WiFi connection before trying to fix it.]

 At the roadside that marks the spot, there are many Western Dog Violets blooming.  They are quite short and fairly well-hidden by the taller wild grasses, Mugwort, and other foliage.  This is the only species of violet around here that's violet or blue, most of the others being yellow.  And we have a white species, Macloskey's Violet.  This one is Viola adunca.

 The first Red Larkspur, Delphinium nudicaule, were blooming a couple of weeks ago, but now they are plentiful in the shady parts of the forest.  These are in the same family as Buttercups, Ranunculaceae.
 The Mugwort, Artemisia sp., is not blooming yet, and when it does, the flowers are so tiny they're easily missed.  A substitute flower, at least aesthetically, is the Skipper, an insect that is not quite a butterfly and not quite a moth.  They were plentiful on this Friday afternoon.
 AS I headed toward Oakland Camp from this spot, the forest got less dense and the roadside received much more sun. So now the dominant plants were Arrowleaf Balsamroot, which appeared in an earlier post, and Sticky Cinquefoil (below), a member of the Rose family.
 Another denizen of the dry areas is the Orchard Morning Glory, known by its detractors as Bindweed, and by botanists as Convolvulus arvensis. 
 Wrapping up Part 1 of my Friday afternoon outing is the roadside weed Rose Clover. 
I've seen patches of this clover an acre or more is area, and while it makes good forage for cattle, it is considered invasive in many areas.  It remains in bloom for many weeks, so I consider it a pleasant roadside attraction.  When I passed the camp and headed toward Gilson Creek, I came across many more new species blooming.  Part 2 will be posted soon.

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