The Oregon Siskiyous

The California Floristic Province (or CFP for those in the know) doesn’t stop at the northern border of the state. Just like California, southwestern Oregon has a Mediterranean climate with cool, relatively wet winters and hot, dry summers. Additionally, several mountain ranges extend from Northern California into Oregon. One of these is the Siskiyous. The Siskiyou Mountains are the largest section of the Klamaths, which also includes the Trinity Mountains to the south and a number of smaller ranges. The Siskiyous extend in a large arc from Crescent City, California in the southwest to their collision with the Cascades just west of Ashland, Oregon. This past week, I botanized two areas of the Oregon Siskiyous–the Soda Mountain Wilderness, and the Siskiyou Crest from Mount Ashland to Cow Creek Glade. The former area, at elevations from 4,500-5,500 feet was in glorious full bloom. The later, ranging from 6,500-7,500 feet was covered in snow until recently, and the flowering was just getting going. At both spots, the floral diversity was amazing.

A few of the species, particularly those at higher elevations, are extremely range-restricted. These include Horkelia hendersonii (Henderson’s Horkelia, Rosaceae),

Tauschia howellii (Howell’s Umbrellawort, Apiaceae)

1Tauschia_howellii_2

And unquestionably my favorite find of the week, Castilleja schizotricha (Splithair Paintbrush, Orobanchaceae)

1Castilleja_schizotricha_2

The latter has a beautiful rose-pink color and is amazingly fuzzy all over. Here is a flower that I have dissected a bit to reveal the fuzzy bract (modified leaf below the flower), the fuzzy sepals (structures above and below the petals), and the fuzzy corolla (petal) tube:

1Castilleja_schizotricha_3

The next set of plants are found throughout a larger area of the Klamaths, but are mostly restricted to just Northern California and Southwest Oregon. We’ll start with a second fuzzy paintbrush! Castilleja arachnoidea (Cobwebby Paintbrush, Orobachaceae),

2Castilleja_arachnoidea

Triteleia crocea (Yellow Trumpet Lily, Themidaceae),

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Allium siskiyouense (Siskiyou Onion, Alliaceae) with its pink bulb and falcate (sickle-shaped) leaves,

the adorable Lomatium fusiformis (California Biscuitroot, Apiaceae), which was blooming feet away from a melting snowfield.

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and, like my last post, I found another beautiful cream-colored Iris Iris chrysophylla (Golden-leaved Iris, Iridaceae).

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I took hundreds of photos this week, but I’ll just post a few more of my favorites of more widely-distributed plants. Will start with a Fritillary, Fritillaria atropurpurea (Mountain Fritillary).

3Fritillaria_atropurpurea

Kopsiopsis strobiacea (California Ground Cone, Orobanchaeae). Yes it’s a flowering plant that appears to be mimicing a pine cone. Yes, that’s the whole plant–it doesn’t need green leaves because it’s a root parasite.

3Kopsiopsis_strobilacea

 

Camassia quamash (Common Camas, Agavaceae) with a butterfly visitor. The butterfly is an Olive Hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus), whose caterpillars feed on trees in the Cupressaeceae (Junipers and Cedars).

3Camassia_leihtlini_and_Callophrys_gryneus

And finally, two (distantly related) plants with large white flowers with yellow centers: Hesperochiron pumilus (Dwarf Hesperochiron, Boraginaceae)

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and Polemonium carneum (Royal Jacob’s Ladder, Polemoniaceae)

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Whiskeytown

Long story, but I ended up spending all of last week helping out with some bird surveys in Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. The park (which as the visitor’s center t-shirts proclaim, doesn’t have whiskey or a town) is centered around Whiskeytown Lake, about 10 miles east of Redding, California. This puts it the southern foothills of the Klamath Mountains. While the science focused on birds and trees, I did make some time to point my camera downward. Most of the following flowers are only found in Northern California and Southern Oregon.

Dichelostemma ida-maia (Firecracker Flower, Themidaceae)

Dichelostemma_ida-maia

Mimulus kelloggii (Kellog’s Monkeyflower, Phrymaceae). They’ve actually updated the taxonomy of Mimulus, so I probably should start using the new names. It’s now Diplacus kelloggii.

Mimulus_kelloggii_1

I don’t often photograph shrubs, but when I do they have showy flowers. Philadelphus lewisii (Lewis’s Mock Orange, Hydrangeaceae). This genus is called Mock Orange because the flowers look like those of distantly related citrus plants, although the later have five petals.

Philadelphus_lewisii

A couple plants named after their blue color–Penstemon azureus (Azure Beardtongue, Plantaginaceae)

Penstemon_azureus

and Calochortus coeruleus (Blue Star Tulip, Liliaceae), with a crab spider lying in wait for a pollinator

Calochortus_coeruleus

A couple more widely distributed annuals–Clarkia rhomboidea (Tongue Clarkia, Onagraceae)

Clarkia_rhomboidea

and Navarretia intertexta (Interwoven Navarretia, Polemoniaceae)

Navarretia_intertexta

A couple plants in monotypic genera with no close relatives–Odontostomum hartwegii (Hartweg’s Doll’s-lily, Tecophilaeceae)

Odontostomum_hartwegii_1

and Cycladenia humilis (Waxydogbane, Apocynaceae)

Cycladenia_humulis_1

Lastly, Iris tenuissima (Slender Iris, Iridaceae) an absolutely beautiful iris that was delightfully common in the area.

Iris_tenuissima_1