11 de diciembre de 2019

Hunting for Rhododendron macrophyllum in Skamania County, Washington.

In the Mount Hood region of the northern Oregon Cascades the Pacific Rhododendron (R macrophyllum) commonly forms impenetrable thickets, and scattered plants, in the understory of mixed conifer forests. I have gone on hikes in Skamania County, especially at Siouxon Creek and around Mt St Helens, and do not recall having seen it growing there. I have been finding R menziesii and R albiflorum however. R menziesii, which I was not familiar with until earlier this year is fairly widespread, while R albiflorum is present about 3,900' elevation on the west side of Mt St Helens in suitable habitat in Cowlitz County, east of Elk Pass, and in Indian Heaven Wilderness along the Thomas Lake Trail. I had heard that R macrophyllum was found in the vicinity of Big Huckleberry Mountain. On an early winter hike along the Pacific Crest Trail south of BHM we failed to find it, but then a late start, and early sunset curtailed getting to the area where they are found.

A search of the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria website yielded three specimens from Skamania County. Two collected by Wilhelm Suksdorf in 1896 along Moss Creek, and a more recent speciment collected in July 1965 by James R Slater west of the "Hemlock Rager Station." This is believed to be the Wind River Ranger station. see: http://www.pnwherbaria.org/data/results.php?DisplayAs=WebPage&ExcludeCultivated=Y&GroupBy=ungrouped&SortBy=Year&SortOrder=DESC&SearchAllHerbaria=Y&QueryCount=1&IncludeSynonyms1=Y&Genus1=rhododendron%20&Species1=macrophyllum&County1=skamania&Zoom=4&Lat=55&Lng=-135&PolygonCount=0

Question is, why is R macrophyllum so uncommon on the north side of the Columbia River when it is so common on the south side? One factor could be the 1902 Yacolt Burn which burnt 90,000 acres of Skamania and Clark Counties. And who knows, it just might be common in areas I haven't yet spent much time in.

Publicado el diciembre 11, 2019 06:17 MAÑANA por geographerdave geographerdave | 1 observación | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

20 de agosto de 2019

Rhododendron albiflorum, Mount Hood - east side

On August 18, 2019 Andrew Stern and I hiked from the Elk Meadow trailhead near Hood River Meadows Ski area to Elk Mountain. We hiked up trail 645 to the Bluegrass Ridge Trail 647 to the Elk Mountain Trail spur. Over to the vista point on Elk Mountain, then north thru the 2011 burn to the Bluegrass Ridge Tie 647B, down to the Elk Meadow trail and back(south) to the trailhead.

According to the Oregon Flora website (http://www.oregonflora.org/atlas.php) Lilla Leach collected R albiflorum on the high ridge east of Elk Meadow, Mt Hood on 31 Jul 1927. My goal was to see if the species still existed in that area since the Bluegrass Fire in 2006 had burnt much of the Bluegrass Ridge east of Elk Meadow, north of Elk Mountain. (see: https://wyeastblog.org/2016/10/22/dollar-lake-fire-five-years-after/ ).

We located a large area of R albiflorum along the Bluegrass trail about a half mile or so east of the Elk Meadow Trail at about 5400' elevation. The stand is healthy and covers several acres. We did not get off the trail so could not see how extensive the stand is.

On top of Bluegrass Ridge we did not locate any in the 2006 burn area - unlike the 2011 Dollar Lake burn area on Cathedral Ridge where R albiflorum is numerous and healthy. The 2006 Bluegrass fire did burn close to Elk Meadow on the east. A small patch of R albiflorum was found, and noted, along the trail just south-east of Elk Meadow.

Along Elk Meadow trail north of the trailhead we did find three patches of R albiflorum each consisting of maybe 10 or so plants. The first about 50' north of Umbrella Falls trail was on a flat area, while two other patches were south of Umbrella Falls trail in two rills.

Another spot with both R albiflorum and menziesii was found south of Sahalie Falls in a road cut.

Publicado el agosto 20, 2019 07:11 TARDE por geographerdave geographerdave | 5 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario