Thursday, July 14, 2011

habitat ~ 07/14/11 ~ Garland Ranch - Garzas Creek

Garland Ranch Regional Park - Garzas Creek
July 14, 2011

posted 09/04/11 - We were surprised at how lush and green it felt along the trails leading to Garzas Creek. This is California in mid-July where "The Golden State" could just as well be describing the fields and hills of bright yellow dried grasses. Because of this, July and August are not my favorite times of the year; I have very few hiking posts the past few years for these months. While we didn't get down to the redwood trail, I want to show there are redwoods at Garland Ranch. I have only hiked here a couple of times, compared to the main Garland Ranch entrance at Carmel River. I think I may have to visit Garzas Creek more often.

false turkey tail ~ 07/14/11 ~ Garland Ranch

I thought I'd try my hand at ID'ing these older mushrooms. Ha! The other possibility is turkey tail (Trametes versicolor). Even in fresh specimens, it can be very difficult to distinguish between the two unless you look closely at the underside and look for pores. False turkey tails lack pores, and turkey tails have pores. I'm leaning towards a S. hirsutum ID based on the dead oak it's growing on and the obviously hairy surface. T. versicolor cap is described as finely fuzzy or velvety, which I'm not sure how to tell the difference. I may have to revisit this ID in the future when I get more comfortable with mushroom ID.

Chinese houses ~ 07/14/11 ~ Garland Ranch

Chinese houses
Collinsia heterophylla
Plantaginaceae (formerly Scrophulariaceae)

I usually think of Chinese houses as a spring bloomer. I was surprised to see this in mid-July. The older reddish leaves look like they're on their last legs, but there are new shoots and blooms (ooh, 3 uses of th'air). It has been such an unusual weather year with rain as late as June, so I suspect the flowers are a bit confused.

thimbleberry ~ 07/14/11 ~ Garland Ranch

thimbleberry / salmonberry
Rubus parviflorus

This was growing right next to Garzas Creek. Simply wanting to show off the leaves. Will have another post with flowers and fruit coming soon.

buckwheat ~ 07/14/11 ~ Garland Ranch

Eriogonum sp.

I've resigned myself to the fact that some buckwheats are simply too difficult for me to ID to sp., let alone ssp. I'm guessing there are two different Eriogonum spp. in this post. Instead of pulling my hair out and spending way too much time on a single blog entry, I'm perfectly okay to post these buckwheats without a positive ID. I'll need to remember to try to take pictures of the leaves, which can often be a challenging task when they're growing in a tangle among other plants. The sunny yellow flowers shown above are common madia.

Eriogonum sp.

The yellow blooms above are, I believe, deerweed. I'm starting to suspect that other plants found growing right next to an unknown can help ID the unknown. I often use the Monterey Bay Chapter of the CNPS local plant lists to help me narrow down from hundreds of species (at least 268 Eriogonum sp./ssp. in CA alone) to just a handful. Although, I know based on my own findings and flowers listed in Wildflowers of Garland Ranch - a field guide by Michael Mitchell and Rod M. Yeager that the CNPS list is not nearly complete. For my future reference, here's a combined list of what has been documented at Garland Ranch from CNPS and the book (* denotes my guesses for the above):

(CalPhotos) --- (Calflora) --- (Jepson Interchange - older version)
elegant buckwheat --- E. elegans --- uncommon, sand or gravel
* long-stemmed buckwheat --- E. elongatum var. elongatum --- common, dry places
* coastal California buckwheat --- E. fasciculatum var. fasciculatum --- coastal scrub, often on bluffs
St. Catherine's lace --- E. giganteum --- uncommon, dry slopes, ridges
slender woolly buckwheat --- E. gracile var. gracile --- sand
* naked buckwheat --- E. nudum var. auriculatum (book) --- common, rocks or gravel
hairy flowered buckwheat --- E. nudum var. pubiflorum (CNPS) --- common, dry flats, slopes
seacliff (dune) buckwheat --- E. parvifolium --- dunes, seabluffs

ps 09/13/14 - Both the CNPS list and the Wildflowers of Garland Ranch were updated shortly after I originally wrote this post.  I've made minor var. corrections above for coastal CA buckwheat and slender woolly buckwheat.  I'm not making any guesses as to spp. from these photos, because I've since learned to take better pictures of the leaves, which for me is extraordinarily helpful.

For my own record keeping purposes, Podere di Farfalla is in the general area as Garland Ranch, and its plant list is as follows:
elegant buckwheat --- E. elegans
long-stemmed buckwheat --- E. elongatum var. elongatum
Mojave Desert California buckwheat --- E. fasciculatum var. polifolium --- dry slopes, washes
Pinnacles buckwheat --- E. nortonii --- sand
naked buckwheat --- E. nudum var. auriculatum
seacliff buckwheat --- E. parvifolium

pss 11/19/14 - I now believe the first set of photos above are seacliff buckwheat (E. parvifolium), and the second set of photos are likely (not absolutely positive) ear-shaped wild buckwheat (E. nudum var. aruriculatum).  Newer seacliff buckwheat and naked buckwheat posts have more detail.

western sycamore ~ 07/14/11 ~ Garland Ranch

western sycamore / California sycamore
Platanus racemosa

How much do leaf shapes vary? I'm not positive of this ID. It was definitely a tree. Too bad I didn't also take a picture of the trunk. I can't think of anything else it could be. We're not exactly in the tropics so leaves tend to be much, much smaller than this.

ps 11/20/11 - I originally posted this as a bigleaf maple. As I was hiking yesterday at Garzas Creek, I paid more attention to the big leaves, the bark on the trunks, and the beautiful fall colors both native CA trees provide. To see my new post, check out bigleaf maple and CA sycamore.

silver bush lupine ~ 07/14/11 ~ Garland Ranch

I wanted to show why the silver bush lupine is called silver. The green leaves are finely fuzzy and depending on the angle of the light the fuzz casts a silvery glow. Plus, I wanted to document the seed pods for my virtual collection here on Nature ID.

variable linanthus ~ 07/14/11 ~ Garland Ranch

I'm continually amazed at how I'm starting to spot more and different kinds of flowers. It wasn't so long ago when I'd hike by something like the above and probably not even notice it. Creating Nature ID has really helped me become more aware and appreciative of what's around me. Those green tufts below the flowers are bracts, which I used to only think of on poinsettias.

sticky snapdragon ~ 07/14/11 ~ Garland Ranch

sticky snapdragon / withered snapdragon / Sierra snapdragon
Antirrhinum multiflorum (aka Sairocarpus multiflorus)
Plantaginaceae (formerly Scrophulariaceae)

Now, I figured this was a garden escapee, because it's big and colorful. Nope. It's native to Monterey County. As I was trying to get clean close-up shots with the breeze, I held the plant and discovered it is indeed sticky. This is the only spot we found this plant through our hike.

Coulter's matilija poppy ~ 07/14/11 ~ Garland Ranch

Well, this is the first time I've captured a wild growing R. coulteri. I prefer calling it the fried egg poppy. Range maps from, Jepson Interchange, Consortium of California Herbaria, and CalAcademy do not show it to be present in Monterey County. While it's considered a native CA plant, I suspect it truly is only native to Santa Barbara County and those east and south of there, if even that. Indeed, what I saw here was just above a horse stable that had profuse blooms of matilijas in its landscaping. I suspect this batch was a garden escapee. It's plants like this that make me question the definition of native and how that applies to native plant nurseries. For better pictures, see my post series on fried eggs.

pink honeysuckle ~ 07/14/11 ~ Garland Ranch

Lonicera hispidula

I love that after more than 2 years of doing Nature ID, I'm still finding plants new to me. Notice the leaves are hairy? They may not always be. Apparently, the name hairy honeysuckle refers to the hairy flowers and should not be confused with the state endangered Lonicera hirsuta found in northeastern North America. For a nice blog post on propagation of L. hispidula, check out Town Mouse and Country Mouse.

fairy lantern ~ 07/14/11 ~ Garland Ranch

fairy lantern / white globe lily
Calochortus albus

I remember hiking past fairy lantern seed pods in the past and not knowing what they were at all. Now that I'm beginning to recognize a decent set of local flowers, I'm gradually discovering the beauty and identity of the structures that surround seeds, such as pods and fruits. It's a natural progression of my learning curve.

I've recently reorganized my labels for plants and have edited and added new labels, such as *fruits/seeds. My eventual goal is that someone visiting my blog can click on a name in the labels (at the bottom of every post) and see how a plant looks throughout the year and note some locations it can be found. I've mostly done this for poison-oak already since it is ubiquitous. Plus, you may start seeing labels with a number added to the end, like poison-oak 2. I'm designating the numbered labels for when the plant is pictured but is not the focus of the post. I'm hoping this will help give a sense of the habitat and what other plants can be found with it.

As a final blogging brief note, I often choose a less attractive photo for posting to Nature ID if it shows the features I want to highlight, such as the three part seed pod of the fairy lantern. This sometimes makes for a less visually appealing blog, but that's not my primary purpose.

CA bay ~ 07/14/11 ~ Garland Ranch

I've been on the lookout for the fruit of California bays, ever since last November when Brad at Rooted in California and Christine at Idora Design posted about being able to eat the flesh like an avocado and roasting the nut. Unfortunately, these won't ripen until October or November. Brad followed up with a post of his experience roasting and eating the nut. By far the best video I've seen of how to actually roast the nut is at FeralKevin. Also, the leaves can be used in cooking, but they are pungent compared to the store-bought bay leaves (Laurus nobilis).

Lewis' clarkia ~ 07/14/11 ~ Garland Ranch

I almost didn't post this flower thinking it was the same speckled clarkia (C. cylindrica) I saw at Pinnacles last month. Nope. It's different. I guess. I looked at plant lists from both locations and each species is not found at the other location.

I found very little information or pictures online of C. lewisii. It's an uncommon plant in CA, but according to the new Wildflowers of Garland Ranch - a field guide by Michael Mitchell and Rod M. Yeager, it's abundant here, which I found to be true. While CalPhotos and Flickr's Califlora make no mention of Lewis' clarkia, used to rank it as the same species as punch bowl godetia (Clarkia bottae), but Jepson still treats the two as different species with slightly different ranges (click here and here for more information). Confused? Yep, me, too.

In any case, I took numerous pictures of this flower to document the variety I saw. Some had speckles, some did not, some had "normal" looking stigmas, and some had fuzzy white little crosses. Can anyone explain the fuzzy white little crosses to me? Are they stigmas? And, I took the last close-up picture to remind me why they're related to elegant clarkia (C. unguiculata). For another picture of how white the center can get, check out my Flickr post.

ps 08/26/11 - Thanks to a little mention on Wayne's Word discovered the little white crosses are stigmas next to withered anthers. It has something to do with protandry and favoring cross-pollination between different plants. I'll still need to look into this.

pss 03/04/14 - Was talking about these with a nature friend, who hadn't heard of Lewis' clarkia.  From a CNPS trip last year, I remembered our leader said C. lewisii buds dangle over like a pendant, whereas C. bottae buds are straighter.  I believe the step-back shot above actually includes both spp. of clarkia.  I switched out the original first 2 photos with Lewis' and may add a second post for punch bowl godetia.

fat solomon ~ 07/14/11 ~ Garland Ranch

Maianthemum racemosum (aka Smilacina racemosa)
Asparagaceae (formerly Ruscaceae & Liliaceae)

As with slim Solomon, another false Solomon's seal, there's quite the variation of names. The berries are pretty. Most of the fat Solomon we found along the trail had missing berries and stems as shown in the second pic above. I wonder if deer or horses like to eat them. This trail is a popular horse riding route with several stables nearby.

Now here in CA, we don't have actual Solomon's seal. There are numerous websites devoted to herbal uses. Two that have some name origin and historical use information, not soley trying to hard sell you on their products, are (Polygonatum multiflorum native to Europe and Asia) and Cortesia's Solomon Seal blog (P. biflorum native to eastern North America). There's also a nice online chapter of The Book of Herbal Wisdom by Matthew Wood. I wish I could find as much information about indigenous peoples' uses of CA native plants.

ps 07/20/11 - Thanks to Particia Lichen's comment below about the general confusion around Solomon's seal ID, both the real dealio and the false ones, I'm repeating my reply. When I was in OH, I never could remember which had flowers hanging from the underside of the leaf stalks (true) and which had flowers on the ends (false). Until researching for this post I wasn't aware we didn't have Polygonatum (true) here in CA. As for the false Somolon's seals, fat and slim refer to the overall look of the leaves. The one shown above has wide leaves and the slim Solomon has skinnier leaves. Feathery and starry are also descriptive of the look of the flowers. These common name descriptors are helpful to remember since I found both plants in the same park.

elegant clarkia ~ 07/14/11 ~ Garland Ranch

I like virtually collecting white versions whenever I find them.

barnyard goose ~ 07/14/11 ~ Hopkins

barnyard goose
species unknown (subfamily Anserinae)

I finally got a closer picture of this goose that's been hanging around since before May 31, 2011 at Hopkins. Despite it being the wrong time of year, I was really hoping it was a rare Monterey County sighting of a snow goose. I received confirmation from Don Roberson, author of Monterey Birds, that this is indeed a barnyard goose. Many years of domestication and hybridization with wild geese makes identifying this goose to species impossible to tell by looking at its features.

field bindweed ~ 07/14/11 ~ Hopkins

field bindweed / orchard morning glory
Convolvulus arvensis

This is my best guess and I could be totally wrong as to the ID. It is a low-growing plant with fuzzy leaves and stem. The bloom was smaller than other morning glories I've seen, but that could be due to the growing conditions right next to the Monterey Bay. The other hairy morning glory that grows in this area is the stemless morning glory (Calystegia subacaulis), but that's generally a white or cream flower. I have a feeling once I get better acquainted with morning glories, I'll be revisiting this ID.

ps 08/20/11 - Yep. I think I got this wrong. I discovered my mistake from looking up another morning glory/bindweed from Elkhorn Slough. I initially posted this as a native coast morning glory (Calystegia macrostegia ssp. cyclostegia). I tried to convince myself that despite photos not quite matching, that Jepson's description could apply. I've made the ID correction above for this invasive plant from Europe and Asia. If Wikipedia is to be believed this is the broader leaved Convolvulus arvensis var. arvensis. Seriously, how does one tell the difference between Calystegia and Convovulus?

blackberry ~ 07/14/11 ~ Hopkins

Good golly! I looked at Jepson's descriptions for each species and compared hundreds of pictures. Both species are found here and I'm evenly split as to which this could be. The bright pink blooms makes me think it must be an elmleaf blackberry. However, I can't figure out the difference between "finely toothed" for elmleaf and "sharply toothed" for Himalayan. Online pictures and descriptions seem to vary widely in the amount of leaf toothiness and prickles on the stems. I can't decide. Do you know?

tree year project 2011, #9

I can't believe how quickly The Tree Year project is going. It feels like just yesterday when I posted the first appearance of spring green on this tree. The first picture above shows the developing female seed cone. Almost all the new cones have sap dripping from them. I wonder why this happens. The second picture is of last year's cone. I vaguely remember reading something about how Douglas-fir is unusual in that it holds onto old cones, but I can't find that reference now. And while I've also read that seed production is irregular, the numerous cones shown in the last picture seems average for this tree.

While writing this post and looking at past tree year project entries, I realized I mistook new female cones as new shoots and failed seed cones as dried new shoots. I'll have to go back and add postscripts to those posts. I'm always noticing and learning something new.

ps 08/08/11 - I just noticed the new seed cones are already brown. I haven't been paying attention in the past month. I'll try to get pictures soon.