Wednesday, August 24, 2011

habitat ~ 08/24/11 ~ Fort Ord - BLM Creekside

Fort Ord Public Lands - Creekside entrance
August 24, 2011

We've had so much cold fog here on the coast this past month, that it was very nice to drive 20 minutes inland to experience some sun and heat of around 80°F. I was sweating during my hike and it felt great. Unfortunately, we'll be heading to a family reunion in the Central Valley this weekend where the temp is supposed to be over 100°F. Oy! Oy! So, I'm back to enjoying the refrigerator-like conditions at home. Btw, I've added a little weather widget to my sidebar, so you can see our current weather conditions in Pacific Grove, the southern end of the Monterey Bay.

Santa Barbara sedge ~ 08/24/11 ~ Fort Ord

Santa Barbara sedge
Carex barbarae

I normally stay away, far away, from sedge IDs. According to there are at least 292 members of the sedge family in CA alone, with 179 of those belonging to the genus Carex. Oh my! However, it helps to have a handy-dandy interpretive sign that identifies the Santa Barbara sedge I was seeing in the distance behind a fence. I was able to find more sedges to take close-up pictures without having to climb through fences or go off trail. Just to make sure, I checked the Monterey Bay Chapter CNPS Fort Ord plant list, which also names short-stemmed sedge (C. brevicaulis), round-fruited sedge (C. globosa), Monterey sedge (C. harfordii), sand dune sedge (C. pansa), clustered field sedge (C. praegracilis), and rusty sedge (C. subfusca). Luckily none of those look anything like Santa Barbara sedge, so I'm fairly sure of my C. barbarae ID. Since I have yet to figure out how to embed links to PDFs, here's an interesting google book view of California Riparian Systems with more information on indigenous sedge basketry. For additional references, check out a University of Michigan page I found. My main question from looking at sedges for the first time is: Are the brown things considered flowers or seeds?

telegraph weed ~ 08/24/11 ~ Fort Ord

It's nice finding a plant I've never known before what it was and have only recently ID'd it. It's like being pleased to run into a new acquaintance shortly after the first introduction. There was one section of the trail where the telegraph weed was the predominant blooming plant, if not the only plant still in bloom among the dried grasses of late August. I have to say there was a little part of me that was glad to not see more sticky monkeyflower, which seemed to be on the tail end of its blooms.