Mt. Rainier Ntl Park -- Longmire 3/31/12

Coordinates: Lat: 46.7498311
Lon: -121.8389367746

Weather: Clear skies and full sun! Approximately 38 degrees F and no notable wind.

3pm-- Snow covers the ground, perhaps 2-3 ft in most places, leaving the undergrowth almost invisible and putting the trees on display. Here the conifers are tall, thick, and very widely spaced --all signs of an old growth forest, at least 175 years old.
Most striking is the Longmire meadow, a wide expanse of red/orange mud, water and low shrubs that has no tall growth and no snow at all! Upon slightly closer inspection, one can see that the water is bubbling, as if boiling straight up from the earth. I marvel at the strangeness of a volcano... The organey red ground looks painted and emits a slightly sulfurous smell.
The meadow/hotspring? is surrounded by old growth forest, for once Douglas-fir isn't quite as obviously dominate, Cedars (Western Red: Thuja plicata and Yellow: Thuja occidentalis) and Hemlocks (Western: Tsuga heterophylla and Mountain: Tsuga metensiana) play a big role here. We find a small Pacific Yew (Taxus brevifolia), identifiable by its flat pointy needles that are soft and the red, peely bark. Many of the hemlocks are quite small, growing primarily out of felled trees. They need the nutrients provided by decaying material and don't mind the shade of a thick overstory-- hence hemlocks being named a "climax species" of the PNW. We also see a large Pacific Silver Fir (Abies amabilis). When they are really really tall (i.e. so tall that their branches are too high to inspect) Silver firs are still distinguishable from Dougs by their smoother bark, not as deeply furrowed as the Doug's.
The few small plants that are visible now with all the snow are very near streams because it is here that the snow has been pushed away. Next to such streams we find deer fern (Blechnum spicant) smooshed by the weight of snow.

Species List:
Trees--
Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga mensiesii)
Pacific Silver Fir (Abies amabilis)
Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla)
Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata)
Pacific Yew (Taxus brevifolia)

Shrubs--
Kinnickinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
Oregon Grape (Mahonia nervosa)
Deer Fern (Blechnum spicant)
Salal (Gaultheria shallon)

Lichen--
Tree Lungwort (Lobaria pulmonaria)
Lipstick Cladonia (Cladonia macilenta)

Jelly Fungi (Dacrymyces ovisporus)

Publicado por jesscubb jesscubb, 30 de abril de 2012

Observaciones

Fotos / Sonidos

Qué

Tejo del Pacífico (Taxus brevifolia)

Observ.

jesscubb

Fecha

Marzo 31, 2012

Descripción

The photo of the needles is the underside, displaying the yew's two prominent stomata. On top, the needles are a deep green color, flat and soft, with pointed tips.
Yews are famously slow growers, this one was only about 10m tall. It's scraggly-ness and widely spaced branches are characteristic of its kind, as is the red-peely bark visible in the semi-blurry photo of the tree.

Fotos / Sonidos

Qué

Lonchite (Struthiopteris spicant)

Observ.

jesscubb

Fecha

Marzo 31, 2012

Descripción

Smooshed to the ground- as if it has only recently been freed from the weight of the snow. The sword fern in distinguishable from the sword fern in that the leaflet bases are fully attached to the center of the leaf. Also, I think the tips are more rounded than that of sword fern and tends to be a little smaller.

Fotos / Sonidos

Qué

Pulmonaria de Árbol (Lobaria pulmonaria)

Observ.

jesscubb

Fecha

Marzo 31, 2012

Descripción

Growing on many of the deciduous trees near the Longmire parking lot, this lichen seemed more prevalent at this elevation than it did at Pack Forest. Perhaps I just noticed it more here, however- there were fewer lichens in general at Longmire, meaning less competition.

Fotos / Sonidos

Observ.

jesscubb

Fecha

Marzo 31, 2012

Descripción

This Lipstick Cladonia was growing very low on a tree ( I forgot to note what kind) near the Longmire springs.

Fotos / Sonidos

Observ.

jesscubb

Fecha

Marzo 31, 2012

Descripción

The hemlock was very prevalent at Longmire, a sure sign that this forest is considerably older than Pack Forest. Hemlock is considered a "climax species" for PNW forests because it needs the nutrients that other decaying trees can provide in forests that have been around for 100 years or so. Also, they grow best in the understory, with little light. Many of the hemlocks we saw at Longmire were small, growing out of all the snags and nurse logs.

Fotos / Sonidos

Qué

Hongos de Gelatina (Familia Dacrymycetaceae)

Observ.

jesscubb

Fecha

Marzo 31, 2012

Descripción

I believe Susan called this strange growth a "slime mold", and described it as not a fungus nor animal nor plant, but rather a protist. Apparently, these bright yellow buggers are capable of movement, actually creeping around where ever it is they inhabit. This one was growing on a branch right down by the Longmire Springs, feet away from the bubbling water, and within three feet of the lipstick cladonia. I would like to know more about these strange oomycetes!

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