Archivos de diario de julio 2022

17 de julio de 2022

Lomatium cuspidatum (non-technical)

We made the AI cutoff - thanks to all who helped.

Similar in appearance (but non overlapping range/habitat): Lomatium minus, Lomatium roneorum.

Lomatium cuspidatum is of special interest because it is one of relatively few Pacific Northwest plants nearly or completely restricted to ultramafic (serpentine related) rock, a rare type of rock that derives from the earth's mantle and is a challenging substrate for most plants. Unlike many other Lomatium species, this one can be identified with a little attention even when not in flower.

1) all reports are restricted to the Wenatchee Mountains, usually or always on ultramafic (serpentine related) rock, which means mostly just south of Ingalls Creek in the north Teanaway area, with outcrops to the northwest from Lake Ingalls to Paddy-Go-Easy Pass, eastwards toward Bean and Earl Peaks, and an outcrop between Cashmere Mountain and Eightmile Mountain. Other outcrops occur around Highchair Mountain and just east of route 97 north of Blewett Pass. The high region of the Enchantments is granite, with no ultramafic outcrops.

2) plants are rather low to the ground and leaves have a blue-gray color, usually quite pronounced as the leaves mature. The plants are often so low and small that they are hard to notice, but once you see a few they are easily recognizable. They also blend into the gray-green serpentinite scree where they often occur, so keep a sharp eye out (fourth and fifth photos in If you brush the leaves they have a cedary scent (personal observation). A random passerby said they smelled like Cannabis, but I didn't smell that.

3) the leaves are hairless, dissected, stubby, and fleshy, and the leaflets have a tiny sharp tip (often looks thorn-like, brown to reddish in color). The leaves are held in clusters on thick fleshy hairless branched stalks (third photo The sharp extended leaf tip is diagnostic for the species (combined with location and gross appearance). The species name cuspidatum refers to this cusped leaf tip. The fourth photo on shows this character and there are closeups in and When touched, the leaves and leaf stalks feel somewhat stiff (not at all floppy) but the sharp leaf tip won't feel like a thorn.

4) like all Lomatium species the flowers form a compound umbel (several clusters of small flowers held on a stalk, branching like the spokes of an umbrella as in photo 2 of The flowers are held on thick fleshy stalks that originate at the plant base and extend well above the foliage. The flowers are brownish-purple to brownish-red and individually are very small. They appear early in the season just as new leaf growth is starting, when the leaves are not yet so blue-grey ( The flowering season varies a lot by place and year due to snow pack, but typically is in May to June shortly after snow melts in the particular plant's location.

The only other plant I know of that can be confused with L. cuspidatum is the (probably) much rarer Lomatium roneorum, about which relatively little is known since it is only newly recognized as a species ( L. roneorum is not thought to be present in the southern parts of the Wenatchee Mountains, though it is present north of the Enchantments area, where it grows on the whitish chalky Chumstick formation and on acidic metamorphic rock near Basalt Peak. It has not yet been observed on serpentine. It has red-suffused yellow flowers rather than dark purple flowers, and has wider and flatter leaflets that lack the thorn-like tip, though the leaflet does come to a point.

Photos of growth stages:
Very early leafing out/flowers just opening:
Full bloom:
Late, in fruit:

I am keen to encourage observations of L. cuspidatum. Thus far my observations suggest it is especially abundant on steep unstable fine to mixed-sized serpentinite scree (usually not coarser talus), which is easy to recognize by its gray-green color (often mixed with a reddish weathered form) and nearly barren appearance (even on satellite images). Trails often avoid such scree because it is so unstable, so keep an eye out when the trail skirts an edge of it.

[You are welcome to improve this post by sending me an iNaturalist email, but I am disabling direct comments because this is intended as a brief guide, not a discussion.]

Publicado el 17 de julio de 2022 19:10 por jhorthos jhorthos

18 de julio de 2022

Ivesia tweedyi (non-technical)

Ivesia tweedyi and the more widespread Ivesia gordonii are very similar species with ranges that overlap in the Washington Cascades and northern Idaho. Both are quite small with yellow flowers and dark green leaves in distinctive cylindrical bundles that look rather like squirrel tails or fat pipe cleaners (technically pinnate compound dissected leaves). All the leaf bundles radiate from a single point at ground level. They are both found on high mountains in sun usually in rocky soil and may be locally very abundant, with I. gordonii ranging much farther south and east than I. tweedyi.

In general appearance, both look very much like this observation:

I. tweedyi is distinguishable in photographs from I. gordonii mostly by subtle features of the flower: tweedyi has yellow petals that are longer than the greenish triangular sepals (, whereas gordonii has petals that are similar in length or shorter than the sepals ( The difference is not always as obvious as in those two photos, in which case it is better to use a genus level identification. The base of the tweedyi flower is described as being shallower than gordonii (bowl rather than cone shaped) but this difference is not as readily visible in photos unless there is a careful side shot of the flower. In the field you may be able to tell by eye: the tweedyi flower has a flatter shape whereas gordonii has a deeper depression at the center.

Finally, though their general ranges overlap, the two species seem to occupy different soil types (or microclimates or something) so if your observation is very near a previous one that is well identified, then it is probably the same species. Ivesia tweedyi but not gordonii is well adapted to serpentine rock and soil, but tweedyi is also sometimes found off of serpentine especially near Mount Rainier and in the Mount Aix range just east of Rainier.

You will need a good picture of the flower to tell them apart, preferably a closeup.

[You are welcome to improve this post by sending me an iNaturalist email, but I am disabling direct comments because this is intended as a brief guide, not a discussion.]

Publicado el 18 de julio de 2022 22:11 por jhorthos jhorthos

19 de julio de 2022

Eriogonum pyrolifolium (non-technical)

This small buckwheat is easily recognized even when not in flower. Leaves are arranged in a compact rosette and each medium to dark green leaf is held on a prominent stalk and is shaped like a rounded triangle with a wooly looking upper surface (but sometimes not lower surface) and a prominent rib down the middle near the leaf base. The midrib is usually a contrasting color (pale tan to yellow-green to reddish). The wool on top of the leaf is sometimes rusty orange ( It grows high in mountains in sun on rocky soil but not in lower desert to sub-desert areas. In some plants the wooly leaf surface is less apparent or restricted to the leaf stalk or midrib, and sometimes the leaves are closer to oval than triangular, in which cases they are harder to distinguish from other buckwheats (Eriogonum species).

If present, flowers are white to pink (often both) and form a small cluster that is held on stalks that extend from beneath the leaves.

On barren volcanic scree and lithosol slopes this is sometimes the only plant species. It has a long thick caudex (upper stem-like root) that is usually not visible but is sometimes exposed by erosion or boot disturbance. What appear to be well separated plants on the surface are sometimes connected by a branched caudex (

[You are welcome to improve this post by sending me an iNaturalist email, but I am disabling direct comments because this is intended as a brief guide, not a discussion.]

Publicado el 19 de julio de 2022 00:42 por jhorthos jhorthos

22 de julio de 2022

Chaenactis thompsonii (non-techinical)

Like Lomatium cuspidatum, this species is endemic to the Wenatchee Mountains on ultramafic (serpentine related) rock and has few observations, though it is not uncommon locally.

The plant usually forms a low to medium high clump (15 to 30 cm, 6 to 12 inches), with reddish stems bearing wooly green to gray-green leaves that look a little like a small fleshy fern leaf (pinnate), for example the second photo at Leaves are wooly all over and the leaf stems are wooly as well.

The pink and white flowers are small and grouped into a cluster that looks a bit like a pincushion with pins sticking into it (actually protruding anthers), from which the common name pincushion flower (photo 3 at It flowers late in the season usually in August, though earlier at lower elevations and when snow melts early.

Do not confuse with the much more widespread Chaenactis douglasii (, which looks generally similar but has bipinnate leaves (giving it a sort of ruffly look) and appears not to grow on Wenatchee serpentine soils.

Publicado el 22 de julio de 2022 18:06 por jhorthos jhorthos

Oreocarya thompsonii (non-technical)

Oreocarya thompsonii is a serpentine endemic of Wenatchee Mountains. There are many similar species much further south and west, but in the Wenatchees there is nothing else similar. These are small perennial herbs with a basal rosette of lance shaped wooly leaves with a border of longer hairs. The inflorescence arises basally and projects well above the leaf rosette. It has additional clasping leaves and a cluster of rather small white flowers with 5 petals and a yellow center. The infloresence is heavily covered with long needle-like white to translucent trichomes (, which look very nasty but don't feel prickly or seem to irritate human skin (or at least my skin).

Publicado el 22 de julio de 2022 18:12 por jhorthos jhorthos

31 de julio de 2022

Distinguishing Polypodium Ferns

Dummies guide to Polypodium genus ferns in Washington/Oregon/British Columbia, where there are four common species that can be hard to distinguish, especially amorphum and hesperium.

P. glycyrrhiza (licorice fern) is usually on tree trunks in wet forest or on large wet rocks associated with luxuriant moss growth, and grows one frond at a time from a rhizome. P. amorphum and P. hesperium are often on rocks or rock faces in surprisingly dry looking spots with a fair amount of sun. Look for P. glycyrrhiza especially on big leaf maple trunks (Acer macrophyllum).

P. scouleri is strictly Pacific coastal and has thick leathery leaves, usually growing on tree trunks. Only near true ocean, hardly ever found on inland waterways such as the Puget Sound.

P. amorphum vs P. hesperium:

P. amorphum usually retains previous years fronds (P. hesperium does not).

P. amorphum sori contain specialized spore-like bags on a short stalk called sporangiasters, which look rather like bunches of grapes scattered among the sporangia ( P. hesperium does not ( Each sporangiaster cluster is about the size of the adjacent sporangia (sacks of spores) and, at the right stage, is translucent and jelly-like in appearance. This character requires an extreme closeup picture or a good hand lens to see and is only apparent at the right stage of spore development (late spring/summer?). Probably involved in keeping spores hydrated/conditioned during development.

P. amorphum range is mostly in west Cascades and Coastals. P. hespirium is mostly farther east, except around Mt. Rainier. P. amorphum general range is much farther north.

P. amorphum fronds look a bit more waxy and thick compared to thinner P. hesperium (??)

P. californicum is much farther south. P. calirhiza is farther south and is (roughly speaking) the southern form of the licorice fern P. glycyrrhiza. P. saximontanum is in the eastern Rockies and has scalloped leaf edges. P. sibericum is much farther north.

Publicado el 31 de julio de 2022 00:39 por jhorthos jhorthos | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Distinguishing Cryptogramma Ferns

There are only two common Cryptogramma spp. in our area (PNW). With minimal experience you can recognize the genus but the two species are not easy to distinguish. A casual photo will usually not be sufficient to be sure.

After much experimenting, I have nailed a simple method for distinguishing them based on their hydathodes (specialized water exuding tissue patches on leaves), though it does require a good closeup photo. C. cascadensis - backlight of leaves (either surface), looking for a narrow pale stripe leading to each leaflet tooth ( C. acrostichoides - glancing light on front of leaves (adaxial surface), looking for a pit that is shorter, wider, and deeper than C. cascadensis ( There are several other character differences (see below) but this is the one that I find most reliable and easiest to see in photos, though you do have to get the lighting just right.

Here is a link with more details for distinguishing these two.

C. acrostichoides is more common at lower elevations and has more leathery (though still thin) opaque sterile fronds usually with a more waxy lustrous surface (C. cascadensis is found only at higher elevations and leaves are more herbaceous, dull, and translucent when dried).

C. acrostichoides fronds tend to persist over winter and cling to the base of the plant as dried up leaves in the spring (C. cascadensis fronds are deciduous and do not persist over winter, although they may form a mulch-like mat under the plant where they fell). When C. acrostichoides is just starting to leaf out in the spring, last year's fronds will sometimes be partially green and later they will be dried up but still adherent at the base.

Habitat - both on talus and rock cracks in near full sun, but acrostichoides usually with moss or lichens (longer stability rock) and cascadensis often on bare talus. At lower elevations, acrostichoides is much more common ( C. acrostichoides is more common in dry areas than C. cascadensis, though both are often found on rocky slopes with a lot of sun and they overlap in habitat. Consistent with this, C. acrostichoides ranges to east of the Cascade crest (C. cascadensis does not or is rare) and also ranges further south.

C. acrostichoides may have paler color on leaf bottom than top (C. cascadensis does not). C. cascadensis leaves are thinner and more delicate looking.

C. acrostichoides: the groove on top of the sterile frond petiole and rachis has sparse pale tan hairs (C. cascadensis does not) but these are hard to see - you need a very close picture or a hand lens and honestly I don't usually see the difference, or perhaps the hairs are shed later in the season. See for excellent photo comparison.

Both have lower flat sterile fronds and upper erect pinched-looking fertile fronds, though the ratio of the two vary from plant to plant according to how well it is flourishing. The fertile fronds look that way because the leaf (pinnule) is rolled back at the margins to protect the spores (a false indusium).

Publicado el 31 de julio de 2022 00:39 por jhorthos jhorthos | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Distinguishing Athyrium ferns

There only two in Washington/Oregon/British Columbia.

A. felix-femina is much more common and looks like a classic simple lady fern with spreading feathery fronds.

A. americanum (pka distentifolium) (ours) is sub-alpine to alpine with fronds relatively erect in sunny locations. There is often a twist near the end of the pinna and often the proximal (stemward) pinnules are folded inward. The general appearance is fluffier than A. felix-femina.

Oreopteris quelpartensis has a gross appearance similar to Athyrium lady ferns and is found mostly in British Columbia and farther north and sometimes in near alpine zones in Washington.

Publicado el 31 de julio de 2022 15:00 por jhorthos jhorthos | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Distinguishing Polystichum Ferns

Other than the "usual" sword fern of the dense forests of western Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia, there are many other native Polystichum genus ferns that can be hard to distinguish. Here is a simplified key for the common ones (work in progress, partly based on my own observations):

P. munitum: Large, dark green, wide spreading fronds, in moist forest on west side of Cascade crest or near crest, pinnae often curved roughly like a scimitar and held in a flat array, almost certainly the sword fern P. munitum, our most common fern. It is also evergreen, so this is the main fern you will see in winter. In spring the fiddleheads have an unusual folded form rather than the classic fern coiled fiddlehead. Sometimes smaller and in subalpine or alpine locations among rocks, when it is easy to confuse for other species, especially P. imbricans.

P. lemmonii: Small to medium sized (6-14 inch fronds), usually severely upright fronds in full sun, with pinnae twisted at base and overlapping so that fronds appearing almost cylindrical, pinna edges rounded not spined, almost always on serpentine rock, almost certainly P. lemmonii, though also look at P. krueckebergii, which has sharper serrations on leaflets. Because of the difference in serrations, P. lemonii feels soft when you run your fingers outward on the frond, whereas P.k. feels stubbly. Early in growth season the tip of the fronds maybe be curved over and growing in shadier spots fronds will be less vertically oriented. Pinna tip is rounded and edges are not sharply toothed, though usually divided.

P. lonchitis: Small to medium sized (6-12 inch fronds) with narrow pointed teeth protruding (not closely appresssed) on both edges of pinnae, pinnae held flat or slightly twisted at base and often sightly cupped, often found in fairly sunny places among rocks in mountains, P. lonchitis. The pinnae are also relatively short and wide compared to P. munitum. Other Polystichum have toothed leaves, but none others in the PNW have narrow pointed teeth that stick out from the leaf. Ferns in the genus are often called "holly ferns" but this is the one with leaflets (pinnae) that look closest to the classic English Holly. Sometimes very spiny looking

P. imbricans: Medium sized (10-20 inch fronds, H&C says can be much longer), often relatively erect fronds with pinnae sometimes twisted at base to face toward tip of frond (tending to overlap when viewed along the frond axis), usually with many flaky tan scales along bottom side of rachis, often in relatively sunny locations in mountains but below alpine, P. imbricans. Personally I find this one really hard to tell apart from the much more common P. munitum, which also has all of the above characters some of the time especially when higher in mountains, though the pinnae of P. munitum are usually nearly planar with the frond plane. On average P. imbricans has shorter wider pinnae relative to the frond length, making the frond look narrower than P. munitum (hence the common name Narrowleaf Swordfern), and the leaflet tips are less elongated (except that young P. munitum has similarly blunter leaflet tips), and usually an apiculate tip.

P. scopulinum: Medium sized, pinnae shorter near base of frond, can be erect or spreading with pinnae variably held flat or twisted at base, usually in rocky sunny locations east of Cascade crest in mountains, tolerant of serpentine. P. scopulinum in Washington is rare outside the central Cascade Wenatchee Mountains. Pinnae are often somewhat toothed or divided, especially those at the base of the leaf. Can look similar to P. lemmonii but pinnae have spiny teeth instead of rounded edges and are less dissected (never to the costa). P. krueckbergii is similar but roughly intermediate between this and P. lemmonii.

P. andersonii not yet observed by me. Deeply divided pinnae (making it look half way between a lady fern and sword fern).

comments from frondsinhighplaces:

on and closeby

Yes, 1650 meters is right at the upper limit for P. munitum. That's the same elevation as the observation I mentioned above. The plant is obviously growing in unfavorable conditions and is stunted.

To elaborate on my description above:

Leaves once pinnate, pinnae undivided. (Narrows it down to P. lonchitis, P. imbricans or P. munitum.)
Spinulose teeth of pinnae appressed, closely ascending, or incurved. (Eliminates P. lonchitis.)
Petiole with persistent, brown, ovate-lanceolate scales to 5 mm wide. (Eliminates P. imbricans.)

P. imbricans is also less likely to be found at that elevation than P. munitum.

Miniature sword ferns can sometimes be found at the upper elevation limit of the species. They usually lack sori.

When growing in open dry conditions P. munium pinnae will display an imbricate growth pattern.

[Not native. Deeply divided pinnae (making it look somewhat like a lady fern), scaly rachis, P. setiferum. Does not grow wild in the western U.S. but it is sometimes grown as an ornamental.]

Publicado el 31 de julio de 2022 17:27 por jhorthos jhorthos | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario