Ridge walk (Forgetmenot Ridge, Kananaskis P. P., Alberta)

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Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Wow, great series Lori... you've been having some fun!  Some very choice plants there, but I am most taken with Campanula uniflora... this dang thing does a pretty good imitation of a gentian, doesn't it?  Such a choice and rarely seen campanula, are you able to grow it in your garden?  I see that you're not sure about the Potentilla ID (Potentilla uniflora), are there many Potentilla in the area that make the identification difficult?  Regardless, it is a very fine Potentilla, probably one of the better rock-garden worthy ones.  Here again, can you grow it in your garden, and if so, does it remain compact and floriferous as your photos show.

It is so refreshing to see, and to read, about cool air, cold winds, snow patches, when it is blazing hot here... supposed to be 95 F tomorrow, yet another day in the 90s.  The scenery views remind me of some of my travels in Wyoming and Montana... endless skies and expansive vistas.  Thanks for posting all of this.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Booker
Booker's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-01-30

Magnificent hike, Lori ... we are off to the Dolomites today ... hope we see plants as pristine as these. Many thanks for posting.

Cliff Booker A.K.A. Ranunculus
On the moors in Lancashire, U.K.
Usually wet, often windy, sometimes cold ... and that's just me!

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

You're welcome, Mark and Cliff!  
Wow, Cliff, hope you have a fabulous time in the Dolomites!

McDonough wrote:

Campanula uniflora... are you able to grow it in your garden?  

I don't know - I've never tried.  I wonder if other Calgary-area alpine enthusiasts are growing it?

McDonough wrote:

I see that you're not sure about the Potentilla ID (Potentilla uniflora), are there many Potentilla in the area that make the identification difficult?  Here again, can you grow it in your garden, and if so, does it remain compact and floriferous as your photos show.

According to Moss & Packer's Flora of Alberta, there are 6 potentilla species that are: 1) alpine, and recorded  in this area; 2) small (5 species up to 15cm, and 1 additional species 10 - 30cm); and 3) with trifoliate leaves (4 species strictly trifoliate, and 2 additional species with 3-5 leaflets - I suppose I could discount those 2).  Potentilla uniflora seems likely, but I haven't plowed through all the distinguishing characteristics, so I'm not entirely sure.  Re. garden-worthiness, I don't know that either.  I'm sure there are local alpine gardeners who do know both the ID and the answer to the last question... if only they could be coaxed into posting here.   ;)

Continuing...
1, 2)  On the warm slope, the Castilleja are much more advanced than on the ridge
3) Contouring our way around the bend, there is another north-facing area where the snow has just left...
4 - 6) And the Salix have just come into bloom
7) As have a little army of tiny Dodecatheon
8 ) More snowmelt bloomers, Ranunculus eschscholtzii
9) And Ranunculus pygmaeus
10) And Cassiope tetragona

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

I am very jealous on your ridge walk, Lori! I recognize some of the plants from mountains in Norway but the majority are unfamiliar. Such rich areas are not in the vicinity for me. We have high mountains (the highest are well above 2000m) and we have rich flora many places, but due to the ice age the flora of Norway has been decimated a lot. The bedrock is mostly hard sandstone, granite or gneiss, not the best for showy plants. 

Campanula uniflora
exists in the highest mountains here but I have never seen it live.
Does Dryas octopetala and D. integrifolia grow intermingled? Don't they have different habitats?

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Dryas octopetala and D. integrifolia grow in the same habitat - alpine slopes - and in the same elevations and areas here.  They hybridize, also.
We usually see D. drummondii at lower elevations - for example, forming huge mats on the stabilized gravel bars on the river floodplain at this location, and along gravelly road cuts elsewhere.  Roads into the higher elevations can bring D. drummondii into contact with the white-flowered ones, oddly enough (so I've noted).

I'll wrap this up tomorrow.  Good night!

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

A fantastic array of photographic candy. 
Thanks, Lori!

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

Skulski wrote:

Dryas octopetala and D. integrifolia grow in the same habitat - alpine slopes - and in the same elevations and areas here.  They hybridize, also.
We usually see D. drummondii at lower elevations - for example, forming huge mats on the stabilized gravel bars on the river floodplain at this location, and along gravelly road cuts elsewhere.  Roads into the higher elevations can bring D. drummondii into contact with the white-flowered ones, oddly enough (so I've noted).

I'll wrap this up tomorrow.  Good night!

Thanks.
Good night? You mean Good Morning! Here it is a nice sunny (some clouds) quiet morning. Not a leaf is disturbed by air movements other than that I make when moving!

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

For those who have the endurance to finish this photo marathon...  ;D

1 - 2) I'm puzzled by this one... Erigeron grandiflorus?  From googling... it seems that petal width can vary quite a bit in this species (or among formerly distinct plants that have been lumped into this species).  The non-leafy stems and the furry involucre make me think Erigeron...
3, 4) Leptarrhena pyrolifolia Saxifraga occidentalis
5) Oxytropis podocarpa, with its feathery foliage... the flowers will soon change to showy, red, inflated seedpods
6) Silene uralensis... the leafiest, burliest one I've seen!
7) Smelowskia calycina
8) A beautiful, if austere, little garden of brilliant Rhodiola integrifolia, Smelowskia and tiny ferns
9) Potentilla ssp.... very common on the ridge... Yeah, I'm not sure what this one is either!
10) Eriogonum ovalifolium, coming out of winter... the next time I show these, they will be beautifully filled-out and in bloom

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

And, finishing up with the absolute stars of this hike (again)...
1) Dryas integrifolia
2) Dryas octopetala
3) And, just for completeness and comparison, from down at river level, Dryas drummondii.

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Great stuff Lori!  Leptarrhena pyrolifolia is a cutie.  Your photos caused me to plunge headlong into a google search on Erigeron grandiflorus.  After doing some research, I feel more confused about it than when I started!  I include some links.  From what I can tell, the species is almost always described as lavender or blue, and only in the Flora of North America is there mention that the flowers are "rarely white".  The species name has also consumed E. simplex, so depending on one's inclination, this is a northern species from Alaska down through "to the summit of the Rocky Mountains", or it includes other taxon thereby extending the range all the way to Mexico. It is also related or conspecific with a couple Russian taxon.

When I look at those photos, particularly the flowers, it looks more like an arctic Chrysanthemum or Leucanthemum to me, reminiscent of L. integrifolium, although that simple-leaf species is way out of your range.  Do you ever find lavender forms of this, or always white?  It is very pretty whatever it is, most likely an Erigeron, and probably grandiflorus as you have it, but it seems the taxonomy is definitely a muddle-puzzle ;D

Erigeron grandiflorus (Synonym: Erigeron simplex)

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.swcoloradowildflowers.com...

Erigeron grandiforus (fro, Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago). 2 species described, skip by Erigeron compositus ssp. arcticus)
http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.mun.ca/biology/delta/arct...

USDA page:
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ERGR3

in Flora of North America:
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=250066607

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

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