Alberta Wanderings

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cohan
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Joined: 2011-02-03

Still at Hilda Ridge.  https://picasaweb.google.com/111492944361897930115/AlbertaRockyMountains...
Earlier, we were talking about Anemones I'd seen in a few places, including on this trip, a half hour or so (? rough remembering) up the road at the Columbia Icefield. There, what was presumably Anemone parviflora was found, commonly growing through Arctostaphylos rubra. Here, it was growing in mats of Arctostaphylos uva-ursi... Still generally no more than 10cm high...

Anemone parviflora with Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

   

   

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

cohan
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https://picasaweb.google.com/111492944361897930115/AlbertaRockyMountains...

Some little Crucifers; I just don't have enough knowledge of these to attempt names- and I don't think I've ever seen these plants in seed, so no help there.. I presume the yellow flowers (though there are bright and creamy yellow flowers) and the white (leaves also look different) are different species, but wouldn't swear to it!

Unidentified Brassicaceae

   

Unidentified Brassicaceae, with Arctostaphylos uva-ursi and Zigadenus elegans in first image

       

Unidentified Brassicaceae, white flowers, with tiny Sedge (Carex sp?)

                               

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

cohan
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Last two for this site:
https://picasaweb.google.com/111492944361897930115/AlbertaRockyMountains...

Salix species;  a mid-sized willow as far as I remember- i.e. a metre or so tall, at least; I think I photographed ground hugging species at this site later in the year (not this year) but no sign of them this early..

An Antennaria species in an exposed spot in gravel at ridge's edge; definitely not attempting these, and especially without flowers.. these higher altitude plants seem to have slightly proportionately wider, shorter leaves, and a less tight mat than those in dry places farther down..

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

Hoy
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Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

Very nice, Cohan!
Had I found those brassicas here I had taken them for some Draba species but over there .. no idea ;)

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

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

Yes, they surely look like Draba species to me too (the yellow and pale yellow ones).  Not sure just how many Draba species are in your area, but it would be fun (at least for me, it would be fun) to hit the floras and keys to attempt an ID on those little beauties.  They would make good subjects for a trough garden.

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

cohan
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Joined: 2011-02-03

Thanks Trond and Mark-- yeah, I figured Draba too, likely; there are a lot of them in the mts here! And so far I only have the very tiny maps in Flora of Alberta-- the whole province in a couple of cm- so I can't tell exactly where those tiny dots are, other than in the mountains, near a large river, etc
As for keys, I've glanced at them, but without seedpods (none present so early  in the year) it seems very unlikely I can tell much for sure... Likely that site has been officially botanised, but I have not seen any such information yet... I agree, they are very charming plants I'd be happy to grow :)

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

cohan
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Joined: 2011-02-03

Continuing on the May 31, 2011 trip into the mountains...
Continuing on from the last site, still on the Icefields Parkway which goes between Banff and Jasper townsites; The road has been up not too far from the treeline, and continues at that altitude for a while longer as we head back south, then drops down much lower, following a river valley  much of the way back to our turn west at the Saskatchewan River Crossing..
At the high levels at the end of May, there was still snow in many places, and only the earliest plants were growing or flowering.. farther down, things were beginning to green...
These are just shots taken from the vehicle while we were driving (no, I wasn't the one driving while taking photos ;)

 

   

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

cohan
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Joined: 2011-02-03

Another break in sequence, I wanted to post some images of Gentiana, and decided the full posting should go here...

Here is a plant that I don't think is too common around here ( mind you, I have realised I have pretty stiff standards for common, as we do have numerous species that will be found at nearly any site you look at, and certainly in nearly every spot with a suitable habitat)- I have only run into it twice so far, in quite different spots maybe 10-12 miles apart as the crow flies..
The funny thing is, the first time I saw it, on of my earliest bicycle botanising trips, in 2009,  it was on a spot of medium moisture, in a strip of land between a field and the roadside ditch, not far (100 metres at a wild guess, maybe less) from a farmstead, and since this site also had the only presumably escaped colony I've seen of Campanula rapunculoides, I actually thought this was another garden escape- especially since the only wildflower book I had at the time did not mention any true Gentians in my area!
It wasn't until I found it again, in 2010, that I realised it must be a native, and once I looked in some other books, realised it could be Gentiana affinis- I still haven't carefully compared it to the formal description, but it should be the only true Gentian in my area...
This first plant (and I only saw one plant maybe 2) was fairly robust, probably around 30 cm, with numerous flowering stems. My old camera has issues with blue/violet, and I don't think the colour is quite right in these photos, I think it should be a bit deeper and bluer (I've edited, but still take it with a grain of salt); though I don't remember the other population as being so blue--they exactly matched the Gentianopsis they were growing with- more violet; maybe it was just about the kind of light on those occasions! I'll have to try to find some this year with the new camera!

 

I did get back to this site, September 24 of the same year, and got some seed (unsown- thinking it was a garden escape at that time, I didn't give it much priority! wonder if it's still viable?), here's what it looked like then:

 

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

cohan
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Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-02-03

Now the other site, from 2010- a bit later, Aug 25 (Aug 18 above), yet the plants seem not as far along- first off, much smaller plants- single stems and not as tall, a wetter location in a roadside ditch, and I think a cooler August, I believe Aug '09 was quite warm, whereas we'd already had frosts at this time in '10- I was thinking it very late for plants to be just getting going on their flowering-- surely a risky strategy in this climate- I wonder if they got to make seed even that year? They seemed a bit later even than the Gentianopsis crinita they were growing with, which were also in flower, but did have a number of spent blossoms and some seed capsules coming along even if not fully ripe...
These plants had some red on the leaves as well as stems (possibly from the cold nights) and overall charmed me more than the larger, more floriferous specimen had the year before!

   

       

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

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

Cohan, your images of variable Gentiana affinis have made an impression, I must put this on my list of autumn plants to grow.  I agree the smaller form in your last post are charming.  Looking this up, I see on the USDA profiles page, the species has oodles of synonyms which implies lots of plant variability.
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=GEAF

Thanks for showing the two forms, I have much to learn about native North American gentians. :)

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

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