Alberta Wanderings

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cohan
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Joined: 2011-02-03

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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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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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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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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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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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  

cohan
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Thanks, Mark! I have plenty to learn myself, didn't even know it was native...lol.. If I manage to get some fresh seed, I will keep you in mind-the problem with the site with smaller plants is that its a hefty bike ride, and those seem to ripen seed so late that riding conditions may not be so good...lol .. but who knows, I may find a closer spot? I'd like to try growing both- its quite possible the large plant is just older and/or in a better site etc

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 plant portrait- actually from just up the road from the small Gentiana above- this road has a slightly different flora than most of the sites around here I have botanised- I will do a feature on it when I get the albums done...Meanwhile, here is a plant I have yet to identify, even though I have sent seed to a number of folks overseas! It feels like an Erigeron to me, though I have not yet been able to say which one-- it is smaller than most of the other local species, and though it has small stem leaves, it has clear basal rosette clumps through flowering, unlike most of the other locals.. The flowers are a bit pinker than appears in the photos, and all the same colour, no whites as some washed out shots appear.. it grows on banks at the sides of the roadside ditches- theoretically these spots could be quite dry at times (though again, the ditch bottoms, not far away are always damper, and nothing was dry around here the last couple of summers!).. you can see it in one or two shots growing with Oxytropis monticola, and Dasiphora (Potentilla) fruticosa among others..I forgot to add, its about 30cm tall (flowering stems)..EDIT: See below, I'm going to go out on a limb and call this Erigeron glabellus

   

       

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

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