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Results tagged “march-26”

Mar 26, 2014: Rhododendron praevernum

Rhododendron praevernum

Better late than never for an entry, I suppose. It was a long day working on an app we're getting close to completing (sorry, not a BPotD app) -- more details on that soon. In the meantime, enjoy this photograph and write-up, both by Taisha. She writes:

This photo of Rhodoendron praevernum is from an unnamed selection of the species made by noted Rhododendron enthusiast, Del James. I took this photo a couple of weeks ago on March 7th, when the plant was in the midst of blossoming in the David C. Lam Asian Garden. This species opens its flowers earlier than quite a few others locally--which makes sense when thinking about its epithet, praevernum. Daniel and Douglas today reminded me that vernum pertains to spring (the Latin word for spring being vernus), while prae is Latin for "before".

To reinforce the notion that this is an early bloomer, Daniel has photographs of this species (perhaps even the same plant) from February of 2003. If you're interested in learning more about the rhododendrons of UBC Botanical Garden, see the January 2010 issue (20:1) of Davidsonia (PDF) where Douglas goes into detail about some of the (approximately) 450 taxa grown in the Garden. It includes a mention of today's plant. To see a regional bloom calendar for rhododendrons, check out "Twelve Months of Flowering Rhododendrons" (PDF) from Meerkerk Rhododendron Gardens.

Mar 26, 2012: Ranunculus triternatus

If it isn't too much to have two similar-looking buttercup family representatives in a row, here are some images from just over a week ago.

Ranunculus triternatus (syn. Ranunculus reconditus) is an almost-endemic to the Columbia Gorge area of Washington and Oregon. A single location near Elko, Nevada and another in southeastern Idaho have also been reported. However, there is little information about the latter two reports online that I can find--most seem to be derived from the Flora of North America account for Ranunculus triternatus. Two common names are in use for the species, obscure buttercup and Dalles Mountain buttercup (the latter referring to the area where it is found near in Washington and Oregon).

Most research and conservation monitoring work has been done with the Washington and Oregon populations. According to the Center for Plant Conservation, ten occurrences of Ranunculus triternatus are known in these states: "In WA, 8 occurrences known since 1987. Populations range from "100+" to "several hundred." One other occurrence was reported in 1938, but the location data is not complete. Either it cannot be re-located, or it has been extirpated (WNHP 2000). 2 occurrences are currently known in Oregon with population numbers ranging from 50 to 800 (ONHP 2000).". I suppose that puts the number of individual plants worldwide at around 3500 +/- a thousand or so. I observed about seventy in flower during my brief visit to the area on a cloudy late afternoon.

As noted by Paul Slichter on his page for Ranunculus triternatus (includes additional photos!), the species "is found primarily in fairly undisturbed grasslands or areas of mixed grasslands and sagebrush. Plants are generally found in deeper soils among bunch grasses rather than in the thinner rocky poorer soils which are frequently found on the hillsides".

Additional photographs are available via the Oregon Flora Image Project (Ranunculus triternatus) and a scan of a specimen collected by Thomas Howell is available via Oregon State University Herbarium: Ranunculus triternatus.

I also had a request from a BPotD reader to include a bit of a photographic information from time to time. For these photographs, and for most photographs of buttercup flowers, I often find it necessary to underexpose the image. A camera-metered exposure will often blow out the yellows or introduce white spots on the petals due to the petals' high reflectivity (you can see the white spotting beginning to occur on the last photo). A polarizer can also be useful, but it is perhaps more important to make the photographic attempt on a cloudy day. I had also photographed some Ranunculus occidentalis this day, but I've thrown away most of those images because they were taken in the sun and no detail was left in the flower petals (I kept a couple for reference to remind me that it was out in bloom in the region on that date).

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