Gentiana glauca

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

A new one for me today... Gentiana glauca.
Its habitat is described in Moss & Packer as "(m)oist subalpine and alpine banks and ledges", and indeed, we saw these in alpine tundra in northern Banff N.P., along streams and growing on vegetated hummocks in terrain that was wettish from snow melt. The flower colour is very unusual! These plants, though forming nice little colonies, were diminutive in height, up to about 4 cm.

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

Lori wrote:

A new one for me today... Gentiana glauca.
Its habitat is described in Moss & Packer as "(m)oist subalpine and alpine banks and ledges", and indeed, we saw these in alpine tundra in northern Banff N.P., along streams and growing on vegetated hummocks in terrain that was wettish from snow melt.  The flower colour is very unusual!  These plants, though forming nice little colonies, were diminutive in height, up to about 4 cm.

Lori, it's a little beauty, a most unusual color to be sure.  The foliage is distinctive too.  Years and years ago I won the category at a small NARGS Chapter plant show (Connecticut chapter ARGS meeting at the time) for a "flat of seedlings", with a rectangular flat thick with minuscule seedlings of G. glauca from wild collected seed from the ARGS seed exchange... I did not successfully raise them to flowering.

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

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Agreed: that is sure an unnatural color for the temperate world.  It's very tropical.

I imagine it is fairly rare to find above ground streams in the alpine zone?

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

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

RickR wrote:

I imagine it is fairly rare to find above ground streams in the alpine zone?

No, not really.  There are lots of snow accumulations that melt through the summer, and plenty of little meltwater lakes that have outlet streams.  Some of the streams do indeed go underground at times though... talus accumulations here and there below the vegetated surface seem to provide some shortcuts.  One of the areas in which we hike has several "holes" that go down from the surface, which would channel water at certain times, and the main stream itself peters out in the alpine zone, and, I suspect, reappears way down slope in the trees, and joins the main stream somewhere... (just my guess, have not traced it out!)

The substrate in many places does support water running over it, rather than right through it.

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

Here, from the other area I alluded to, which we revisited today, is one of the disappearing streams... in a few hundred feet, it goes from a melting snowbank (with more meltwater coming from through the scree slope and higher up the cliff), to a busy little stream, to... nothing.
 

Close-up... now you see it, now you don't:

And here is an "appearing" stream... we did trace it out today  :)... the stream which disappeared underground above treeline, reappears at the head of the valley down past the big moraine(?)/rockfall in the trees.  From a shallow, still little pool hidden in the willows, there is a 4' wide stream with a pretty waterfall in the space of a couple hundred feet:

   

Pretty neat!!

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

Here, disappearing/reappearing streams are quite the novelty, and always elicit some sort of conservation of the area for posterity.  (Of course, this does not include those caused by beaver dams... ;D)

Thanks for the info/pics, Lori!

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

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