Townsendia aprica - armchair botanizing

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Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14
Townsendia aprica - armchair botanizing

More armchair botanizing today. I was going to add to the Parry's Easter Daisy thread, but we're starting to talk about Townsendia in general, so I started this thread which features a rare Utah endemic, Townsendia aprica. I also uploaded a photo to the Image of the Day thread, as I had found a gorgeous photo that embodies Townsendia.
http://nargs.org/smf/index.php?topic=24.msg722#msg722

So, in my armchair travels, I revisited a surprising good web site, the US Forest Service homepage. It has lots of excellent educational information, and meandering links to all sorts of information (watch out, you can get lost for hours; I did). I have culled from my browsing some selected links... enjoy!
http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/index.shtml

US Forest Service - Rare Plants homepage:
http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/rareplants/index.shtml

Townsendia aprica - threatened Utah endemic - image
http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/rareplants/profiles/tep/townsendia_apri...

Townsendia aprica page
http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/rareplants/profiles/tep/townsendia_apri...

Last Chance Townsendia aprica Recovery Plan, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, published 1993.
A fascinating account of how they go about assessing endangered plants. It had a 10-year projection, which is obviously over by now, so one wonders what the status of this plant species is now.
http://ecos.fws.gov/docs/recovery_plans/1993/930820.pdf

Utah Rare Plant Guide - travel down this path
http://www.utahrareplants.org/rpg_species.html?Potentilla_angelliae
This is a long listing of rare, threatened, or endangered plant species (many are endemic). Some species show a small thumbnail image, others don't, but don't worry about that, just click on each species name in the chart. A note about the user-interface on this chart... all the plant names are links, when clicking on one of them, a tiny window pops up in the upper left corner... the window is too small to show anything... just grab and stretch the lower right corner of the window diagonally downwards to view the whole page (see images below). Each species will display a 2-page overview of the plant, most with a good botanical illustration, some data, and one or more photos. There is a small "link-menu" at the top center, to display a page as 1 or 2 pages, and display as a PDF (which can then be downloaded if desired). Some pages have a "larger" and "smaller" button which can be used repeatedly to enlarge or zoom and image.

I find this sort of armchair botanical exploration fascinating. I have never seen the yellow form of Townsendia jonesii (var. lutea), but it's there among the list, or use this link to the PDF: http://www.utahrareplants.org/pdf/Townsendia_jonesii_var_lutea.pdf

Other plants in the list that caught my eye: Aquilegia loriae, Erigeron carringtoniae, Erigeron huberi, dwarf Iris pariensis, Lesquerella tumulosa, Parrya rydbergii (Panayoti, I threw this one in for you), many Penstemon, Physaria stylosa, Phlox opalensis (look at the color variation), check out Townsendia aprica again (this link shows different color forms, use link below), Viola frank-smithii.

Happy trails :D

Kelaidis
Kelaidis's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-02-03

I have actually grown Townsendia aprica, and would love to again. It is extremely rare, and I worry a tad about collecting seed (even) of these: it presents all sorts of moral not to mention legal quandaries. Ironically, I think that when and if the right person gets this, they could probably and possibly mass produce it because townsendias in general are quite profligate with seed and not hard to grow. I'm annoyed I have not been that person, and hope I might yet have another chance...

I have five or six species of townsendias thriving at any given time. They really love to grow in troughs for me: they are budded up to bloom and should pop any day: I will send along pix when they do: I have Tt. eximia, hookeri, rothrockii, and some more I am groping for (just woke up not long ago after a late night at a concert and long drive home)...

Utah is full of treasures. They also have a treasure of a gardener who may well be growing many of them: John Stireman (Who I believe is lurking on this list!)

For every minion of the peaks there are a dozen steppe children growing in the dry Continental heart of all hemispheres still unknown to horticulture.

Kelaidis
Kelaidis's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-02-03

Oh yes! Parrya rydbergii...I have seen this on Leidy Peak, the second highest peak in Utah which I climbed with my family in the early 1990's. It is one of the most stunningly beautiful native alpines, with deep magenta flowers and wonderful rosettes and fabulous habit. I did get a few seed and lost the plants somewhere along the way. Something tells me this will not be a hard plant to grow. It is only found on the highest ridges of the Uinta Mountains, always a good hike from any road.

That trip up Leidy Peak is one I will never forget: almost killed myself, Gwen and both our kids. It was crystal clear on the way up, but on the summit, clouds closed in and it started to snow. We had no winter gear at all (my son was in a backpack, so it had to be about 1994): The wind kicked in and we began to turn blue. There was no trail, and how we found ourselves after a very long hike back in the parking lot was a miracle (it's a very big mountain and the parking lot is very small by comparison): we might well have frozen up there. Very scary: and makes me sympathize with other stupid people who get themselves into fixes.

Needless to say, I haven't rushed back.

For every minion of the peaks there are a dozen steppe children growing in the dry Continental heart of all hemispheres still unknown to horticulture.

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

Kelaidis wrote:

That trip up Leidy Peak is one I will never forget: almost killed myself, Gwen and both our kids. It was crystal clear on the way up, but on the summit, clouds closed in and it started to snow. We had no winter gear at all (my son was in a backpack, so it had to be about 1994): The wind kicked in and we began to turn blue. There was no trail, and how we found ourselves after a very long hike back in the parking lot was a miracle (it's a very big mountain and the parking lot is very small by comparison): we might well have frozen up there. Very scary: and makes me sympathize with other stupid people who get themselves into fixes.

Sometimes it is safer to do armchair botanizing ;D

Actually, your story reminds me when I was in Seattle, Washington, going up onto Burroughs Mountain (several peaks, Burroughs 1, Burroughs 2) accessed off the dry "Sunrise" side of Mt. Rainier.  Even though it was mid July, there is one spot where the snowfield lies late and must be traversed to get up onto Burroughs.  So there I was with my wife, both of us wearing sneakers, laterally traversing a wide and impossibly steep snowfield, just following a 6" wide tramped snow footpath.  When we got halfway across, we realized if one slipped, it would mean an out of control sliding plummet down about 1000' into a jagged tumble of boulders below.  Of course, we had to return via the same route, there was no option.

It seemed worth it somehow, with spectacular views of Mt. Rainier's peak, and the flowers, vast areas blue and gold with Erigeron aureus and Lupinus lepidus.  Among rocks were other treasures, the congested alpine Sky Pilots (Polemonium sp., it believe it was P. viscosum) was my favorite.

And we repeated the same hike the following year, once again wearing slippery sneakers... not too bright :P

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

Anne Spiegel
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-01-26

Mark, it's way too hot to be in the garden and I found your Townsendia aprica lists.  Armchair botanizing is
fun, definitely!  I liked the link to Utah  rare plants, some of which grow in my garden.  The Townsendia jonesii v lutea is a marvelous plant but short-lived, as are so many of them.  I've seen it in the wild growing in a very inhospitable place (for people) along with Astragalus megacarpus and an unknown eriogonum.  They were all beautiful.  The Townsendia  persisted and bloomed several years in a trough but probably should have a winter cover, which it did not.  Thanks for showing the links.

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

Anne, when I look through some of these State flora sites, particularly the predominantly arid States, and see photos of plants growing in such inhospitable conditions, I think these plants can't possible be grown in our gardens.  But then in our own gardens, areas certainly incredibly foreign to these plants, they will sometimes be perfectly amenable to cultivation.  Such is the case with Penstemon eatonii and the newly popular Erigeron scopulinus.  So now when I peruse the flora sites, I try to maintain an open mind, that possibly the plants are more growable that one can ever imagine.

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

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