Post by John Brittnacher on Sept 26, 2012 15:50:39 GMT
What surprised me most during a tour of Darlingtonia sites is that the majority of them were very shady creek beds usually associated with huckleberry, rhododendron, salal, and small cedar trees.
Yes, there are open hillside seeps with huge colonies. Those are not common.
The most spectacular sites were in human modified habitats. These plants are where someone had done stream bed mining creating ponds. They are also under power lines so all the trees and larger shrubs were cut down. The trees in the background are outside the easement.
Outside the power line easement the plants were in dense thickets where it was impossible to enter and peering in all you could see is large cobra heads poking above the shorter shrubs.
The plants in this area are associated with serpentine rock. On Google Earth you can see where the serpentine mountains are by the lower number of trees and reddish cast to the soil. But serpentine rock is green. In this road cut you can see how the green rocks weather to red.
Post by John Brittnacher on Sept 27, 2012 16:15:16 GMT
There was a massive fire in that area in 2002. I don't think it got as far south as 199 but it got close enough fire crews "prepped" Gasquet by clearing brush and cleaning roof gutters on houses. Some of the areas we drove through showed evidence of fire.
It works both ways on fire. Fire can clear the brush but it can also destabilize the hillsides causing landslides that fill the canyon bottom sites with rocks and other debris. I would also think the fire intensity in the canyon bottoms would be low. In addition, other bog/fen plants are fire resistant. Salal has large, fleshy roots or underground runners and I am sure it would come back quickly after a fire. It won't take many years for the rest of the plants to come back if the site is not otherwise destroyed in which case it would need to be recolonized.