CACTUS SPRING TRAIL APRIL 2017
PAGE ONE




On April Fool's Day I joined a group including Tom Chester, Nancy Accola, Walt Fidler, Bruce Watts, Steven Daniel, Kirk Anderson, and RT and Shaun Hawke, for a stroll along the Cactus Spring Trail in the Santa Rosa Mountains. It was a beautiful day, sunny but not too hot, and the flora was out in abundance. The trailhead for the Cactus Spring and Sawmill Trails is 8 miles west of the junction of SR74 and SR371, about 20 minutes from Idyllwild, and the trail has ups and downs to Horsethief Creek and then to Cactus Spring. The net elevation gain from the trailhead at 4045' to Horsethief Creek is about 1165'. Tom's plant guide says "This trail is remarkably rich in species. There are 203 taxa found on the trail itself, and an additional 25 taxa are found just off-trail along it. The richness is due to two main factors. First, the trail contains both low-elevation desert species and higher-elevation montane species, due to its elevation range of 3480 to 4200 feet. The desert species are near their upper elevation ranges, and the montane species are near their lower elevation range. Second, the trail samples many different habitats, including slopes of all aspect ratios (north, south, east and west facing slopes), flat areas, and riparian areas." Another amazing thing about this trail is the very small number of introduced species. The photo above is of a hillside covered with desert prickly-pear (Opuntia phaeacantha). Click here for Tom Chester's plant guide to this trail and here for his checklist of the vascular flora of this area. An upside-down V next to the common name indicates a species that was new to me when I photographed it on this field trip.


   
Indian breadroot ^
Pediomelum californicum
Fabaceae
[Some species have woody roots while others have starchy tuber-like roots which can be eaten like tuber vegetables such as potatoes or made into flour.]


 
Ashy silktassel
Garrya flavescens
Garryaceae

[Named for Nicholas Garry, 1782-1856, assistant to Scottish botanist David Douglas]


 
 
 
Bajada lupine
Lupinus concinnus
Fabaceae
 
 



 
 
 
Woolly indian paintbrush
Castilleja foliolosa
Orobanchaceae
 
 



   
Woolly daisy
Eriophyllum wallacei
Asteraceae



   
Beavertail cactus
Opuntia basilaris var.
basilaris
Cactaceae
Bernardia
Bernardia incana
Euphorbiaceae

[Named after French taxonomist Bernard de Jussieu, 1699-1776]


 
Bearded cryptantha
Cryptantha barbigera
Boraginaceae


 
 
 
Bigberry manzanita
Arctostaphylos glauca
Ericaceae
 
 



 
Retrorse desert four o'clock
Mirabilis laevis var. retrorsa
Nyctaginaceae




   
Bigelow's monkeyflower
Mimulus bigelovii
Phrymaceae

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