PEBBLE PLAINS, BALDWIN LAKE ECOLOGICAL RESERVE,
SAN BERNARDINO MTS
APRIL 2012 PAGE ONE
Photographs by Michael Charters



Tommy Stoughton was kind enough to let me know about some good things blooming at the Baldwin Lake Ecological Reserve near Big Bear including Androsace which I had never encountered before. The pebble plains at the Reserve are a fairly unique botanical habitat with some alpine affinities, and consist in the main of clay soils and quartzite cobbles. The diversity of pebble plains species has been compared to that of coral reefs. Native plants here are usually very small and grow close to the ground, beginning their bloom in March even as snow still persists. The pebbly pavement heats up faster than other types of terrain and thus the bloom season is usually over by May. The Reserve is located on Highway 18 at the intersection of Holcomb Valley Road on the north side of Baldwin Lake. I initially found a single plant of Androsace as I was scouring the area but it had no flowers on it. Since I could see other tiny things like Collinsia parviflora and Microsteris gracilis from a standing position, I thought I would see the Androsace as well if there were any flowers to be found. I knew that this species is sensitive to cold and there had been snow only a week or so earlier, so I figured I wasn't going to find any in bloom. But toward the end of the day, as I was sitting on the ground looking at some other tiny plants, my eye was suddenly caught by something and, lo and behold, there it was! And another and another and another and another. I would never have seen it if I hadn't been right down on the ground. There are other things here like Myosurus apetalus that I haven't seen yet, but I am hoping that a subsequent visit may rectify that. 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. Thanks to Tommy Stoughton for the identifications of most of these species and to Hartmut Wisch for the bee fly ID.

 
 
Pygmy-flower rock-jasmine ^
Androsace septentrionalis
Primulaceae

 
 
   



 
Small-flowered collinsia
Collinsia parviflora
Plantaginaceae


   
Slender phlox
Microsteris gracilis
Polemoniaceae



Tufted poppy
Eschscholzia caespitosa
Papaveraceae
 
 



 
 
 
Pursh's milkvetch
Astragalus purshii var. lectulus
Fabaceae
 
 



 
 
 

Parish's rock-cress
Boechera parishii
Brassicaceae

 
 
 



 
 
Wasp galls on desert bitterbrush
Purshia tridentata var. glandulosa
Rosaceae
Patagonia plantain
Plantago patagonica
Plantaginaceae
 


 
 
 
Douglas's violet, Golden violet
Viola douglasii
Violaceae
 
 



 
Desert indian paintbrush
Castilleja chromosa
Orobanchaceae
 
San Bernardino Mountains dudleya
Dudleya abramsii ssp. affinis
Crassulaceae