WHITEWATER CANYON MARCH 2010 PART ONE
PAGE ONE

Photographs by Michael Charters




I have been doing some preliminary work leading up to the BioBlitz which which be held in Whitewater Canyon April 12-13. For this outing I met Tom Chester and Lara Hartley at the mouth of Whitewater Canyon just off of the I-10 and we checked out the area there looking for Phacelia campanularia ssp. campanularia and anything else that might be of interest. I almost stepped on a rattlesnake. Then we headed up Whitewater Canyon Road, stopping at the location where I have seen Eustoma exaltatum and Mimulus parishii. Although the roadside habitat there has been severely degraded by some road scraping that was done 2-3 years back, we did observe a few gentians coming up. It usually blooms around June. We next stopped at the trailhead for the loop trail that goes up and over the ridge, finally zigzagging down into the Whitewater wash north of the Visitor Center. That area was simply stunning with the ground covered with goldfields, miniature lupines, fiddlenecks and other species. When we got to the Visitor Center, we joined up with Mike Crouse and Vince Balch, two people highly skilled in the tracking arts (footprints etc.), and we worked our way up into one of the side canyons on the east side of the wash, spending the rest of the day there and finally heading up to investigate the status of the rare triple-ribbed milkvetch (Astragalus tricarinatus), finding some new plants and enjoying two in lovely bloom. On the way back we were treated to the wonderful sight of a group of ten or so mountain sheep up on a ridge above the wash. The trout farm that was the original part of the Whitewater Reserve was built in 1938 by John and Berta Shearer, and the 2,851 acres of the Reserve is surrounded by BLM land of the San Gorgonio Wilderness. Thanks to Mike Simpson at SDNHM for correcting a couple of the Pectocarya identifications in my last couple of Whitewater galleries. An asterisk next to the common name indicates a non-native taxon, and a ~ indicates an uncertain identification.


   
Desert sand verbena
Abronia villosa var. villosa
Nyctaginaceae
 
Common eucrypta
Eucrypta chrysanthemifolia var. bipinnatifida
Boraginaceae
 
Yellow penstemon
Keckiella antirrhinoides var. antirrhinoides
Plantaginaceae


 
 
Ropevine
Clematis pauciflora
Ranunculaceae
Rock crossosoma
Crossosoma bigelovii
Crossosomataceae
 


 
Red root or smallflower cryptantha
Cryptantha micrantha
Boraginaceae
[End of finger for scale]
   
Fremont pincushion
Chaenactis fremontii
Asteraceae
     


 
Desert dandelion
Malacothrix glabrata
Asteraceae
 
Red diamond rattlesnake
Crotalus ruber
Viperidae
 


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



 
Parish's poppy
Eschscholzia parishii
Papaveraceae



 
Brittlebush
Encelia farinosa
Asteraceae
 
 
Woolly plantain
Plantago ovata
Plantaginaceae
 
 
Pale primrose
Camissonia pallida ssp. pallida
Onagraceae
 


     
  Desert chicory
Rafinesquia neomexicana
Asteraceae
 


   
Mustard evening primrose, California sun cup
Camissonia californica
Onagraceae


 
Chia
Salvia columbariae
Lamiaceae



   
Yellow tackstem
Calycoseris parryi
Asteraceae