On the east side of the Sierra Nevada, in the lands of the Mono, I've also seen some incredible flora while surveying this past spring and summer.
The area overlaps 2 floristic provinces: Sierra Nevada and Great Basin. The Sierra flora is familiar to me, as are the Great Basin plants that also occur in the Mojave. But the GB species that flow in from Nevada, and just touch CA - those I have no experience seeing or IDing.
Which is a big part of the fun.
Unfortunately, I haven't yet found a local guide like Ernest, so I'm stumbling along with the help of friends, Jepson and the intertubes.
Which can also be fun.
But before the flora, a few photos of the lands and habitats...
Looking east, and out of the little Mono Basin valley - altitude is just under 7,000 feet
Looking west, up the valley and towards the Sierra Nevada and Yosemite
Habitats include ponds, creeks, wetlands, and sagebrush scrub
And wet mountain meadows bordered by rocky, volcanic rims
Aspens and willows wrap the waterways, and pinyon pines pepper the ridges
Where many of the rocks and outcrops are as spectacular as the plants
Now on to this season's flora, which included over 120 found species. Of those, about 50 were new to me, along with 8 new genera.
And, while most species I/we could key and ID, there are still a number of uncertainties on the list. I just don't like to call an ID on unfamiliar flora until I feel there's no other options, or a plant geek who really knows the species gives me a solid confirmation.
And even then, I still make mistakes. All botanists do. Plants can be highly variable, and all keys are not created equal.
So, if you see a pretty below that I might not have right - give a shout.
Otherwise - on with the show...
The crazy cool Inyo Green Gentian, Swertia puberulenta
Giant Blazing Star, Mentzelia laevicaulis, with 4" diameter flowers
A pink Camissonia - Shockley's Evening Primrose, Camissonia heterochroma
Beaked Penstemon, Penstemon rostriflorus, a hummingbird fave
Sierra Gentian, Gentianopsis holopetala, the purple polka-dots of wet mtn meadows
Masses of Castilleja miniata, Giant Red Paintbrush, parasitizing willows
Yellow Owl's Clover, Orthocarpus luteus
Flat Top Broomrape, Orobanche corymbosa, parasitizing sage and rabbitbrush
Wavyleaf Thelypodium, Thelypodium crispum, a mustard that looks lily-like
Transmontane Sand Verbena, Abronia turbinata
The popping pink Dwarf Monkeyflower, Mimulus nanus
Prickly Poppy, Argemone munita
Lanceleaf Browneyes, Camissonia claviformis ssp. lancifolia
And, as before, I'll finish with a shotgun blast of 17 more fine species:
Western Blue Flag Iris, Great Basin Rye, and Ranger's Buttons
Primrose Monkeyflowers, Alpine Shooting Stars, and Desert Fernbush
Elk Thistle, Hairy Wild Cabbage, and Yellow Popcornflower
Wilcox's Woollystar, Brewer's Cinqfoil, and Jacob's Ladder
Grass of Parnassus, Bog Mallow, and Clustered Blazing Star
Tansyleaf Suncup and Two-colored Phacelia
What a place.
Can't wait to start scouring it again next spring.