Nature Notes

Volume I No. 3 - September 1, 1928

A Rare Fern From Crater Lake
By F.L. Wynd

Dept. of Botany, University of Oregon

Crater Lake seems to be an especially favorable locality for the bizarre and unusual plant life. Besides the seven new species that Colville found in this region in 1896, he has since described another. (In Underw. Nat. Ferns ed. 669, 1900). This is a little fern that grows only on the highest pumice slopes. It really is not a true fern since the fronds are not circinate in the bud, the sporangia do not have typical fern's annulus, and the spores are formed within the tissue of the sporophyll. By these characteristics we place it in the Adder's Tongue Family (Opheoglossaceae) but still for all practical purposes we may call it a fern.

Its extreme rarity is evidenced by the fact that it has been found by collectors only twice. The type specimen was found a good many years ago, but since then it has "hidden out" on us completely, with the single exception of a specimen which was collected this season.

Not only its rarity, but also its protective coloration aids it in escaping notice. The leaves, or fronds, are a dull grey color, which blends perfectly with the pumice slopes on which it grows. This is a fortunate circumstance, since it would soon become extinct were it at all conspicuous.

Botanists call this plant Botrychium pumicola, which altho grammatically incorrect as Latin names go, means "pumice inhabitant."

By Earl U. Homuth

sketch of ranger on porcupine quill

While relaxing peacefully with a bit of light literature under a tall hemlock on a sunny slope, the writer was disturbed by the sharp sensations such as an ant may impart. After the experience had been repeated several times a casual search for the insects was begun, and there were none. But the ground was found to be littered with several dozen porcupine quills. A good collection was gathered as mementoes of an experience which had previously been duplicated only with cactus, in the deserts of the Southwest.

Porcupines are often noticed in the Park. Near the Community House several fir trees show dead branches, and bark peeled off about thirty feet above the ground, evidently the work of these rodents. A ranger reports avoiding possible punctures while driving on the Rim Road late one evening, by giving a porcupine ample time to decide to amble into the woods instead of following down the roadway as it did for several yards.

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