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Fernando Rivadavia

Spring in Gasquet, California

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Hello to all,

It is now springtime in the northern hemisphere, with plants erupting in bloom in temperate countries across the globe -- including P.macroceras subsp.nortensis and Darlingtonia californica in the Gasquet area of northern California! :)

On the weekend of April 19-20, I visited the area with the help of Harry Tryon, a CPer who lives in Gasquet and knows countless CP sites. He was kind enough to show me around to several of these, and I can’t thank him enough for the wonderful time I had and fantastic plants I saw.

I left San Francisco early Saturday morning, drove ~600km north through beautiful redwood forests along highway 101, and arrived a little after noon in Gasquet. The 1st site Harry took me to see was a wet semi-shaded mossy bank by the road with P.macroceras subsp.nortensis. Here are some pics of the habitat and plants. Notice how on several plants there are dead scapes from the previous season.

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The 2nd site was probably the most spectacular of all, at least in terms of abundance. P.macroceras and Darlingtonia formed a carpet on rocky banks along a road where water seeped out from the hillside. Both species were in flower and you could see scapes from the previous season on Darlingtonia.

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Pings with prey:

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Can’t-get-easier-than-this roadside P.macroceras:

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A little further down the road was the 3rd site, a huge wall covered with P.macroceras:

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This was maybe the largest P.macroceras I saw that weekend:

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We had some “freak showers” that afternoon. I’m not sure what to call it, but it wasn’t rain because it was frozen. Nor was it snow, because there were no flakes. It also wasn’t hail, because it didn’t form hard little ice pellets. It was more like a shower of tiny snow balls… Maybe sleet? Anyways, these tiny snowballs covered the ground and the Pinguicula. You can see them in these shots:

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The 4th site was similar to the 2nd, only smaller & shadier. P.macroceras were not yet flowering (not even signs of flower buds) and Darlingtonia were just starting to send up scapes. In the second habitat shot below (where you can see Harry’s car), maybe you can spot some vertical white streaks, which were the sleet pellets raining down on us.

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The 5th site was quite different from all the rest. Located on the top of a mountain, it was a flat grassy seepage where Darlingtonia grew among grasses. D.rotundifolia also grew there and were just coming out of dormancy. It seems like most D.rotundifolia were in very wet spots, usually with the dormant rosettes underwater. None of the Drosera had signs of flower scapes, but I think a few Darlingtonia had young scapes.

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The 6th site was right along highway 199. Darlingtonia, D.rotundifolia, and P.macroceras grew very densely in a small area, a wet seepage mostly shaded by pine trees, at the base of a mountain. Lots of Darlingtonia & P.macroceras were in flower. Look at the different shades of Darlingtonia flowers:

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And look at the SIZE of the hoods compared to Harry's hand!

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"

Darlingtonia & P.macroceras

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And here you have all 3 CPs, can you see them?

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The 7th site visited contained only P.macroceras. It was a small population, but growing densely on nearly vertical cliffs along a small stream/ waterfall. All flowers seemed to be facing me, it was beautiful!!!

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All these 7 sites were visited on Saturday afternoon alone! And still we had time to visit a magnificent redwood forest, have some fresh seafood for dinner by the ocean, and drive a bit along the strikingly beautiful coast of northern California. I went to bed wondering if we’d be able to visit as many CP sites on Sunday morning, before driving back to San Francisco.

Edited by Fernando Rivadavia

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But next day we were in for a surprise: we woke up to find everything was covered with a white layer. It was snowing!! A freak snowstorm in late April, Harry’s plants were completely covered. Check out the before (Saturday) and after (Sunday) pictures of his collection:

Before:

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After:

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Before/ after:

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Cephalotus under snow, that’s a 1st for me! :)

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We ended up only going to a single CP site that morning, after having a great breakfast. We visited a place on a hillside where Darlingtonia, D.rotundifolia, and P.macroceras grew among grasses along a few streams and on wet ground between them.

Here’s one of the streams:

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And here’s Harry standing next to another stream:

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Here’s a young flower:

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Observe the color variation in Darlingtonia:

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Darlingtonia & P.macroceras:

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P.macroceras:

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P.macroceras & D.rotundifolia:

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After saying many goodbyes and thank yous to Harry, I left Gasquet around noon on Sunday and – against Harry’s advice – decided to risk driving back along highway 5. It was risky because there is a high mountain pass which could be snowed in, with no cars passing. I didn’t have chains for the car wheels nor do I have any experience driving in snow! In the end the mountain pass was open (although the roadsides were deep in snow) and I was able to enjoy fantastic views of snowy mountains on my drive to San Francisco, like the magnificent Mt.Shasta:

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Thanks tons to Harry for a great weekend, what a guy!!! ;)

Best Wishes,

Fernando Rivadavia

P.S. Look what a lucky guy Harry is. Just across the river from Harry’s house, there are even some Darlingtonia & P.macroceras (but you can’t see them in this pic, sorry!):

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Oooops!! Just noticed that I placed this in the wrong place, it was supposed to be udner "CPs in the Wild"... Can somebody move it there?

Thanks, Fernando Rivadavia

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diva    0

wow what a post thanks so much for sharing these wonderfull pictures with us. :yes:

pings look stunning in such numbers and i love that scrambling/climbing habit of darlingtonias on cliff faces

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Hey Fernando,

Thanks for this interesting trip report and for showing these amazing habitats!

So, now you have seen all CPs growing in California. Nice. Come on, move back to Brazil!! ;);)

Andreas

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Aaaah Andreas, but I can't move back yet! I still have to see in the wild in California the incredible, amazing, spectacular, awesome D.anglica, D.X obovata, and several aquatic Utrics which all look the same!! Hahahah! :) Yaaawn, I miss the tropics, especially now that I've seen the best at their peak... (ooops, this is gonna p*ss off Harry, Barry & others here in California, hehehe!)

Best Wishes,

Fernando Rivadavia

Edited by Fernando Rivadavia

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rsivertsen    4

WOW! Fernando!

Fantastic report! Exceptional photography (as usual!), felt like I was right there with you and Harry!

Great to see those plants again! :yes:

- Rich

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Khelljuhg    5

You must have had a wonderful time! Thanks for sharing those lovely photos.

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jimscott    42

*jaw is still open*

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Dieter    90

Hi Fernando,

thanks for sharing these pictures. It's now about a decade ago that I did my last CP hunt in California. I still remember some of the sites you showed us above. Unfortunately, I never came on time to see the P. macroceras ssp. nortensis in flower.

If things work out well, I will have a few free days in late july to go there again (of course, only to save my employer travelling expenses).

Cheers

Dieter

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Rogier    0

What a fantastic report! I love the dark Darlingtonia's!

I like the CP setup from Harry, especially the "monorail" type growing table in the last picture!

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Daniel O.    62

Hi Fernando,

very nice pictures, must have been a very interesting weekend. :smile:

It´s always nice to see that several species are growing next to each other.

Also a nice surprice with the snow.

Harry must be a very happy man to live in an area where CP´s are growing next to his own garden.

Thanks for sharing these pictures.

Best regards,

Dani

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Stefano    0
:smile: Those are some great photos! Those darlingtonia are magnificent. Those drosera are pretty nice aswell

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BobZ    10

Very nice photo journal, Fernando! Harry must feel like a bed and breakfast safari guide. He needs a booking agent. Barry, Beth, Jim, and I imposed on him two weeks after your trip.

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Guest jk   
Guest jk

Fernando, you lucky guy. Those sites must not be known to many people. Thank you for the many terrific photos. I don't know if it's due to the exposure of the photographs, but the color of the Drosera flowers at Site #6 is an exceptionally beautiful dark blue, even those that are in the sun.

Edited by jk

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Hi guys,

Bob, did you guys catch as many Pings in flower?

JK, blue Drosera flowers? You mean P.macroceras, right? ;) And maybe you meant site #7 too, right?

Take care,

Fernando Rivadavia

Edited by Fernando Rivadavia

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