Great Basin Bristlecone Pines are incredible organisms. They are extremely long-lived and are the oldest living, single organisms that we know of. The oldest known bristlecone is roughly 5,000 years old.
In the Basin and Range region we have the Great Basin Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva), which reside in California, Nevada and Utah. The Rocky Mountain Bristlecone Pine (Pinus aristata) is located in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.
Great Basin Bristlecones have dark green, short needles in clusters of five. The needles grow along the length of the branch, giving them a fairly unique look. The cones grow at the ends of the branches. The cones have a thin bristle on each cone scale--which is how they got the name bristlecones. The older bristlecones often have spikey dead tops, bare wood on limbs and trunks, distorted polished limbs and exposed roots.
Great Basin Bristlecones grow only in cold, dry windswept locations at high elevations. The oldest of the bristlecones tend to live in the harshest of conditions. The tough conditions produces wood that is hard, resin-filled and resistant to insects, disease and decay.
Great Basin Bristlecone Pine Slideshow:
I love traveling south in Nevada and seeing the change in landscape and vegetation. On of my favorites parts is when we get into Joshua Tree habitat—and join in on the dance party in the desert!
Last week we were lucky enough to get to road trip down south. We enjoyed the scenery and the Joshua trees along the way!
Bald Mountain (9,549 ft.) the high point in the Pine Grove Hills and the high point of Lyon County, Nevada. It is in one of Nevada’s newest Wilderness Areas, the Wovoka Wilderness.
The Monarch Watch Organization was “over the moon” with excitement when University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Anne Marie Lardeau sent them one cup of rare, desert native Milkweed seeds. Last year, Lardeau spoke via email to the Monarch Watch Organization and found out that they did not have the rare, desert Milkweed on their list. Lardeau told them that Cooperative Extension had such plants.
Lardeau began the collection process a year ago at the Lifelong Learning Center’s Demonstration Gardens. Monarch butterflies deposit their eggs on the Asclepias subulata as they migrate from west to east and vice-versa. The caterpillars feed on the plants.
“It certainly was a long, involved process,” explained Lardeau. “The spring crop failed due to high winds that released all of the seeds into the air.” During the second harvest, Lardeau used panty hose she cut into thirds and tied at the ends and placed over the pods to capture the seeds. When the pods were ready to release the seeds, they were deposited into the mesh from the hose.
“The 10 Milkweed plants created about two ounces of seeds, equivalent to one cup,” Lardeau added. These were the first donation and the first desert Milkweed seeds the Monarch Watch Organization received from Nevada.
Learn more here: http://www.unce.unr.edu/news/article.asp?ID=2086
National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW) is scheduled for February 22-28. And according to experts with the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA), it's a topic that deserves our attention. Non-native plants, animals and pathogens can harm humans and the environment and impact our nation's economy. The damage done by invasive plants alone costs the U.S. an estimated $34.7 billion a year.
Invasive weeds can produce skin irritation, trigger allergies and poison pets and livestock. They can clog waterways, kill native trees, and shade out crops, ornamentals and prized native flora. They are found in every imaginable habitat, including oceans, lakes, streams, wetlands, croplands, rangelands, natural areas, parks, forests, urban environments, yards and gardens.
"Though the impact of invasive species is profound, there are important steps we can take to manage infestations and prevent their spread," says Lee Van Wychen, Ph.D., director of science policy for the WSSA. "It all begins with awareness."
Nine Ways You Can Help
The Flora of North America Association announced the publication of volume 9 in the Flora of North America North of Mexico series by Oxford University Press. Volume 9 treats 691 species in 74 genera contained in four families and is the 18th volume published in the 30-volume series. Pre- and standing orders of volume 9 are being filled as of last week and bulk orders are soon to follow.
See more here: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/flora-of-north-america-9780195340297?lang=en&cc=us
Plan to visit University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Demonstration and Test Gardens each Friday, from January through May to learn about the plants that thrive in desert southwest landscapes. Master Gardeners will offer free walking tours weekly from 10 a.m. to noon. The tours are open to the public.
The Demonstration and Test Gardens, located at 8050 Paradise Road, Las Vegas, Nev., contain over 500 species of desert appropriate landscape plants, including: trees, shrubs, perennials, herbs, palms, cacti and agaves. Plants are identified by botanical and common names.
Based on the interests of tour participants, Master Gardeners will highlight appropriate plants and explain their landscape uses and cultivation. To join this tour, meet in the front Lobby at 10 a.m. Walking shoes, sun protection and water are suggested. In addition to scheduled tours, the grounds are open for self-guided tours weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information email or call the Master Gardener Help Desk at 702-257-5555 or like/visit their Facebook page.
RENO, Nev. — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has determined that two species of buckwheat in Nevada do not warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The two species are Churchill Narrows buckwheat (Eriogonum diatomaceum) and Las Vegas buckwheat (Eriogonum corymbosum var. nilesii). The decision will be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday, September 24, 2014.
In making this determination, the Service completed a comprehensive status review, known as a 12-month finding, and found that the best scientific and commercial data available indicates that listing either species of buckwheat as threatened or endangered is not warranted. The Service performed threat analyses on both species based on five factors: (A) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range; (B) Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; (C) Disease or predation; (D) The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or (E) Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence.
The Service found that these factors currently may have minor impacts on individual plants in some locations, but they are not impacting either species as a whole currently or into the future. However, the Service asks the public to submit any new information that becomes available concerning the threats to the plants or their habitats at any time.
Learn more here: http://www.fws.gov/nevada/highlights/news_releases/2014/nr_nevada_buckwheats_not_warranted_9-23-14.pdf
Follow the link below to see a great new publication on Medusahead management.
Quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) is a common tree in the Basin and Range region especially at elevation between 6,500 and 10,000 feet. It is actually one of the most widespread trees in North America. Aspen are often referred to as "quakies," but they also are known as trembling poplar, golden aspen and mountain aspen.
Quaking aspen grows on a variety of soils ranging from shallow and rocky to deep loamy sands and heavy clays. The best quaking aspen stands in the Basin and Range are on soils developed from igneous rock, and from neutral or calcareous shales and limestones. Aspen tend to grow well wherever soil moisture is not limiting.
Aspen can grow between 40-100 feet in height. They have white, smooth bark that is distinctive. It can be confused with birch however birch bark peels off the trunk like paper where aspen bark does not. Aspen have characteristic black scars on the white bark where old limbs have fallen due to to self pruning. The leaves are green, alternate, slightly toothed and are cordate to round in shape. The top of the leaves are a darker, glossy green, while the bottoms are paler. The leaves turn bright gold in the fall, sometimes turning bright orange and red.
Aspens are really neat, unique trees. All of the trees in a stand of aspen tend to be from one single organism, with most of their "body" residing underground. They have massive root systems that can reach up to 20 acres in size. When there is enough sunlight, roots sprout up from the ground to form white "trunks", which then leaf out and look like individual trees. This is a type of Asexual reproduction--where offspring arise from a single organism and offspring are basically a clone of the parent. Aspen will reproduce sexually, as a flowering plant, only after severe fire and/or under ideal environmental conditions.
http://www.na.fs.fed.us/pubs/silvics_manual/volume_2/populus/tremuloides.htm accessed 9/2014
http://www.nps.gov/brca/naturescience/quakingaspen.htm accessed 9/2014
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The Basin and Range Project
We love the Basin and Range region and work to promote appreciation and respect for the area. We encourage all users to learn about, play in and protect this amazing resource.
We currently focus primarily on issues in the Nevada region of the Basin and Range, but are looking to expand soon.