Triple-digit temperatures did not stop a dedicated work crew from removing the yellow star thistle that threatens the Greene’s Mariposa Lily in the Mariposa Lily Botanical Area. Fortunately, early and scattered cloud cover slowed the day's warming so volunteers didn't suffer too much during the nearly four-hour work period.
The Friends of Cascade Siskiyou National Monument partnered with Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center (KS Wild), Southern Oregon Native Plant Society (SONPS), and Bureau of Land Management Medford District (BLM) to collaboratively organize and lead a Hike and Learn within the Mariposa Lily Botanical Area. We observed and learned about the rare plants and worked to remove Yellow Star Thistle, an invasive introduced plant that can potentially displace the plants rare and endemic to the area.
The 222-acre Mariposa Botanical Area is a designated conservation area (botanical preserve) that lies within the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument. It was first acquired in 1993 through a unique land exchange between The Nature Conservancy and cooperative ranchers in the Rogue Valley.
The botanical preserve provides protection for two rare endemic plants, Greene’s Mariposa Lily (the Botanical Area’s namesake) and Detling’s microseris. Greene’s Mariposa Lily grows only in southern Jackson County, Oregon and northern Siskiyou County, California while Detling’s microseris exists only in select areas of Jackson County, Oregon. The preserve also provides year-round habitat for blacktail deer and a small elk herd and contains portions of the historic Oregon-California Trail.
The invasive star thistle had not yet flowered so BLM Botantist Armand Rebischke showed us how to pull the plant up by the roots. This was not a particularly easy task since star thistle has a vigorous taproot! We bagged the pulled thistle and removed it from the site to prevent any of it from setting seed. A pulled thistle can set seed if the flower head is developed enough.
The Mariposa Lily Botanical Area Hike and Learn Friday (June 26) talk was presented by Jeanine Moy (KS Wild Adopt-A-Botanical Area Coordinator), followed by a Saturday educational day-hike and service-learning event co-led by Moy and BLM Botantist, Armand Rebischke and joined by Julie Spelletich (SONPS Botanist) and Peter Schroeder (FCSNM Board Member) and 5 members of the general public.
--Peter Schroeder, Friends of CSNM Board Member
This Hike and Learn service project continues our series of events celebrating our 15th Anniversary of the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument.
We invite you to visit, submit your story or photograph or make a gift and join us to educate, conserve, and care for this place of biodiversity!