MacNab cypress | Magalia, Ca
I published yesterday that I found MacNab cypress this weekend—what happened was that I mentally-morphed California juniper into MacNab cypress. It sometimes takes a wrong to learn a right.
In addition to really wanting to see a cypress, I had forgotten California juniper reaches its northern range extension here in the Sierra foothills. I had not seen J. californica in many years and never been to this region of California. I transformed the small knobs on the fleshy cones into future conically-curved umbos—I thought I had simply found immature cones. I justified the fact that the needles had no resin dots with other senile-specters. It took me a bit more than 24 hours to come down from this wilderness hallucination. The plants we found were California juniper (Juniperus californica) and I updated the blog to reflect that. I also created (and added) a range map for this species to better my understanding of its range, especially in northern California.
Part 2: MacNab cypress
This morning I woke up before sunrise and drove the 18 or so miles from Chico to Magalia, California. My goal was to track down a documented population of Cupressus macnabiana, regain my conifer fix, and end my conifer-morphing tendencies. The following are a few pictures from the serpentine outcrop between Skyway Drive and Coutolenc Road. This population is prolific, especially along the ridgeline. It does appear that a fire will soon be needed to stimulate seedling recruitment. Very cool species!
Eckenwalder: Seed cones globose, mostly 1.5-2.5 cm, brown or gray, not glaucous; scales 3-4 pairs, smooth except for erect conic umbos, 2-4 mm.
Eckenwalder: Leaves with conspicuous, pitlike, abaxial gland that produces drop of resin, sometimes glaucous.
Growing on serpentine.
Associates included Pinus sabiniana, Pinus ponderosa, Calocedrus decurrens, Pseudotsuga menziesii, Arctostaphylos vicida, and Heteromeles arbutifolia.
Eckenwalder, James E. 1993. Cupressus. Flora of North America Editorial Committee (eds.): Flora of North America North of Mexico, Vol. 2. Oxford University Press.
Cupressus macnabiana from the Gymnosperm Database