Is this low-growing, needle-leafed, creeping shrub native to central Oregon Cascade eastside forest?

Discussion in 'Pacific Northwest Native Plants' started by dustie, Sep 15, 2019.

  1. dustie

    dustie New Member

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    Not sure if this should be here or in the plant ID section, because I do not know if it is native to the area. It is growing in Oregon, eastside foot of the Cascades, northwest of Bend, south of Black Butte. Photographs made in mid-September.

    A low-growing, creeping, evergreen shrub, on gently sloped ground which I'd consider well-drained. It seems out of place in Ponderosa Pine forest, with aspens and mixed deciduous brush in areas with more available moisture. It covers an area approximately 20 x 25 feet.
    No other plants like it in the area. Looks like something to be used for ground cover in a residential or commercial setting.
    Not knowing anything useful about the family groups, genus groups, scientific names of plants, etc., I've not done well in searching for information on this plant, only gotten more confused if it belongs to the firs, or spruces or yews, or none of the above, since I'm not convinced I've been able to fully match it to the descriptions I've found for any one of those.

    The portions of branches / stems which stand upright are 10 inches to 22-23 inches tall. The portions of branches in contact with the ground do put out fine roots into the ground. The branches I checked which remain mostly horizontal and form the outer edge, extend 48 - 54 inches outward from the area where they have put down their roots.

    Needles are less than half-inch long, smooth, solid green on one side, white stripe on the opposite side. The green side of the needle faces "inward", toward the main stem. The white-striped side faces "outward", toward the distal end of the stem on which it is located.
    In cross section, I'd guess they may be considered triangular..convex on the green side, slightly concave on the side with the white stripe...and having pointed tips. I am not sure if the base is considered a flatted attachment or a cupped attachment...it seems more flatted to my untrained observation, but unsure.
    Needles are attached individually to the branch and twig, and there are three evenly spaced around the circumference of the stem at each site...(I don't know for sure the correct way to phrase that...is that considered a whorl?).
    Newer growth needles are flexible with the pointed ends being only slightly stiff.
    Mature needles are a little less flexible, and their ends, not flexible and quite sharp.

    The only thing I could find that may be a fruit or cone or berry/pod, is the tiny structures seen in photo numbers 7 and 8...some brown (mature?) and some lighter green (immature, developing?) The camera I have is not engineered for macro nor good close-up, so it does not produce good detail of those tiny structures.

    Hopefully, this and the photos give enough information to assist.
     

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  2. Sulev

    Sulev Active Member

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    Last edited: Sep 15, 2019
  3. dustie

    dustie New Member

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    Thank you for the good information!
    The science and methodology of plant identification is so unknown to me.

    Not knowing enough about plant ID, and when information may be incorrect, I had discounted researching junipers based on a statement I read on one of the first sites I checked. It was stated that the needles of all junipers are arranged in flat, fern-like patterns, and are a scaled texture.

    I'll be on a search now for a more detailed map of where the prostrate variety is commonly found. It appears the location of the plant I pictured may possibly be on the very extreme eastern fringe of its usual range in that latitude in Oregon.

    Thank you.
     
  4. Sulev

    Sulev Active Member

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    Juniperus sect. Juniperus have needle-like leaves.
    There are 3 species with one stomatal band in this section:
    It is not so hard to rule out last two.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2019
  5. dustie

    dustie New Member

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    That part I understood, but the source I read (I don't recall the exact site it was that I was looking at right then) stated the needles of junipers do not attach individually to branches and stems, and they always develop to be scaly. So I relied on that and did not consider the plant to be one of the junipers.

    I know so little about plant ID, that I have no idea how much there is I will need to learn.
     
  6. Sulev

    Sulev Active Member

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    I understand, sources can sometimes be confusing. If you had checked the Wikipedia article about Junipers, then you probably identified it yourself as a juniper.
    Juniper - Wikipedia
     
  7. dustie

    dustie New Member

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    It was very interesting reading there.
    Thank you
     
  8. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    There are junipers collected in that area -- Oregon Flora Project | Atlas

    A quick way to tackle quite a few plants would be to pick up some field guides. As one example, Timber Press makes a couple for 1) wildflowers and 2) trees and shrubs of the PNW. Find a good bookstore to browse a few, and find one or two that you like.
     
  9. dustie

    dustie New Member

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    Thank you.
     

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