Thursday, June 30
Every field researcher’s dream is to have that one big find. For team A.D.D.E.R, (Anna, David, Dammy, Evan S. and Rachel) the find came in the form of a delicate flower along a well-kept fire road. Led by our fearless leader Julie, the team collected the unknown specimen.
“What could it be?” This question rested on everyone’s mind and the thought of discovering a mystery flower was enticing. So with our specimens in hand we headed back to the lodge to show Rusty and the rest of the team our find. At first Rusty was stumped, and this excited us even more! Rusty took on the challenge of finding out what the flower was and the next day he had his answer.
Team A.D.D.E.R had collected Collomia grandiflora, part of the Polemoniaceae family, and known to most as Grand Collomia, or the large-flowered mountain trumpet. The flower is a native to California, but has not been seen much in the area.
There are only two recent records of the Collomia grandiflora in the area. The most recent was found in 1983 on the other side of the mountain on the Pacific Crest Trail above Garner Valley. However, the last time Collomia grandiflora was collected on this side of the mountain was over 80 years ago, in 1926.
So we hadn’t found some amazing new flower, but what we found was just as important and still meant a lot to the A.D.D.E.Rs, as well as to the rest of the team. Who would have thought that something as small as a flower could be such a big discovery?