Before leaving this subject it may be of interest to
give a short account of this flora as it has been recorded at several
localities beyond the limits of the John Day Basin. This is especially
desirable since we now have for the first time a definite knowledge of
the geological sequence of the plant-bearing beds in the basin. Up to
the date of the publication of Dr. Merriam's paper on the geology of the
basin our knowledge of the interrelations of the plant beds has been in
a much confused state. This confusion is in large measure due to the
fact that no definite localities were given by Lesquereux, they being
simply recorded as "John Day Valley, Oregon," and so it came to be
supposed that all species from this area were of the same age. This
confusion was helped along by Newberry, who placed Cherry Creek, Currant
Creek, and Bridge Creek in the same horizon, which he referred to the
Miocene. In his latest publication on the subject (Proc. U. S. Nat.
Mus., Vol. XI, pp. 1324) Lesquereux referred the beds at Cherry
Creek to the Laramie and the Van Horn's ranch deposits to the Miocene,
but he made no attempt to give more definite localities for the forms
mentioned in his earlier reports. It was possible to settle the exact
locality of these species only by a careful study of the types, which
are the property of the University of California. This investigation, as
already set forth, has been made, and the results are incorporated in
the foregoing pages. But the confused condition of our knowledge of this
flora has made its impress on determinations of the plants whenever they
have been found beyond the limits of the John Day Basin. These outside
floras will be passed in review and the attempt will be made to adjust
them to accord with our present fuller knowledge of the type
So far as I now know, the first recognition of the
flora of the John Day Basin beyond the original limits was made by
myself in a "Report on fossil plants from near Ellensburg, Washington,"
which was published in 1893 as an appendix to Bulletin 108 of the United
States Geological Survey, by Prof I. C. Russell, entitled "A Geological
Reconnoissance in Central Washington." Ten species were enumerated in
this collection as follows:
Salix varians Göpp.
Populus glandulifera Heer.
Populus Russelli Kn
Ulmus californica Lesq.
Ulmus pseudo-fulva Lesq.|
Platanus dissecta Lesq.
Platanus aceroides? (Göpp.) Heer.
Paliurus colombi Heer.
Magnolia lanceolata Lesq.
Some of these forms were recognized by Lesquereux as
occurring at Van Horn's ranch, although they have not all been admitted
in the present paper. Populus glandulifera was based on a single
example, which I have considered as too indefinite to be entitled to
recognition, and Paliurus colombi has been ref erred to Grewia
crenata. The examples representing these species at Ellensburg are
more numerous and better preserved, and are probably correctly
determined, Salix varians, which is represented at Van Horn's
ranch by a very few examples, is extremely abundant at Ellensburg, and I
have also recognized in this material one of the new species of Salix
(S. pseudo-argentea) from the Mascall beds. A number of the
Ellensburg species are also common to the Auriferous gravels of
As I pointed out in the report on the Ellensburg
material, there can be no doubt that it is of the same age as that at
Van Horn's ranch, a condition further emphasized by the similarity in
the matrix, that from both localities being a white, soft, fine-grained
In 1892 Mr. J. S. Diller made a small collection of
fossil plants at a point 6 miles southeast of Ellensburg, Washington,
that contains, among other species, some well-preserved examples of
Platanus dissecta. The matrix is also similar to that at
Ellensburg and Van Horn's ranch, and the age of the beds is undoubtedly
In 1898 I published a reporta on the Fossil Plants of
the Payette Formation, The name Payette formation was given by Mr.
Waldemar Lindgren to a series of lake beds along the Snake River, in
western Idaho. The flora here enumerated embraced 32 forms, of which
number 17 were described as new and 5 were not specifically named,
leaving, as then known, only 10 species having an outside distribution,
On page 736 of this report I gave a table showing the extralimital
distribution of these 10 species. On referring to this table it will he
seen that 5 of these species are found only in the beds at Bridge Creek,
and to this list I am now able to add another species (Sequoia
angustifolia), thus making 6 of the 10 species common to these two
localities. A number of forms that I described as new are undoubtedly
related to Bridge Creek species. Thus Quercus simulata is related
to Q. simplex, and Q. idahoensis and Q. payettensis
are both more or less closely related to Q. consimilis. Two
species (Juglans hesperia, which I have now referred to J.
oregoniana Lesq., and Populus Lindgreni) described as new in
the Payette formation, have been detected in the Mascall beds at Van
a Eighteenth Ann. Rept. U.S. Geol. Survey, Pt. III, pp.
721-744; Pls. XCIX-CII.
In this report the Payette formation was referred to
the Upper Miocene, but I was misled by the knowledge then current
regarding the position of the Bridge Creek beds, as I have already
pointed out, and it is now necessary to change that reference. The flora
of the Payette formation undoubtedly finds its greatest affinity with
that at Bridge Creek, a fact recognized all along, and, like it, is now
referred to the Upper Eocene. It may be noted, though the fact
is perhaps not of great importance, that the matrix in which the plants
of the Payette formation are preserved is similar to that at Bridge
In 1900 I published a short paper on the Fossil
Plants associated with the Lavas of the Cascade Range,a which
accompanied a paper by Mr. J. S. Diller, on The Bohemia Mining Region of
Western Oregon, with notes on the Blue River Mining Region and on the
Structure and Age of the Cascade Range. It was with the latter portion
of Mr. Diller's paper that my own had especial connection. This paper
was based on small collections that had been made by Mr. Diller and
others. Six localities were represented, as follows: (1) Left bank of
the Columbia River, near the mouth of Moffats Creek; (2) Comstock,
Douglas County; (3) 1 mile east of Murphys Springs, south east of
Ashland; (4) Coal Creek, Lane County; (5) 5 miles directly north of
Ashland; and (6) 3 miles southeast of Ashland. The entire flora
comprised only 28 forms, of which 10 were described as new to science
and 7 were not named specifically, leaving but 11 species with
previously known distribution. No locality was represented by more than
10 forms and most of them by from 2 to 5 forms.
a Twentieth Ann. Rept., U.S. Geol. Survey, Pt. III, pp. 37-64;
The species composing this flora were compared with
those from the John Day Basin and the Auriferous gravels of California,
and were referred to the Miocene. In the light of our present knowledge
of the type section in the John Day Basin, certain modifications of this
reference seem necessary. I hesitate, however, to make radical changes
in my former determination without additional material. When taken as a
unit this flora is undoubtedly similar to that of the John Day Basin,
considered as a whole, but when an attempt is made to relegate the
species from individual localities to one of the three horizons now
recognized in the basin, the meagerness of the material becomes very
apparent. With the exception of the first of the localities to be
mentioned, the following tentative classification may be made: The
locality On the Columbia River near the mouth of Moffats Creek contains
Acer Bendirei and a doubtful leaf of Populus Zaddachi. The
first of these species is so characteristic that I have little or no
hesitation in referring it to the same age as the Van Horn's ranch
material, namely, Upper Miocene. The localities 5 miles north of
Ashland and 3 miles southeast of Ashland seem to be more closely allied to
Bridge Creek and are probably to be regarded as Upper Eocene in age.
Murphys Springs is also probably the same in age as Bridge Creek, while
Coal Creek, in Lane County, and Comstock, in Douglas County, seem likely
to be older Eocene than the Bridge Creek beds. But I wish to emphasize
the fact that these are purely tentative views, and we must depend upon
fuller collections to settle the points at issue.
By the kindness of Dr. Arthur Hollick I have been
enabled to examine a number of unpublished plates of fossil plants by
the late Dr. Newberry, on which are depicted several species from the
so-called Dalles group, at the Dalles of the Columbia. The matrix, I am
informed by Dr. Hollick, is a whitish, very coarse-grained volcanic ash,
identical in appearance with that bearing fossil plants at Kelly Hollow,
Wenas Valley, near Ellensburg, Washington. These plates were not
published by Dr. Newberry and simply bear provisional names penciled on
the margins of the plates. These species are represented as follows:
Acacia, or Cassia sp.A small,
even-pinnate compound leaf of numerous small oblong leaflets. Nothing
similar has been thus far found in the John Day Basin.
"Myrica diversifolia Lesq."Two figures
of this form are shown. They appear to be the same as Crataegus
flavescens Newb., from Bridge Creek.
"Ulmus sp."Two small, coarsely toothed
leaves with well-marked secondaries ending in the marginal teeth.
Judging from the drawings alone I should incline to refer these leaves
to a small form of Carpinus grandis Unger, very similar to some
forms found at Bridge Creek, and not to Ulmus. They are wholly unlike
the common elm leaves that are abundant at this latter locality.
With only these data available I should incline to
regard the locality affording them as referable to the same age as the
Bridge Creek beds, viz, Upper Clarno.
From the facts here adduced it seems beyond dispute
that the conditions which prevailed in the John Day Basin during
Tertiary times were much more far reaching than the mere local limits of
the basin; in other words, that the formations there recognized extended
as far north as central Washington, east into northwestern Idaho, and
westward over much of western Oregon.