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Wildlife and Other Sightings: Mousetail Ivesia & Snowplant

July 15, 2012 Posted by: AH - Mather District Interpretive Ranger

Mousetail Ivesia
Ivesia santolinoides
Mousetail Ivesia in bloom  Mousetail Ivesia Leaves
July 15, 2012
North Dome

Mousetail Ivesia is in full bloom on North Dome. A member of the rose family, its common name relates to its narrow, velvety leaves which resemble mouse tails. Its tiny white blossoms balance atop thin, branching, almost-naked stems and today were shaking in the strong wind that tried to steal my hat. These easy-to-miss plants are part of the unique flora associated with the gravelly tops of Yosemite's granite domes. Please be careful where you step out in these special places!

Sarcodes sanguinea
Snowplant  Close-up image of Snowplant

July 15, 2012
Trail to North Dome from Porcupine Creek Trailhead

The mostly-dark forest floor of the first part of the trail to North Dome from the Porcupine Creek parking area is dominated by fallen trees, branches, rotting red fir logs, and stumps in various shades of brown and gray.  All the more striking is this snowplant emerging from a seemingly monotone background of duff. With no chlorophyll at all to do normal plant-like things, it is probably getting its energy to flower (and eventually fruit) through a network of fungi in the soil that are themselves connected to the roots of nearby trees. This bright-red flowering plant is a strange little outgrowth of the forest internet! 


1 Comments Comments Icon

  1. Jenna - Portland, Oregon
    August 06, 2012 at 05:08

    Interesting blog! My husband and I first encountered snow plant on our hike to North Dome a couple of years ago and were so perplexed by its bright red color! Now it's one of our favorite plants to find in the high country in the early summer.


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Half Dome Permit

Hiking to Half Dome? Permits are now required seven days per week when the cables are up (typically late May through mid October, conditions permitting). More...