see also Habitats
Always moist and usually wet in the spring. You'll find this in
areas of shallow soils where the snow melt will accumulate in the
Sierras, and Siskiyou Mt's, Transverse range, and occasionally the
highest spots of the coast ranges. At lower elevations this moves into
the grassland mode because it will dry out. This community can see
frost at anytime, is a desert 9 months of winter, and a near swamp in
Mosquitoes, Frogs, tons of butterflies, Flycatchers, Gophers,
Meadowlark, Meadow Mouse (lots of small things. Large animals, like
humans, will sink into the mud. It looks solid till you go out there...)
(Rudbeckia spp.),Frog Flower Arnica
(Juncus spp.), Sedge (Carex
spp.), Corm-Lily (Veratrum californicum) Goldenrod
(Solidago spp), Willow,
Soil and climate notes:
Commonly hard pan or rock under 1-10 ft. of acidic
organic soil. We do not have true peat bogs but some of these are
close. (I walked across one time to photograph a Rhododendron in flower
and dropped through the crust to my waist. The crust appeared dry and
solid.) Other times the area can be a mud hole in spring after the snow
melts, followed by a massive flower show.
How to create a mountain meadow in your garden!
It is fairly easy to simulate a mountain meadow in your garden.
Most of the plant species that occur in a mountain meadow can tolerate
garden water as well as fertility. This is also one of the few
California native plant communities that does not prefer mulch. One of
the best places to put mountain meadow species is around your lawn
edges, in sunny places. In this location you may need to watch out for
Mountain Meadows are a plant community found within coniferous
forests throughout California. It is very similar to a seasonal marsh.
Mountain Meadows are covered by snow in the winter and are abuzz with
life in spring. Many forms of wildlife use and require this type of
habitat. The surrounding forest provides cover for birds that use the
meadow as a source of insects or seeds.
A Mountain Meadow is formed when an obstacle ( a tree or a road
embankment for example) slows water flow from a creek or normal
drainage area ( kind of like an immature bog). This allows water to
build up behind it. The area is too wet for the conifers to survive.
This area behind the barrier is fairly flat to begin with. The leaf
litter, or duff, mixed with some soil, of the coniferous forest, floats
to the surface. This layer supports, and is filled with herbaceous
herbs that form a solid (looking) surface. However, the ground is not
firm, and under this layer of duff and herbs is standing or slow
-moving water. Because this layer is so thin, and is basically floating
on water, it can be easily torn apart and damaged, by people or animals
walking on it. Cattle or hikers, curious about what is out there, tear
up this fragile layer supporting plant and animal life. When this
happens, many years go by, before the layer can grow together again and
form a plant community. Another form of a mountain meadow is where the
snow melt drainage is poor, as in low areas, and trees can't survive
and you have a high elevation freshwater marsh.
You want to see butterflies? Drive for four hours up into the
meadows in July and August or plant some butterfly
list of California native plants that grow in the Mountain Meadow plant