This young Coulter Pine is wedged in between two Chamise chaparral plants near Ranchita California. These chaparral plants have extremely deep soil holding roots and can extract water from deeper soil layers and redistribute the moisture through the fungal grid network underground to sustain the young trees until they can manage on their own. In time the Chamise itself will yield to the woodland as opposed to the unfair reputation of chocking tree planting programs for which they are mechanically and chemically eradicated before a restoration project proceeds.
These next photos are a gallery of examples taken from the Burnt Valley Rd area of Anza CA and Hwy 371 traveling north from the eastern Burnt Valley Rd Jct and heading northeastwards towards Paradise Corners near Garner Valley. My main reason for taking these shots if you examine them carefully is that these slopes are all South and West facing and temps in summer here are extreme with drying winds. However, amazingly over the years, these particular Chamise (Greasewood) Adenostoma fasciculatum have acted as Nurse Plants to countless Parry Pinyon (Pinus quadrafolia). These Pinyons would not have made the transition from pinyon nut germination to young decade old sapling had it not been for Greasewood.
|Photo Credit: Mine|
This is another close up of the steep southern face of the hills in late afternoon. Had this been the right time of year and during a wetter rainy season, the contrasting background creamy white blooms of the Chamise would have allowed the bluegreen colour of the Parry Pinyon to stand out. Younger smaller trees would have been more identifiable. The planter of the Pinyon nuts of course is the Scrub Jay. The large nut itself is incapable of finding a spot and burying itself a couple inches under the dander of any Nurse plant.
|Photo Credit Mine|
This is another close up of bigger trees and smaller ones in between. The location is steep south facing slope taken in late afternoon with Sun to the left of the photo. Unfortunately this was taken at the wrong time of the year. Had this been a very wet season, the bluegreen of the Parry Pinyon (Pinus quadrafolia) would have contrasted nicely with the creamy white blooms of the Chamise and then every tree (including and especially the smaller ones) would have stood out.
|Photo Credit: Mine|
This is the same scene of the Baldy Mountain stream drainage which no longer flows and in which I wrote a post of it's history a couple days ago here: Cal-Trans Diversion of Baldy Mountain Creek Shut Down One Ecosystem and Destroyed Another Notice the Chamise and the chaparral wild Honeysuckle for which that plant was as abundant as the Greasewood and was itself supported by the Greasewood as a lattice and no doubt hydration mechanism. Now look over across the Cold Water or Dry Creek Valley at the north side with it's steep south facing slopes. the predominant chaparral plant is the infamous Greasewood. This is the major foundation plant all around the foothills of the San Jacinto Mountains.
Update June 8, 2014
Relationship found between Chamise (Adenostoma fasciculatum) & Pisolithus/Rhizopogon symbiotic relationship during periods of excessive rainfall years.
The above reference has major implications of how Chamise can be utilized as an important tool for forest rebuilding as opposed to demonizing the chaparral plant and stripping it off the surface of the soil imagining it to be competitive and invasive within it's own natural range. The later is an absurd and completely asinine belief based on a flawed worldview of survival of the fittest. The reality is they both mutually cooperate for the survival of each other.