Arctostaphylos pringlei

Bug Springs Trail and Peppersauce Canyon, Catalina Mts.

Hiked a little of Bug Springs Trail which doesn’t go too Bug Springs, you can see it down below from the trial. This trail is a mountain bike path and the bike bike tires smooths it out making it slippery for walkers and wider than it should be. Also, a bike may come barreling down the path at any minute. Many new flowers and the A. pungens were in bloom. Saw no pollinators but  a single fresh hairstreak hiding among the leaves of one plant. Nice transect for seeing the transition form A. pungens to A. pringlei. Even saw an A. pringlei with a few blooms on it. This means that, although rare, it is possible for the two plants to bloom simultaneously. Also saw an A. pringlei plant with a distinct color difference from another. This is a great trail to further study these plants.

Peppersauce canyon is on the north slope of the Catalina Mts. and a jeep trail goes up the canyon where it eventually links with the Arizona Trail. There is A. pungens growing on the road to the canyon just north of the town of Oracle in an oak woodland. After that the plants disappear only to appear again in Peppersauce Canyon just above the campground. Went a few miles up the jeep trail to near a small summit, saw no A. pringlei or Arbutus arizonica but I saw more more variation of A. pungens than I’ve seen before. This included pure white and very pink flowers, plants that had a visible yellow-orange cast to them and plants that were much larger and tree-like. I only saw one species, Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon) nectaring on the plants.

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