2015 North Idaho Expedition
Few Arboretum explorers have botanized in Idaho. As a result, Gem State flora are underrepresented in the permanent collections. The botanically rich counties of North Idaho were targeted to increase The Aboretum’s holdings of western taxa as well as to introduce new germplasm from inland populations.
Between August 24 and September 4, seed was collected by Arnold Arboretum Manager of Plant Records, Kyle Port (trip leader) who was joined by Larry Hufford, Washington State University (WSU); Paul Warnick, University of Idaho Arboretum & Botanical Garden; Dave Port, Harvest House (retired); Steve Ullrich, WSU (retired) and Master Naturalist. Moreover, cuttings of four willow species (Salix exigua, S. lucida ssp. caudata, S. sitchensis, S. scouleriana) along with twelve seedlings or divisions (Abies grandis, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, Chimaphila menziesii, Cornus canadensis [n=2], Juniperus communis, Larix occidentalis [n=2], Linnaea borealis, Mahonia repens, Paxistima myrsinites, Thuja plicata) were dug. A total of sixty collections from forty-two species were catalogued. Of these, thirty species are new to the Arboretum’s living collections and ninety-five percent are from localities previously unexplored by staff.
A Forest Products Free Use Permit (FS-2400-008) was obtained from the United States Forest Service to collect native flora, including nine priority target taxa (Acer glabrum, Larix lyallii, Philadelphus lewisii, Pinus albicaulis, P. contorta, Picea engelmanii, Taxus brevifolia, Tsuga heterophylla, T. mertensiana), on Federal Lands. Seed production across most species was adequate for small lot collections, however Pinus albicaulis and Tsuga mertensiana remained uncollected due to either lack of cone development or fire closures.
Wildfires prevented access to three collection areas (Scotchman Peaks, Elk City, Freezeout Mountain) however our partners at the United States Forest Service offered alternative sites within the Kaniksu and St. Joe National Forests. Planned visits to Priest Lake State Forest, Farragut State Park, Pittsburgh Saddle (Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest), and Paradise Ridge were unaffected by wildfire road closures.
Considerable thanks are extended to the Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee who has allowed The Arboretum to grow Philadelphus lewisii and Ceanothus sanguineus collected on tribal lands.