As already pointed out, the present woody flora of
the John Day Basin is inconsiderable, consisting of pines along the
higher ridges, occasional junipers along the lower ridges, and a scant
fringe of cottonwoods and willows along the streams. At best not more
than three families are represented. The fossil flora, on the other
hand, is a relatively rich one, and shows especially a great variety of
woody plants. Following is a complete list of families represented:
The ferns, judging from the remains, must have played
a very inconspicuous role in the Tertiary flora of this region. Two
families and only four species are represented, and these are confined
to a single horizon. They are also few in individuals, Lygodium being
the most abundant.
Associated in the same beds with the ferns are a
large number of individuals of aa Equisetum, all of which have been
referred to a single species (E. oregonense Newb.). The confused
character of the matrix gives no indication of the height to which this
species grew, but it must have been conspicuous, for it is not uncommon
to find stems nearly 3 cm. in diameter; the majority of them,
however, are considerably smaller. The only other Equisetum is a small,
more or less doubtful fragment from the Mascall beds, not enough of it
being preserved to convey a satisfactory idea of its size and
Ginkgo is represented in the highest plant-bearing
beds (Mascall) by a few fragments that are so poorly preserved as to
give very little idea of it beyond the fact that it appears to have been
larger leaved than the ordinary leaves of the living species.
The Pinaceae, although represented by four genera and
six or seven species, could hardly have been a very conspicuous element
in the Tertiary flora of the basin. The most abundant species was the
widely distributed Sequoia Langsdorfi, which occurs at five of
the localities. Associated in the beds at Bridge Creek are a few cones
of what Lesquereux has called Sequoia Heerii, that may possibly
belong to what has been identified as S. Langsdorfi, but if this
be so, the latter identification can hardly be correct.
The remaining conifers are all confined to the
Mascall beds. Of these, Sequoia angustifolia, Taxodium distichum
miocenaum, and what has been called Glyptostrobus Ungeri are
the most abundant. Taxodium is also represented by what, with little
question, are male aments. It is more than probable that they belong to
T. distichum miocenum. Thuites is represented by a mere fragment.
The Gramineae and Cyperaceae are each represented by a single form, both
of which are more or less doubtful.
To the Smilaceae is referred the single species
Smilax Wardii. It is very rare, as only one leaf has ever been
We come now to the deciduous-leaved types of
vegetation, and it requires but a glance at the list of families to show
that they predominate to a marked degree. They are represented not only
by numerous genera and species, but in the ease of some forms by a great
wealth of individuals. The deposits at Bridge Creek, many feet in
thickness, are filled with thousands of leaves of Betula, Alnus,
Quercus, etc., and the Mascall beds at Van Horn's ranch contain great
numbers of leaves of oaks, willows, and maples. We therefore seem
warranted in concluding that the Tertiary flora of the basin was
distinctly a hard-wood flora, not unlike in general appearance that
which characterizes much of the area east of the Mississippi River at
the present time. This fact is still further emphasized by the evident
close relationship between certain of the species found fossil in the
John Day Basin and those now living in the Eastern States. This will be
brought out more fully under the discussion of each family.
The Salicaceae are represented by both Populus and
Salix, but of the former genus only one species (P. Lindgreni),
represented by a single leaf, has thus far been found. This species was
first characterized from the Payette formation of Boise County, Idaho.
As I have already said, "Among living species this appears to approach
most closely to P. balsamifera candicans. It differs in being
much more obtuse, in having a more marked serrate border, and in the
stronger nervation. The relationship is, however, quite marked, the two
leaves being of the same type, but with strong specific
a Eighteenth Ann. Rept. U. S. Geol. Survey, Pt. III,
The genus Salix is represented by eleven forms, all
but one of which (S. Schimperi) are confined to the upper beds.
Several of the species included are represented by single and often more
or less doubtful specimens, while others are represented by numerous
individuals. Thus S. pseudo-argentea is very abundant. It closely
resembles the living S. argentea, whence its name. Salix
perplexa, to which is referred a dozen or more specimens, is very
similar in general appearance to certain forms of S. Bebbiana, a
species now widely distributed throughout the Rocky Mountain region. The
Myricaceae are represented by two species, both of which are described
as new. Of these, M. oregoniana is very closely related to M.
callicomfolia Lesq., a species very abundant at Elko station,
Nevada, and Florissant, Colorado. The other species, Myrica ?
personata, is wholly unlike anything previously described from the
John Day region, and may not belong to this genus.
The Juglandaceae are richly represented, both Juglans
and Hicoria being present, the former with eight forms and the latter
with three. The species are rather widely distributed, occurring in the
older, middle, and younger plant-bearing beds of the region. Perhaps the
most interesting form is Lesquereux's Juglans oregoniana, which
has long been supposed to have come from the Auriferous gravels of
California, but which is now known to have come from the Mascall beds at
Van Horn's ranch. Quite a number of additional specimens have been found
recently, and, with the exception of being slightly smaller, they agree
well with the type form. One of the specimens described by Lesquereux as
Rhus Bendirei has been referred to this, as also my J.
hesperia, from the Payette formation of Idaho.
Judging from the remains, Hicoria was rather rare,
for only a few specimens have been found.
The family Betulaceae, so far at least as regards
individual leaves, is the dominant family of the flora, it is
represented by Carpinus, Corylus, Betula, and Alnus, each, except
Corylus, with several well-marked species.
The Clarno formation, or the beds at Bridge Creek and
allied localities, seems to have witnessed the culmination of the
Betulaceae in the region, for, with the exception of two or three
doubtful forms, all the species are confined to it.
Carpinus is represented by numerous leaves, which are
referred to C. betuloides at Bridge Creek, while two more or less
questionable leaves from the Mascall beds are referred to the
well-known Miocene C. grandis.
Out of the vast number of leaves from Bridge Creek
only two have thus far been found which clearly belong to Corylus
MacQuarrii, and these are not to be distinguished from leaves of
this species figured by Heer from Alaska. There can be no doubt as to
the correctness of this identification.
Betula, as already pointed out, is the most
abundantly represented of any genus in the flora. B. heteromorpha
and B. heterodonta are by far the most abundant species. The
first mentioned was in part described by Newberry, under the name of
Populus polymorpha, from the resemblance to certain of the leaves
of the living P. alba, but with the great number of individuals
at my disposal I can not believe that they should be referred to
Populus, although they do somewhat resemble P. alba. Hardly to be
separated from this is Newberry's B. heterodonta, but in general
it has much larger leaves, with coarser-toothed margins, and a more
markedly inequilateral base. Many of the leaves of both species show
evidence of having been attacked by fungi, producing spots and punctures
so characteristic of numerous spot-producing fungi. As none of the
essential features of these fungi are preserved, no attempt has been
made to describe them.
Under the name of Betula Bendirei I have
ventured to describe a single leaf that, while evidently allied to B.
heteromorpha, differs in being nearly circular in shape, with an
equal base and regularly spaced secondaries.
Almost equally abundant was the species of Alnus
described by Lesquereux as A. carpinoides. It is contained in all
the collections from Bridge Creek, and has also been detected at several
other localities within the basin. From a fragment of a single large
leaf I have characterized a new species under the name of A.
macrodonta. It is broadly ovate, with abruptly truncate and
heart-shaped base and coarsely dentate margin.
To the Fagaceae are referred a single very doubtful
leaf of Fagus and no less than 17 species or forms of Quercus. The oaks,
although not quite so abundant in individuals as certain of the species
of Betula, Alnus, etc., above mentioned, are much more abundant in
species and in a few cases are nearly as numerous in individuals. The
oaks are divided sharply into two groups corresponding to the horizons
in which they occur. Thus 8 species are confined to the beds at Bridge
Creek and 7 species to the Mascall beds at Van Horn's ranch and
vicinity, and very few from either locality have been found beyond the
confines of the John Day Basin.
The oaks from Bridge Creek are small, nonlobed forms,
with entire or serrate margins. They are also in the main thick,
coriaceous-leaved species, evidently evergreen, and quite like the
Q. virens type. Those from Van Horn's ranch, on the other hand,
are all or nearly all lobed forms, some of them being very profoundly
lobed. They are evidently thinner in texture than the Bridge Creek
The most abundant form in the Mascall beds is Q.
pseudo-lyrata of Lesquereux. It is present in abundance in all
collections and is hardly to be distinguished from the living Q.
lyrata. It was divided up by Lesquereux into 5 varieties, but an
examination of more than 100 examples convinces me that, with one
exception, no satisfactory line can be drawn between them, and they have
been reduced to the typical form. The exception above noted is that of
Lesquereux's Q. pseudo-lyrata angustiloba. After examining more
than 25 more or less perfect examples, it became clear that this was
entitled to specific rank, and it has been called Q. Merriami,
the varietal name angustiloba being preoccupied by A. Braun's
Q. angustiloba. It is a very narrowly lanceolate form, quite
suggestive of certain leaves of Q. heterophylla, the so-called
A small but very perfectly preserved leaf from the
same beds has been called Q. duriuscula. This specimen is very
close indeed to Q. minor (Marsh.) Sargent, the well-known post or
iron oak of the Eastern United States.
Another distinctly modern type, represented by
several examples, is Q. ursina, which is undoubtedly related to
Q. nana (Marsh.) Sargent, the bear or scrub oak of the Eastern
The only entire-leaved oak in the Mascall beds is
Q. dayana, a very small-leaved species of the virens type.
It resembles various species, such, for example, as Q. simplex
Newb., Q. convexa Lesq., and Q. simulata Knowlton, but
appears to differ from them all.
The family Ulmaceae is represented by four species of
Ulmus, evenly divided between Bridge Creek and Van Horn's ranch, and a
single one of Planera. Of the two from Bridge Creek, U. speciosa
Newb., is the largest and finest, being from 10 to 13 cm. in length. It
is very suggestive of the living U. americana, and was called
U. pseudo-americana by Lesquereux, but his name is antedated by
that of Newberry. The other species, which I have called U.
Newberryi, has a much smaller and narrower leaf, ranging from 6 to
10 cm. in length, and less than 3 cm. in width. It was referred to U.
speciosa by Newberry, but seems distinct. Associated with these
leaves, but especially with U. speciosa, are a number of very
perfect examples of the winged fruits. They were placed with
speciosa by Newberry.
The two species from the Mascall beds are U.
plurinervia Unger, represented by a single leaf, and U.
californica Lesq., to which several small leaves are doubtfully
referred. It is clear that elms were not abundant in these beds.
Planera (P. Ungeri Ett.) is also represented
by a single example. The Morace were not abundant, being represented
by three species of Ficus and one of Artocarpus. The figs are all small
leaves, and are represented by few specimens, and they evidently played
an unimportant part in this flora. Artocarpus is unfortunately represented
by only two or three fragments, which were referred by Lesquereux
to Aralia pungens Lesq. and Myrica (Aralia) Lessigii Lesq.
As nearly as can be made out, they are the same as my A.
californica from the Auriferous gravels of California.
The Berberidace are represented by the very
distinct and still unique Berberis simplex of Newberry. It is
undoubtedly closely related to the living B. aquifolia, which is
so abundant in the region.
The Magnoliace are represented by three species,
two of which (M. Culveri and M. lanceolata) are found in
the lowest beds of the region, and one (M. Inglefieldi) in the
The Laurace are represented by three
speciesone of Laurus, in the Mascall beds, and two of Cinnamomum,
one of which (C. Dilleri Kn.) is found at Cherry Creek and the
other (C. Bendirei) in the Bridge Creek beds.
After much consideration it has seemed probable that
the family Hydrangeace is represented by the curious sterile flowers
which were first called Marsilea Bendirei by Ward and transferred
to Porana by Lesquereux. The evidence on which it is changed to
Hydrangea is fully set forth in the discussion of this species (and, p.
Liquidambar, representing the Hamamelidace, was
evidently an important group in this flora. Five forms have been
detected, several of which are represented by a considerable number of
specimens. They all come from the middle and upper plant-bearing beds of
the region. The large leaves from Bridge Creek are referred to L.
europum, although they approach quite closely in certain
specimens to L. californicum of Lesquereux. Under the name of
L. europum patulum I have characterized a form from the Mascall
beds with very broad three-lobed leaves. The identification of Unger's
L. protensum by Lesquereux is open to doubt. It rests upon a
single broken example, and may belong to Acer dimorphum Lesq. A
very peculiar thick-leaved form has been named L. pachyphyllum.
It is wholly unlike any of the other forms found in the region.
The Platanace formed an important family,
represented by five forms and a large number of examples. Of these P.
aspera Newb., is peculiar to the Bridge Creek beds, being a
medium-sized species with sharp upward-pointing lobes. The largest and
most abundant form is P. Condoni, originally described by
Newberry as a questionable Ficus. This is undoubtedly very closely
allied to Ward's P. basilobata, if, indeed, it is not actually
identical with that species. The main difference lies in the basal
lobes. In P. basilobata these are several times the size of those
in P. Condoni, and appear to be always deeply lobed, whereas they
are entire in the latter. Assuming that the evolutional tendency is to
get rid of these large stipular organs, as suggested in the living P.
occidentalis, the Bridge Creek form would represent a more recent
and highly developed stage than P. basilobata, a supposition
borne out by the relative ages of the beds in which they are found.
Another interesting form, unfortunately represented
by only a single example, was identified by Lesquereux as P. nobilis
? Newb. It is a leaf more than 25 cm. long and 23 cm. broad, with a
petiole 8 cm. long and some 7 mm. in thickness. The margin is not well
This may well be the P. nobilis of Newberry,
but additional material will be necessary to definitely establish the
fact. The well-known P. aceroides of Europe and this country was
also determined by Lesquereux from the Mascall beds, but it rests on two
examples, neither of which agrees entirely with the ordinary figures of
this species. Additional material is needed to settle the status of this
The Rosace are represented by two species of
Crataegus and two of Prunus, one of the latter being more or less open
to question. Crataegus flavescens Newberry, from Bridge
Creek, is a well-marked species. It is undoubtedly similar to what was
called C. flava Ait., but which has now been segregated into
several closely allied forms. Lesquereux's Myrica diversifolia is clearly
the same as C. flavescens and has been united with it. A form
quite similar to flavescens, but undoubtedly distinct, I have
called C. imparilis. It is a small seven-lobed leaf.
The form that I have named Prunus? Merriami
is a small ovate leaf with finely serrate margins, and in appearance
quite like some forms of the living P. virginiana, P. demissa,
etc. It also resembles some species of Cydonia, as C. japonica.
Closely related to P. Merriami, and possibly identical with it,
is what I have called P. tufacea. It is from the same beds, but
differs in a number of minor particulars, being elliptical or slightly
elliptical-obovate instead of ovate, and has finer, more regular, and
evidently sharper-pointed teeth.
The family Mimosace is represented by a single
pod, which was named Acacia oregoniana by Lesquereux.
The presence of the Caesalpinace in this flora is
open to doubt, as it depends solely on the problematical form referred
to Cassia by Newberry. Judging from the drawing alone, it would be
concluded at once that it represented a small pod, but a careful study
of the type specimen shows that this is not a fair interpretation. It
may be a small pod, but this is extremely doubtful, and even granting
this, the reference of it to Cassia is open to the gravest question.
The presence of the Simarubace rests on what
Lesquereux has identified as a species of Ailanthus. This consists of a
branch and a number of samaras, all preserved in the same piece of
matrix. In the first place, they have not been correctly described and
figured by Lesquereux, and beyond this remains the further question of
the correctness of their reference to Ailanthus.
The Anacardiace were but poorly represented, there
being only one species and a doubtful form referred to Rhus.
The Celastrace are represented by two species of
Celastrus, both from the Mascall beds.
Next to the Betulace and Fagace the Acerace
appear to have been the most important family in this flora. It is
represented by two genera, Acer, with eleven nominal forms, and Rulac
(Negundo), with one.
The maples appear to have been absent at the time the
lowest of the plant-bearing beds of the region were deposited; at least
no remains of them have been discovered. In the Clarno formation maples
are rare, a single species (A. Osmonti) having been found at
Bridge Creek and doubtful forms at the same place and near Clarnos
Ferry. Acer Osmonti is a fine species, very modern in appearance,
suggesting at once the living A. saccharum and small leaves of
A. macrophyllum, the common maple of the coast.
Maples were undoubtedly abundant at the time the
Mascall beds were laid down, for numerous leaves, fruits, and branches
are present. The most abundant of the species founded on the leaves is
Lesquereux's A. Bendirei, which was for a time supposed to be
the same as the European A. trilobatum productum (Al. Br.) Heer.
They are large, deeply lobed and toothed leaves. A. dimorphum
Lesq. is different entirely from the last, and its status is possibly
still open to more or less question. What I have called A.
Merriami is wholly unlike A. Bendirei, but may be a very
broad, coarsely toothed form of A. dimorphum. It is, however,
without the basal lobes so conspicuous in dimorphum.
Associated throughout the beds with the leaves are
numerous specimens of maple fruits. It is not possible to characterize
these fruits with entire satisfaction, but largely on the basis of size,
as well as other minute characters, I have ventured to give names to
these species: A. oregonianum, A. medianum, and A. minor.
It is possible that only two species of fruits are represented, but the
differences in size would seem to be greater than are found in any one
living species. In the same beds was found a single specimen of a maple
fruit which I have named Acer gigas. It is a long, narrow fruit,
9.5 cm. in length, and, so far as I know, is the largest fruit
of the kind thus far described.
Under the name of Rulac cratgifolium I have
described a compound leaf that is certainly very suggestive of the
living box elder. It is unfortunately not quite perfect, and its form
and other characters are made out with difficulty.
The Hippocastanace are represented by a single but
undoubted species of Æsculus, which, from its close approach to certain
living forms, I have called Æ. simulata It is clearly related to
Æ. octandra and Æ. glabra, both well-known species of
the Eastern United States.
The Sapindace are represented by four species of
Sapindus, but by a relatively small number of specimens. Under the name
of S. Merriami I have characterized a small species from Bridge
Creek. It seems closest to some of the smaller leaflets of S.
obtusifolius Lesq., but has smaller and thinner secondaries. The
other species are all found in the Mascall beds, and are each
represented by single specimens. This family was clearly not of great
The Rhamnace, although represented by two species,
are few in numbers and evidently played an unimportant role.
To the Tiliace are referred two species of Grewia,
one of which, G. crenata, is a well-known European Miocene
species. It is most abundant in the beds at Bridge Creek, but a few
examples have also been found in the Mascall beds at Van Horn's ranch.
The other form, G. auriculata Lesq., rests on the single type
specimen, no others having been obtained. It is possible that it is only
an abnormal leaf of G. crenata.
The family Araliace is represented by two named
forms, and a number so poorly preserved as to render specific
identification unsafe. Thus A. digitata Ward is found in the
lowest or Cherry Creek locality. In the same beds is another broken
specimen that was referred to Aralia notata by Lesquereux, but it
is too fragmentary to permit of a satisfactory specific determination.
The locality 3 miles above Clarnos Ferry has afforded two fragments,
evidently representing quite distinct species of Aralia, but they are
too poor to warrant specific naming. The Mascall beds afford a single
specimen that is referred with some doubt to A. Whitneyi. It is a
smaller leaf than is usual in this species.
The families Cornace and Ericace are represented
by a single species each, the first by Cornus ferox ? Unger and
the latter by Andromeda crassa Lesq.
The Ebenace are represented by two species of
Diospyros, D. alaskana Schimper, in the Cherry Creek deposits,
and D. elliptica, a new form from the Mascall beds. The latter
has the nervation of living American species, but is more obtuse at apex
than is usual in these leaves.
The Oleace, although represented by only two
species of Fraxinus, both from Bridge Creek, was of considerable
prominence, judging from the number of individuals present. Fraxinus
integrifolia Newb., is a very thick, coriaceous-leaved species.
Under the name of Phyllites there are a number of
peculiar forms. Some of these are well preserved and may later be
referred to more distinctive places; others are mere fragments too small
for adequate determination.
We now come to a consideration of the bearing of the
fossil flora on the age of the beds involved. I took occasion to say in
my report on the plants obtained by the expeditions of the University of
California, under the charge of Dr. Merriam: "In attempting to work out
the bearing of the plants above enumerated on the question of the age of
the beds it should not be overlooked that any conclusions drawn might be
quite different from what they would be were the whole flora of each of
the localities to be considered."a I added, however, that the
conclusions then expressed were "not likely to be greatly modified by
subsequent work." The truth of this prediction has been satisfactorily
confirmed, for after a full consideration of every known species or
form, from every known locality, no evidence was forthcoming to modify
the conclusions then expressed. In the following pages the evidence on
which these conclusions rest will be set forth more fully than the space
then at my disposal would permit.
a Univ. Cal., Bull. Dept. Geol. Vol. II, No. 9, p. 290.
A reference to the table given on pages 8992
shows that the bulk of the flora of the John Day Basin has come from
Cherry Creek, Bridge Creek, and Van Horn's ranch and vicinity. Very few
species are common to two or more of these localities. The species found
at the several other scattered localities, as will be shown later,
naturally fall under one or another of these three.
LOWER CLARNO BEDS.
The flora of Cherry Creek, to which may be added that
from Currant Creek, which is clearly the same horizon and only a short
distance away, comprises 22 forms, as follows:
Lygodium Kaulfusii Heer.
Asplenium subsimplex (Lesq.) Kn
Pteris pseudo-pinnaeformis Lesq.
*Lastrea Fischeri? Heer.
*Equisetum oregonense Newb.
*Salix Schimperi Lesq.
Juglans rugosa Lesq.
Juglans? Bendirei n. sp.
Hicoria? oregoniana n. sp.
Quercus furcinervis americana Kn.
Ficus tenuinervis Lesq.|
Magnolia lanceolata? Lesq.
Magnolia Culveri Kn.
Cinnamomum Dilleri Kn
*Rhamnus Cleburni var Lesq.
Aralia digitata Ward.
*Cornus ferox? Unger.
Diospyros alaskana Schimp.
*Phyllites wascoensis Lesq.
Of the forms above listed 2 are new to science, 3 are not named
specifically, while 6 (those marked with an asterisk) have not been
reported outside these beds, leaving 11 species, or exactly 50 per
cent, enjoying a distribution beyond the limits of the John Day Basin. Their
distribution is shown in the following table:
Table showing the extralimital distribution of the fossil plants from
the Cherry Creek locality.
||Denver.||Eocene in general.
||Fort Union.||Green River.
|Quercus furcinervis americana||X?||Plumas County, Cal.|
|Magnolia Culveri||X||Lamar flora.|
A study of this table brings out the fact that only
four of the eleven species have been found above the Fort Union beds. Of
these four, Quercus furcinervis americana is doubtfully reported
from the supposed Miocene of Plumas County, California, and Magnolia
lanceolata is doubtfully identified in the Cherry Creek beds.
Ficus tenuinervis was described originally from the Green River
beds of Wyoming, and Magnolia Culveri from the Lamar beds of the
Yellowstone National Park. The remainder have been found in the Laramie,
Denver, Fort Union, and the Eocene in general.
Of the species previously known but not found outside
the Cherry Creek beds, Rhamnus Cleburni var. is closely allied to
R. Cleburni of the Denver beds, and Cornus ferox is allied
to an Eocene species.
From these considerations it appears that the plants
of the Cherry Creek locality point to the lower Eocene age of the
UPPER CLARNO BEDS.
The flora of Bridge Creek comprises 45 forms, as
Sequoia Heerii Lesq.
Sequoia Langsdorfii (Brgt.) Heer.
Juglans Schimperi? Lesq.
Juglans acuminata? Al. Br.
Juglans cryptata n. sp.
Juglans, nut of.
Carpinus betuloides Unger.
Corylus MacQuarrii (Forbes) Heer.
Betula heteromorpha n. sp.
Betula heterodonta Newb.
Betula Bendirei n. sp.
Betula angustifolia Newb.
Alnus carpinoides Lesq.
Alnus serrulata fossilis Newb.
Alnus macrodonta n. sp.
Alnus sp., fruit of.
Alnus Kefersteinii (G&ounl;pp.) Unger.
Quercus paucidentata Newb.
Quercus drymeja Unger.
Quercus simplex Newb.
Quercus affinis (Newb.)
Quercus consimilis Newb.
Quercus Breweri Lesq.
Quercus oregoniana n. sp.
Ulmus speciosa Newb.|
Ulmus Newberryi n. sp.
Ficus planicostata Lesq.
Berberis simplex Newb.
Cinnamomum Bendirei n. sp.
Liquidambar europum Al. Br.
Platanus aspera Newb.
Platanus Condoni (Newb.)
Cratgus flavescens Newb.
Cassia? sp. Newb.
Ailanthus ovata Lesq.
Acer Osmonti n. sp.
Sapindus Merriami n. sp.
Rhamnus Eridani Unger.
Grewia crenata (Ung.) Heer.
Grewia auriculata Lesq.
Fraxinus integrifolia Newb.
Fraxinus denticulata? Heer.
Of the 45 forms here enumerated, 6 have not been
specifically named and 9 are new, leaving 30 previously known, of which
16 have not been found outside of these beds. It thus appears that about
30 per cent of the entire flora, or 14 species, has an outside
distribution. None of these are found in the Cherry Creek beds and only
2 in the Mascall beds. The distribution of these 14 species is shown in
the following table:
Table showing extralimital distribution of fossil
plants from Bridge Creek locality.
||Eocene in general.||Eocene of Alaska.
|Betula angustifolia||Payette formation.|
This table brings out the fact that the plants of
Bridge Creek, when found outside, belong to a higher horizon.
OneSequoia Langsdorfiihas been reported from the
Upper Cretaceous at Nanaimo, British Columbia, but it is doubtful if it
has been correctly determined. Otherwise, this species is found from the
Fort Union to the Miocene, Ficus planicostata is of rather
doubtful occurrence at Bridge Creek. It is a Laramie and Denver species.
Fraxinus denticulata is also a doubtful form at Bridge Creek; it
has been reported from Evanston, Wyoming, in beds supposed to be of
Laramie age, and in the Livingston beds of Montana, Juglans
Schimperi is found in the Denver beds at Golden, Colorado. The
remaining species are all found in or above the Fort Union beds. Two are
found in the Eocene in general, 5 in the so-called Eocene of Alaska, 5
in the Green River beds of Wyoming, and 2 (one of which is doubtful) in
The conclusion reached in my preliminary
paperthat these beds should be regarded as Upper Eocene in
ageappears to have been justified. The fact of this higher
distribution than the plants of Cherry Creek is further emphasized by a
review of the species related to the forms indigenous to these beds.
Thus, the species described as Juglans cryptata is closely
related to J. denticulata Lesq., from the Green River, Wyoming,
and other localities. Quercus consimilis is related to Q.
drymeja, reported in this country from the Green River. Quercus
simplex is related to Q. consimilis, differing merely by the
entire margin, while Q. Breweri is similarly closely related,
differing in being much longer and narrower. Ulmus speciosa is
suggestive of U. Braunii, found in this country in the Green
River beds at Florissant, Colorado. The species I have described as
U. Newberryi is close to U. speciosa,
being smaller and narrower, Platanus Condoni is clearly related
to P. basilobata of the Fort Union beds of Montana, being
evidently a more highly developed form than that species. Cratgus
flavescens, which, as already pointed out, is the same as
Lesquereux's Myrica diversifolia as identified by him at Bridge
Creek, is certainly very similar to the originals of this from
Florissant, Colorado. This list could be further extended if
There are a number of other localities discovered by
Dr. Merriam that are evidently the same age as Bridge Creek. None of
them have afforded a flora of more than three or four species. They are
ONE AND ONE-HALF MILES EAST OF CLARNOS FERRY.
From this locality the following species have been
Sequoia Langsdorfii (Brgt.) Heer.
Alnus carpinoides Lesq.
ONE-HALF MILE NORTHEAST OF FOSSIL.
This locality has yielded the following:
Sequoia Langsdorfii (Brgt.) Heer.
Myrica? personata n. sp.
Alnus carpinoides Lesq.
OFFICER'S RANCH, BUTLER BASIN.
The following species are found:
Quercus simplex Newb.
Quercus consimilis Newb.
Platanus Condoni (Newb.) Kn
These species, wherever previously known, are identical with those from
Bridge Creek, and the beds are referred to the same age.
VAN HORN'S RANCH AND VICINITY.
This flora is by far the richest thus far found in the John Day
Basin. Following is a list of the forms identified:
Sequoia Langsdorfii (Brgt.) Heer.
Sequoia angustifolia Lesq.
Glyptostrobus Ungeri Heer.
Taxodium distichum miocenum Heer.
Taxodium, male aments of.
Phragmites ningensis Al. Br.
*Smilax Wardii Lesq.
Populus Lindgreni Kn
*Salix Engelhardti Lesq.
Salix Raeana? Heer.
Salix varians Gopp.
Salix angusta Al. Br.
Salix amygdalfolia Lesq.
Salix pseudo-argentea n. sp.
Salix dayana n. sp.
Salix perplexa n. sp.
Salix mixta n. sp.
Myrica oregoniana n. sp.
Juglans oregoniana Lesq.
*Hicoria elaenoides (Ung.) Kn
Carpinus grandis? Ung.
Betula? dayana n. sp.
Alnus Kefersteinii? (Göpp.) Unger.
*Quercus pseudo-lyrata Lesq.
Quercus Merriami n. sp.
Quercus duriuscula n. sp.
Quercus ursina n. sp.
Quercus dayana n. sp.
*Quercus horniana Lesq.
Quercus? sp. Kn
Ulmus plurinervia Ung.
Ulmus californica? Lesq.
Planera Ungeri Ett.
*Ficus? oregoniana Lesq.
Artocarpus californica? Kn|
Magnolia lanceolata Lesq.
Magnolia Inglefieldi Heer.
Berberis? gigantea n. sp.
Laurus oregoniana n. sp.
*Hydrangea Bendirei (Ward) Kn
Liquidambar europum patulum n. var.
*Liquidambar protensum ? Ung.
Liquidambar pachyphyllum n. sp.
Platanus nobilis? Newb.
Platanus aceroides? (Göpp.) Heer.
Cratgus imparilis n. sp.
Prunus? Merriami n. sp.
Prunus tufacea n. sp.
*Acacia Oregoniana Lesq.
*Rhus Bendirei Lesq.
Rhus? sp. Lesq.
Celastrus dignatus n. sp.
Celastrus confluens n. sp.
Acer Bendirei Lesq.
*Acer dimorphum Lesq.
Acer Merriami n. sp.
Acer, branches of.
Acer oregonianum n. sp.
Acer medianum n. sp.
Acer minor n. sp.
Acer gigas n. sp.
Rulac cratgifolium n. sp.
Æsculus simulata n. sp.
Sapindus obtusifolius Lesq.
Sapindus angustifolius? Lesq.
Sapindus oregonianus n. sp.
Grewia crenata (Ung.) Heer.
*Andromeda crassa Lesq.
Diospyros elliptica n. sp.
Phyllites bifurcies n. sp.
Phyllites inexpectans n. sp.
Phyllites personatus n. sp.
The total number of forms represented is 80, of which
number 11 have not been specifically named, and 30 species and 1 variety
are described as new to science. The remainder, or 37 species, are those
previously known from these beds. Of these 37 species, 12 (those marked
with an asterisk in the preceding list) have not been found beyond the
limits of these beds, leaving 25 species which have an out side
distribution. This distribution is shown in the following table:
Table showing extralimital distribution of fossil
plants from Van Horn's ranch and vicinity.
||Eocene in general.||Green River.
||Eocene of Alaska.||Miocene.
|Sequoia Langsdorfii||X||X||X||X||X||Uper Cretaceous|
|Taxodium distichum miocenum||X||X||X|
|Phragmites ningensis||Laramie to Pliocene.|
|Salix angusta||Whole Tertiary.|
|Magnolia Inglefieldi||X?||Lassen County, Cal.|
|Platanus aceroides?||Laramie to Miocene.|
|Grewia crenata||X?||X||Bridge Creek.|
In my report on the collection of plants from Van
Horn's rancha and vicinity obtained by Dr. Merriam I made the following
statement: "The flora of the Van Horn ranch finds its greatest
affinity with that of the Auriferous gravels and with allied floras of
California, and is to be regarded as upper Miocene in age." Since
writing this I have brought out the fact, already set forth, that
certain of the species most relied upon in making this correlation, such
as Quercus pseudo-lyrata, Juglans oregoniana, etc., that were
supposed to have come from the Auriferous gravels, are in reality
confined to the Van Horn's ranch locality. This correlation therefore
fails, and the age of the Van Horn's ranch material must he fixed in
a Univ. Cal., Bull. Dept. Geol., Vol. II, No. 9, p. 309.
The table on the preceding page shows at a glance
that the geologic horizons of those species found outside these beds are
decidedly higher than those of either of the floras previously
considered. Thus, 17 species out of 25 are found in the Miocene. The
oldest beds represented, at least by species having any particular
value for fixing the age, is the Fort Union, which contains 5 or 6 of
the species listed. Sequoia Langsdorfii extends throughout the
entire Tertiary, and possibly even into the Upper Cretaceous.
Phragmites ningensis extends from the Laramie to the Pliocene,
but it is at best a doubtful organism, hard to identify satisfactorily.
Salix angusta is another species ranging throughout the Tertiary,
but it is simply a narrow-leaved willow that may or may not be the same
form at all points where it has been reported. Seven of the species
enumerated, 2 of which are doubtful, are found in the Green River beds,
and 6, one of which is open to question, have been found in the Eocene
in general. Seven species are found in the so-called Eocene of Alaska,
which was, until recently, regarded as of Lower Miocene age.
If dependence were placed exclusively on the
distribution of the above-mentioned forms in fixing the age of these
beds, the tendency would be to regard them as not younger than Lower
Miocene, or even possibly as old as the Upper Eocene, but when we take
into account the affinities and relationships of the forty or more named
species that are confined to these beds, the preponderance of evidence
would seem to relegate them to an age as young as Upper Miocene. Thus
the species of Salix are closely allied to various living species, such
as S. argentea, etc. The species of Quercus are distinctly
modern. Quercus pseudo-lyrata is hardly to be distinguished from
Q. lyrata; Q. Merriami is also near Q. lyrata; Q.
duriuscula is very close to Q. minor, and Q. ursina to
the living Q. nana. The form referred to Artocarpus
californica, if correctly identified, is close to the living A.
incisa; Hydrangea Bendirei is closely related to several living
species; and the species of Liquidambar are not far from L.
Styraciflua. The two species referred to Prunus are close to the
living P. demissa, P. virginiana, etc. The maples are very modern
in appearance, being related to A. saccharum, A.
macrophyllum, etc., and the box elder is not far from the living
species. The species described as Æsculus simulata is similar to
Æ. octandra and Æ. glabra.
Taking all lines of evidence into account, it seems
warranted to refer these beds to the Upper Miocene.