Many varieties grow in the Northern Hemisphere, about 300 species. The variegated leaves, and their conformation, make this one a good candidate to be Trifolium pretense, or commonly Red clover. We have placed them here in the pink gallery based on hue rather than name. Clover is an edible plant. The flowerheads, according to Wild Harvest by Terry Domico, make a good tea. This information is supported by WIKIPEDIA as well. The flowerheads specifically are said to produce a tasty and healthful drink. The plants have long made good fodder-plants and are loved for taste by livestock. They are nutritious as well, but not only for beasts in the fields. Clover is a survival food, being widespread and high in protein. They are admittedly hard to digest. It
is recommended to those stranded and depending on clover to tide you over until rescue (smiling) that the plants be crushed to become juicy, and boiled for 10 mintues prior to eating. If possible. If not, well..would you rather have a stomach ache or be dead. (more smiling). The name 'Red' clover is deceptive. Many pictures that you will see of Red clover shows the flowers looking more pink, than red. One good example is on WIKIPEDIA.
Plant location: seen in Tukwila Washington in early July 2007.Bloom period: Mid spring to late summer.
Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa), family was Asclepiadaceae (milkweed) but is now reclassed into the Dogbane family, Apocynaceae
This is quite an attention getting plant. The flowers are very large, growing on the plant in clusters of interesting looking balls. Up close and personal the centers of the flowers look like they contain 4 claws! Our specimens seemed to attract healthy populations of black ants. If you care for butterflies, then know that the caterpillars of Monarch's feed on this plant's foliage. The nectar is a bee attractor too. The sticky milky looking sap of the plants in this genus have some handy uses. Do you have warts? Apply the sap for several days, several times a day, and your wart will fall off. Good riddance! Native Americans, as well as early travelers from the late 1600's, used the nectar of the milkweeds as a sweetener! PLANTS FROM THE MILKWEED GENUS ARE POISONOUS TO ANIMALS, if they consume 1/10th of their body weight. WIKIPEDIA also says '...many natives of South America and Africa used arrows poisoned with these glycosides to fight and hunt more effectively. Milkweed is toxic.' End quote. The good news for humans is that the sap from milkweeds when used externally, is a natural remedy for Poison Ivy. Hmmm, it is poison, and fights poison. It can poison animals but be used as a sweetener. Interesting plant :)
Plant location: Near Brighton Colorado, July 3, 2008.Bloom
period: Early spring to midsummer.
Pussy Paws (Calyptridium umbellatum) family Portulacaceae (Purslane)
WIKIPEDIA offers this about this huge family of plants; 'Portulacaceae is a family of flowering plants, comprising about 20 genera with about 500 species, ranging from herbaceous plants to shrubs. The family has been recognised by most taxonomists, and is also known as the purslane family; it has a cosmopolitan distribution, with the highest diversity in semi-arid regions of the Southern Hemisphere in Africa, Australia, and South America, but with a few species also extending north into Arctic regions.' End quote. This was the first and only sighting of pussy paws that I have had the pleasure of making. This particular species was unfamiliar to me. It is said of this plant that the heavier flower heads often rest on the ground in a perfect ring around the foliage - ring-around-the-rosie, so to speak. We hope to see this species again in the future to obtain an improved plant view of the specimen.
Plant location: Naches Loop hike, Mt. Rainier Washington, Sept 8, 2007.Bloom period: July to September.
Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa), family was Asclepiadaceae (milkweed) but is now reclassed into the Dogbane family, Apocynaceae
We found this stage of the plants life cycle interesting AND beautiful! The spilling seeds and soft downy looking 'cotton' of the opened fruit of the showy milkweed. Lovely, isn't it? Plant location: The spilling seeds were sighted at the Ogden Nature Center in Utah on September 18, 2008. The fruit on the plant was taken at Big Dry Creek in Westminster Colorado on July 22, 2008. Quite a variance in time frames for the process to transpire. Bloom
period: Early spring to midsummer. The flowers were finished and the plant moved on to sowing it's seeds by mid September at this sighting.
Rosy pussytoes (Antennaria rosea), family Asteraceae (Aster/Sunflower)
There are only about 45 species in this genus, most of them native to North America. The name comes from the characteristic of the plant's stamens to 'project' from the flower base and appear like insect antenna. We will take the scientists word for that, we don't see it in these specimens. (smiles)
Plant locations: Cle Elum Washington, early June 2007, and in the current frames are photos from the newer sighting - Boulder County Open Space, Colorado on May 19, 2009.Bloom period: July to September.
These plants are classified in the family Orobanchaceae (following major rearrangements of the order Lamiales starting around 2001. This lovely color of paintbrush is captivating, it just seems to glow. Paintbrush can be found in many kinds of habitats; meadows, hillsides, roadsides, forest, tundra slopes, even alpine environments. There are over 200 species in the genus. Plant location: Mt Evans Colorado on July 20, 2008.Bloom
period: as with Wild Rose, June to August. Note the 3 veins on the foliage. This is an identifying charactaristic of rhexifolia.
Smoothstem fireweed, also known as glaucous willowherb (Epilobium glaberrimum), Onagraceae family
Tolerance of up to 10,000 feet in elevation.Plant location: We got this photograph in early July 2007 on a hike on Mt Rainier in Washington state.Bloom period: July and August
These flowers may be known for their less than pleasing aroma but they sure do put on a pretty show. The main pollinators are so consistant that the flower has been named for them - but we also noticed that ants were greatly attracted to the plants as well. Although the leaves and seeds are edible, the American Indians considered them an emergency food since the taste is not especially palatable. The plants are native to western North America and have become naturalized farther east as well. In southwestern America this species is used to make dye, as medicine, and for food. As part of the Caper family, the food association is understandable.
Capers are a delicious tangy ingredient in many dishes. Caper sauce is a popular dressing for fish dishes and in tartar sauce. This plant is amoung those collected on the Lewis and Clark expidition. The genus hosts about 170 species that can be found throughout the world in tropical and warm temperate zones. Plant location: Seen on Hwy 285 between Fairplay and Buena Vista Colorado - August 23, 2008. The habitat of these plants is foothill, montane, and plains. We saw them along the road in a sandy, somewhat dry type of soil.Bloom period: Mid to late summer.
This sweet looking little flower is known as a Stinky Bob!! -or- plain old Robert Geranium (Geranium robertianum), family Geraniaceae
When I next come across them I will thrust my nostrils against their lovely petals and put this to the test. Oddly this species is threatened in Indiana, endangered in Maryland, and of special concern in Rhode Island but in the state of Washington it is classed as a noxious weed. FunFacts: From Plants for a Future: Freshly picked leaves are rubbed on the body to repel mosquitoes. They impart their own peculiar odour and seem to repel deer and rabbits. A brown dye is obtained from the whole plant.
Geranium Family Factoid:Weber and Witmann's book Colorado Flora Eastern Slope has a fascinating discourse on the family's method of propagation: 'The geraniums have developed a remarkable method of planting their seeds. The gynoecium splits into 5 1-seeded units (mericarps), each attached to a split length of style that coils like a spring. Falling to the ground, the spring coils and uncoils with changes in atmospheric humidity. If the spring lies against a grass stem or other fixed object, it drills the sharp pointed mericarp, containing the seed, into the earth.' End quote.
Plant location: Seen in Portland Oregon, August 2007. Bobs arefound in the following United States: AK, CA, CT, DE, IL, IN, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, TN, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV.Bloom period: all through the summer months.
Nodding Onion -or- Lady's Leek (Allium cernuum), family Alliaceae (Onion)
These pretty bobbing flowers are distinct looking in their conformation. Their scent is consistant with the onion family. These plants are said to have been eaten as a medicinal cure for scurvy by nineteenth-century explorers. Per WIKIPEDIA is this information: 'It has an unsheathed slender conic bulb which gradually tapers directly into several keeled grass-like leaves (2-4mm wide). Each mature bulb bears a single flowering stem, which terminates in a downward nodding umbel of white or rose flowers. Nodding onion blooms in July or August. The flowers mature into spherical crested fruits which later split open to reveal the dark shiny seeds. This plant does not have bulblets.
This plant grows in dry woods, rock outcroppings, and prairies. It is native to North America from New York to British Columbia south to Virginia and Kentucky and south in the mountains.' End quote. Plant location: These photographs represent two sightings; The Hessie Trail to Lost Lake -and- Ouray County in the Box Canyon area. Mid August 2008. These flowers can be found from Mexico to Canada in habitats foothills, montane, and subalpine. The distribution in Colorado is quite broad according to the USDA plant database.Bloom period: July and August. Nodding Onions are perennials.
Yellow-staining Collomia (Collomia tinctoria), family Polemoniaceae (Phlox)
This plant according to the USDA plant database, and the book WILDFLOWERS OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST, is farther east in the state of Washington than this sighting suggests. Accordingly, this plant is on the move! The elevation range of this species is zero to 9000 feet. Plant location: seen outside of Cle Elum Washington in June 2007.Bloom
period: midsummer blooming annual.
Red-flowering currant -or- Blood Currant (Ribes sanguineum), family Grossulariaceae (Currant)
These very pretty deep pink flowers are pretenders! Currents are a tasty delight to the palate, yes? Not from this plant. They do produce berries, a dark blue-black, that are tasteless. Ha! Well, they must be forgiven, the flowers are very beautiful. This plant thrives in an elevation from sea level to about 7000 feet. In fact, the habitats where they can be found are quite varied. Open woods, forests, and rocky slopes have all been locations these plants are found. The species is native to North America, specifically the western coastal areas. The genus Ribes is comprised of about 150 species. All kidding aside, there are tasty members of Ribes; blackcurrent, redcurrent, whitecurrent, and gooseberries. Gooseberries actually are considered a separate genus by some scientists. Sigh, will they ever make up their minds? (Smiling). USES:
Per the website Plants For a Future: Fruit - raw or cooked. It does not have a wonderful flavour, but is tolerable raw. It can be harvested when still firm in August and when stored carefully will keep until November, by which time the flavour has improved slightly. The fruit is about 10mm in diameter. Native American Ethnobotany has the following records of uses by Native American tribes: Thompson: Berries sometimes dried and used in soups as flavoring. Berries eaten fresh. Mahuna: Berries eaten mainly to quench the thirst. Chehalis, Hoh, Klallam, Paiuye: Berries used as food. Quileute: Fruits stewed and used for food. Fruits canned and saved for future food use. Salish, Coast: Berries boiled, dried into rectangular cakes and used as a winter food.
See the other Ribes species <>
Sticky Currant <>
to be found at:
Plant location: Seen May 19, 2007 hiking Ingalls Creek Trail, Alpine Wilderness Area, Washington state. This species has a small distribution in the United States: CA , ID , OR , WA. See the distribution map from BONAP, here.Bloom period: late spring blooming perennial - March and April.
Hairy Woundwort -or- Hedgenettle -or- Betony (Stachys pilosa var. pilosa), family Lamiaceae (Mint)
Our specimen is a perennial herb. The mint family is infamous for it's medicinal properties. The genus Stachys hosts about 300 species with approximately 90 found in Colorado. Per WIKIPEDIA is this; 'The distribution of the genus covers Europe, Asia, Africa, Australasia and North America. Common names include Heal-all, self-heal, woundwort, betony, lamb's ears, and hedgenettle. Used as a medicine for centuries on just about every continent in the world, for a wide variety of ailments, Heal-All has been viewed by herbalists as something of a panacea. It does however have some medicinal uses that are constant. The plants most useful constituents are Betulinic acid, D-Camphor,
Delphinidin, Hyperoside, Manganese, Oleanolic acid, Rosmarinic acid, Rutin, Ursolic acid, and Tannins. The whole plant is medicinal as alterative, antibacterial, antipyretic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, diuretic, febrifuge, hypotensive, stomachic, styptic, tonic, vermifuge and vulnerary. A cold water infusion of the freshly chopped or dried and powdered leaves is a very tasty and refreshing beverage, weak infusion of the plant is an excellent medicinal eye wash for sties and pinkeye. It is taken internally as a medicinal tea in the treatment of fevers, diarrhoea, sore mouth and throat, internal bleeding, and weaknesses of the liver and heart.' End quote. How about some delicious mint tea?
Plant location: Our specimen was growing in a
sandy moist soil on the bank of a small creek outside of Red Feather Lakes Village, Colorado. Date sighted August 31, 2008. It is a plains to montane zone dweller.Bloom period: June to September.
Western Snowberry (Symphoricarpos occidentalis), family Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle)
These small flowers might be overlooked, nestled as they are, close to the stem of the plant and with large foliage about as well. A closer look reveals lovely luminous petals with long generous stamens and pistils. We found the pink tinge quite pronounced in our specimen and so we have included them in our pinks section. A warm thanks to a fellow wildflower enthusiast, Dr. Mary L. Dubler, for taking the time to identify our specimen! Look for her new site, Wildflowers of Colorado, on our home page. Although this plant is a shrub, it is a creeping plant. It might give the impression of individual plants. A native of much of North America, it indeed covers
much of the United States and Canada. There are only about 13 species in the genus. Known as a starvation food, there are a number of varied uses of the plant mentioned in the website Native American Ethnobotany. They are: 'Blackfoot Drug (Veterinary Aid) Decoction of berries given to horses for water retention - Dakota, Omaha, and Ponca tribes (Eye Medicine) Infusion of leaves used as wash for weak or inflamed eyes - Meskwaki Drug (Gynecological Aid) Infusion of root taken to cleanse the afterbirth and aid in convalescence - Blackfoot Food (Starvation Food) Fruits eaten in times of scarcity - Montana Indian Fiber (Brushes & Brooms) Shrubs made into brooms - Blackfoot Other (Fuel) Green twigs used to make a fire to blacken the surface of newly made pipes - Lakota Other (Toys & Games) Stems made into arrows used to shoot at dogs in play - Montana Indian Other (Hunting & Fishing Item) Slender twigs used for arrow shafts.'Plant location: On the way to Creedmore Lakes Colorado on August 31, 2008. Zones where this plant can be found are plains to montane according to Guennel. The habitats tend to be moist, along rivers, streams, and ravines. Our specimen was near a small creek.
Bloom period: June through August. Our specimen looked quite freshly blooming. There were no 'white' berries yet in evidence.
Another lovely example from the Geranium family, our specimen was still TINY. These flowers have many pollinator friends; bees, beetles, moths and butterflies. And if that is not enough to do the job, they are also self-fertile! Per WIKIPEDIA this is an herbaceous annual, and in warm climates a biennial member of the Geranium Family of flowering plants. It is native to the Mediterranean Basin and was introduced to North America in the eighteenth century, where it has since become invasive, particularly of the deserts and arid grasslands of the southwestern United States. The seeds of this annual are a species collected by various species of harvester ants.USES:
This plant has an edibility rating of three apples according to Plants for a Future There are a variety of uses of this plant from that source: The whole plant is astringent and haemostatic. It has been used in the treatment of uterine and other bleeding. The root and leaves have been eaten by nursing mothers to increase the flow of milk. Externally, the plant has been used as a wash on animal bites, skin infections etc. A poultice of the chewed root has been applied to sores and rashes. A tea made from the leaves is diaphoretic and diuretic. An infusion has been used in the treatment of typhoid fever. The leaves are soaked in bath water for the treatment of rheumatism. The seeds contain vitamin K, a poultice of them is applied to gouty typhus. Other Uses include as a dye; A green dye is obtained from the whole plant. It does not require a mordant. The dried plant powder has been mixed with watermelon seeds during storage and planting in order to prevent watermelon disease. QUITE a varied lineup of qualitites for this little guy. Another interesting use mentioned at the Native American Ethnobotany website is the that Navajo, and Kayenta tribes used the plants for wildcat, bobcat or mountain lion bites.
Plant location: The incredible Arches National Park was the home of our specimen. Date sighted March 13, 2009. We mentioned the TINY size of the plant. This slide shows just how small it was. From other photographs seen on the internet it appears that the plants may get a bit bigger. I think we stumbled on an especially small example :) Habitats are sandy dunes, grassland, arable land, waste areas, roadsides, and railway embankments. These plants are sometimes classed as invasive weeds. There are only 13 species in the genus.
Bloom period: One of the most generous bloom seasons we have ever heard of - pretty much all year long, at least in Arches. We were delighted to have seen ANY blooming flowers at all, goes to show what we know!