Fringed Grass-of-Parnassus (Parnassia fimbriata), family Saxifragaceae (Saxifrage)
This busy little beaver certainly has a lot going on appearance wise, eh? Per WIKIPEDIA: 'Grass of Parnassus is the English name for the genus Parnassia, also known as Bog-stars. Parnassia is considered by many authors the only genus in the family Parnassiaceae, while others also include the small genus Lepuropetalon. The plants occur in arctic and alpine habitats, as well as in dune systems and bogs, swamps, moist woods, and across the Northern Hemisphere. This plant is actually, not a grass, but a flower. The stock of the plant can reach up to 8 inches, the leaves up to 4 inches and the petals can be up to 1.4 inches wide. The
flower has 5 white petals, each with light green vain-like lines on them. In the center, are five three-pronged sterile stamens, each tipped with shiny, drop-like, false nectarines, which (along with the green lines) seem to lead flies and bees to the nectar in the very center of the flower.' End quote.
Crownleaf Evening Primrose (Oenothera coronopifolia), family Onagraceae (Evening Primrose)
Another pretty species from the evening primrose family. The genus hosts about 125 species. They are native to both South and North America. Per WIKIPEDIA is this on the reproductive habaits of the genus: 'One of the most distinctive features of the flower is the stigma with four branches, forming an X shape. Pollination is by Lepidoptera (moths) and bees; like many members of the Onagraceae, however, the pollen grains are loosely held together by viscin threads (see photo below), meaning that only bees that are morphologically specialized to gather this pollen can effectively pollinate the flowers (it cannot be held effectively in a typical bee scopa). Furthermore,
the flowers are open at a time when most bee species are inactive, so the bees which visit Oenothera are also compelled to be vespertine temporal specialists. The seeds ripen from late summer to fall.' End quote. USES:
A number of uses by the Navajo and Ramah tribes are recorded at the fine website Native American Ethnobotany about this species. Dried leaves added to improve the flavor of wild tobacco. Cold infusion of leaves taken for stomach ache. Poultice of plant or root used only for large swellings, a "life medicine." Poultice of powdered flower and saliva applied at night to swellings.
More photos are here.Plant location: Pawnee Butte Colorado, a wonderful hike. The date was June 4,
2009. This species is found only in the following United States: AZ, CO, ID, KS, NE, NM, SD, UT, WY. It's growth zones are foothills and montane.Bloom season: May through July.
Grass-leaf starwort (Stellaria graminea), family Caryophyllaceae (Pink)
The distinctive word for this beautifully formed flower is TINY. The photographs were quite tricky to get, leave it to Mark to capture their beauty so nicely. This is a plant that spreads and forms mats with the miniscule litt,le flowers as a highlight within the fresh looking green. Get out your magnifying glass to fully appreciate them. There are between 90 to 120 species in this genus, including Common Chickweed.
Plant location: This plant was photographed in the area of Mt Rainier,
slightly off the mountain on the Sunrise side. The date was July 7, 2007.Bloom season: This perennial blooms all spring and summer.
Richardson's Geranium (Geranium richardsonii), family Geraniaceae (Geranium)
See more photos here. This pretty white flower with purple lines was a treat to see late in the 2009 wildflower season. WIKIPEDIA has this on the species: 'Geranium richardsonii is a species of geranium known by the common name Richardson's geranium. It is native to western North America from Alaska to New Mexico, where it can be found in a number of habitats, especially mountains and forests. This is a perennial herb varying in maximum height from 20 to 80 centimeters. The plant grows from a tough, woody taproot and older plants develop rhizomes.' End quote. USES:
A few uses are recorded by Native Americans of this species: Cheyenne-Pulverized leaf rubbed on the nose and powder snuffed up the nostrils for nosebleeds; Infusion of powdered roots taken for nosebleeds; Navajo & Ramah- used as "life medicine". 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 headed toward Wolf Creek Pass near the Pagosa Springs Colorado area on September 16,2009. The elevation was 8139'. GPS coordinates: N37?26.548 W106?52.649. Per Wildflowers.org is this: 'Southeastern British Columbia; south through eastern Washington and Oregon to southern California; east to New Mexico, South Dakota, and Saskatchewan. Native Habitat: Partial shade in woods, from lowlands into the mountains.' End quote. See more photos here.Bloom season: June through August, commonly. There were few plants still in bloom in the area of this sighting, this being one. Many were in their fruited stage with little or no flowers. See more photos here.
This is a fun and unusual looking flower. The notes about the plant growing in deep shade were certainly the case here. Off the side of the road, the plants were nestled deeply inside other growth with tall trees shielding the sun from the sky on both sides of the Highway. The flowers were not prolific. It was a delight to see them! This information is from the website RAINY SIDE GARDENERS.COM: 'Inside-out flower is named after Captain George Vancouver and its epithet hexandra, means six stamens. The flowers resemble the blossoms of our native shootingstar-Dodecatheon-or a Cyclamen. The Inside-out flower grows in woodlands dominated by Douglas fir, White oak, Western hemlock, Silver fir, Noble fir and Western red cedar, as well as mixed evergreen and broadleaf deciduous forests.USES:
The Yurok tribe from Northwestern California chewed the leaves of V. hexandra for a cough medicine. Modern medicinal uses are for sinus congestion, chronic rhinitis and hay fever. The genus Vancouveria honors George Vancouver, the 18th century explorer of the Pacific Northwest. The family Barberry is a small one with only 11 genera and 3 species in the genus.
Plant location: Jackson Hwy in Washington state, May 2007. This species is found only in California, Washington, and Oregon.Bloom season: An early summer blooming perennial. We were not yet taking technical photographs of plants when this specimen was sighted. A shot of the foliage will be updated when possible.
Hoe Nightshade (Solanum physalifolium Rusby), family Solanaceae (Nightshade)
Quote: 'The Solanaceae family is characteristically ethnobotanical, that is, extensively utilized by humans. It is an important source of food, spice and medicine. However, Solanaceae species are often rich in alkaloids whose toxicity to humans and animals ranges from mildly irritating to fatal in small quantities.' End quote. Also called Hairy Nightshade, our specimen was in a dry sandy soil. The flowers are exotic looking, even if small and obscure in relation to the foliage. Potatoes are a commonly known relative in the same genus. Plant location: Seen in the Adams County Colorado Open Space on September 9, 2008.Bloom period: Unknown
Big-leaf Sandwort (Moehringia macrophylla), family Caryophyllaceae (Pink)
This plant enjoys a fairly diverse habitat; moist shade, dry forest, open rocky slopes including serpentine configurations and a wide range of elevation. Pretty tenacious! This plant shares families with the White Champion from page 5. The genus seems to be quite small. In fact the plants are listed as endangered in Conneticut, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin. In Michigan and Minnesota they are threatened.
While hiking Esmerelda Basin outside of Cle Elum Washington we saw these small pretty flowers. June 17, 2007.Bloom season: late spring through early summer, a perennial.
Scorpion Weed (Phacelia heterophylla), family Hydrophyllaceae (Waterleaf)
A distinctive looking flower structure is characteristic of this plant. The flowers themselves are very small but form clusters giving them a more profuse appearance. At the ends of the plant they form coils - very cool looking! In fact, it was this feature, rather than the flowers, that captured our notice of the plant. There are roughly 200 species in the genus, mostly native to Western North America. Plants are also in Eastern USA and South America. USES:
There are two listing at Native American Ethnobotany on this plant: 'Miwok Drug (Dermatological Aid) Poultice of pulverized, dried plant put in fresh wounds. -AND- Navajo, Kayenta Food (Vegetable) Used for greens in foods.''Contact with some species of Phacelia can cause a very unpleasant rash similar to that from poison oak and poison ivy in sensitive individuals.
Per Wikipedia'. Plant location: the plants were in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains outside of Denver Colorado, Hwy 93. The date was June 6, 2008. A plains to montane dweller, the Scorpion Weed can be found on disturbed grounds, along roadsides, and in pastures and fields. Open field is where we saw the plant. The USDA database has the distribution in the United States as (AZ, CO, ID, MA, MT, NM, OR, UT, WA, WY).Bloom
period: May to July
Coltsfoot, Western Coltsfoot, Alpine Coltsfoot, Sweet Coltsfoot, or Frigid Coltsfoot - MANY COMMON NAMES!!! (Petasites frigidus), family Asteraceae
No matter how many names this plant has it offers a pretty sight anyway. Our specimen was photographed VERY early in the spring. The large showy leaves that the plant sports later on were barely in evidence yet. The flowers are gender discriminate being usually either male or female. Our example was in a local water park at not much elevation. In higher locations the blooms do not display until much later, July or even August. This plant is native to the Northern Hemisphere, including the nothern North America and arctic regions. USES:
This tasty information is from WIKIPEDIA: 'The leaf stalks and flower stems (with
flowers) are edible, and can be used as a vegetable dish. A salt-substitute can also be made by drying and then burning the leaves. This black, powdery substance will provide a salty taste.' End quote. There are a good number of recorded uses of this species on the fine website Native American Ethnobotany: Eskimo, Inupiat (Cold Remedy) Infusion of dried, stored leaves used for colds and head and chest congestion. Alaska Native Food (Vegetable) Leaves mixed with other greens. Young leaves & flowering stems eaten raw as salad, cooked as a potherb or made into a "sauerkraut." Eskimo, Alaska: (Mats, Rugs & Bedding) Cotton like seed heads formerly used for mattress stuffing with duck and goose feathers. Large, mature leaves used to cover berries and other greens stored in kegs for winter use. Leaves used by children to make cone shaped buckets to hold the picked berries. Leaves occasionally used to form make-shift funnels. Dried, burned leaves added to chewing tobacco for flavoring. Dried, burned leaves added to snuff for flavoring. Eskimo, Inuktitut (Smoke Plant) Dried, burned plant ashes added to chewing tobacco. Large, mature leaves used to cover barrels of rhubarb and blueberries, to prevent mold from growing.
There are only 3 species in the genus.
Plant location: This waterloving plant was seen is a - well - watergarden, in Renton Washington on March 25, 08. Found in the following United States AK, CA, CO, CT, ID, MA, ME, MI, MN, MT, ND, NH, NY, OR, SD, VT, WA, WI, WY.Bloom season: An early spring blooming perennial - bog, marsh, water loving. This close-up of the stem shows the small lobes off the stalks, with the main large leaf structure of a soft expression behind the stalk. The leaves can get very large, up to 16" across.
White Hawkweed (Hieracium albiflorum), family Asteraceae (Aster)
These lovely little flowers were nicely represented on our short walk in the Moose Visitor Center. Love the serrated petals of these delicate flowers. They somewhat resemble the inflorescence of wild lettuce. The name's origin is interesting - ancients believed that hawks ate from this plant to strengthen their eyesight. Quote: White hawkweed's principal means of reproduction is through recruitment of windborne seed. It readily establishes from seed in burned or disturbed areas. White hawkweed is self-fertile, producing many seeds. Seed dispersal: White hawkweed seed is wind-dispersed. The light-weight, plumed achenes can be dispersed long distances. A number of Hieracium species are known to have been used by Native American tribes but this does not appear to be one of them. See the webiste Native American Ethnobotany for more information. There are approximately 54 species in the genus.
Plant location: Seen near Gould Colorado on July 30, 2008 on a trail in the Moose Visitor Center. Quote: 'It is found in western North America, from Alaska to California and east to the Rockies. Some hawkweeds were introduced to North America and are invasive weeds in the region, but white hawkweed is native and is a part of the balanced ecology.' End quote. The plant is found in forests and woodlands at low to moderate elevation, specifically in Colorado from 7,000 to 10,500 feet.
Bloom period: Unknown. The following is from FEIS: 'IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE: White hawkweed is not known to be used by livestock, though several wildlife species utilize it. White hawkweed leaves are slightly palatable and are eaten by Columbian black-tailed deer on southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. White hawkweed is utilized by mule deer in California giant sequoia groves. In Nevada, deer and elk utilize white hawkweed from the time it comes up in the spring until it dries up in the fall. White hawkweed is preferred by elk in western Montana during early and late summer. It is a grizzly bear food in southern Canada and the conterminous United States. In Oregon, white hawkweed seeds and seedlings are an important food source for the Oregon junco. Its seeds are also eaten by pine siskins.'
Tufted Evening Primrose (Oenothera caespitosa) family Onagraceae (Willowherb)
Oh the frustration.....we didn't think to sample this bloom for fragrance. It turns out that it is known for a lovely aroma. It WAS a gift to see this very short blooming flower. The white stage lasts a mere day. The following day the flower is turning pink, withering, and is dead by the end of the second day. Our plant only offered the one flower but supposedly many of the plants have plenty of buds making the blooming generous. The genus consists of about 125 species and is native to North and South America. The long stigma is a distinctive charactaristic of the plants. We were amused to note that our nice specimen refuted it's name by offering
us a full bloom at 11:27 in the morning, rather than evening! The elevation wass fairly generous as well. Plant location: This lovely and short blooming flower was seen on April 27, 2008 in the Rocky Mountains on Boulder Canyon Drive. The coordinates are: N 40.00.498 W 105.19.661. The time was 11.27am, elevation 5258'.Bloom season: Unknown
Hoary Alyssum (Berteroa incana), family Brassicaeceae (Mustard)
These bright pretty flowers are distributed throughout almost the entire United States. They are an interesting find, both pretty and interesting. The plants stems below the flowers are covered with green fruits. Quote: 'Berteroa incana grows from a deep taproot and is an annual, biennial or short-lived perennial herbaceous plant with opposite, simple gray-green leaves. The foliage is rough with star shaped hairs. Young plants have a basal rosette of leaves that give rise to upright stems with simple, alternate leaves. The leaves are longer than wide. The flowers are white, numerous and arranged into racemes, though they appear to be clustered at the ends of the stems. The flowers have four
petals that are deeply notched.' End quote. There are only 3 species in this genus. This plant is a bee attractor and is considered to be of economic importance as a bee plant. The plants are herbs; annual,biennial, and perennial and were introduced from Europe.
Plant location: Adams County Open Space on September 11, 2008.
Bloom period: A LONG bloom time, May through November.
Common Teasel (Dipsacus sylvestris), family Dipsacaceae (Teasel)
Quote: 'The flowers bloom in progression. They start in a belt around the center of the spike and new ones open daily in both directions, over time forming two bands of flowers " The name comes from the Greek ... dispa meaning thirst. Wool manufactures used the dried heads to tease the cloth; and gave the flower it's common name. The outer spines are very sharp and should be handeled with care.' End quote. The plant is originally native to Europe, Asia and Northern Africa. There are only about 15 species in the genus. Quote: 'The genus name is derived from the word for thirst and refers to the cup-like formation made where sessile leaves merge at the stem. Rain water can collect in this receptacle; this may perform the
function of preventing sap-sucking insects such as aphids from climbing the stem. The leaves are lanceolate, 20-40 cm long and 3-6 cm broad, with a row of small spines on the underside of the midrib. Teasels are easily identified with their prickly stem and leaves, and the inflorescence of purple, dark pink or lavender flowers that form a head on the end of the stem(s). The inflorescence is ovoid, 4-10 cm long and 3-5 cm broad, with a basal whorl of spiny bracts. The first flowers begin opening in a belt around the middle of the spherical or oval flowerhead, and then open sequentially toward the top and bottom, forming two narrow belts as the flowering progresses. The dried head persists afterwards, with the small (4-6 mm) seeds maturing in mid autumn. The seeds are an important winter food resource for some birds, notably the European Goldfinch; teasels are often grown in gardens and encouraged on nature reserves to attract them.' End quote.
Plant location was the Big Dry Creek Open Space in Colorado on July 22, 2008. We have to smile at the name Big Dry.....as you can see there was plenty of water in the creek.....and there always is that we have seen. Teasels have been naturalised in many regions away from their native range, partly due to the import of Fuller's Teasel for textile processing, and partly by the seed being a contaminant mixed with crop seeds. The members of the genus are extensively spread throughout the United States and are considered invasive. Their habitats are fields, thickets, pastures, waste ground, open woods, roadsides, and railroads.
Bloom period: This herb blooms from July through October. 'A number of medicinal properties claimed for the teasel, though not proven in medical trials: * Cure of Lyme Disease. * Antibiotic. * Improved circulation. * Cure for warts. * Eyewash (water collected in the cup formed by sessile leaves).' One species in the genus fullonum, another very common teasel was used by the Iroquois tribe as a poison, the powdered roots being considered poisonous.