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Lyall's Mariposa Lily -or- Lyall's Star Tulip (Calochortus lyallii), family Liliaceae (Lily)
This lovely flower is found only in the state of Washington, and in Canada. The foliage was overlooked for photography. Often as the plant ages for the season the slender grass-like foliage withers away and there is none left but the stunning blooms. Enjoy the views of the plant and flowers. Lilies are mostly perennial herbs from rhizomes, bulbs, or corms, some rather woody and treelike, and often showy flowers in racemes or branched racemes. There are about 70 species in this genus. Many plants in the genus were used by Native Americans for food. It is unclear if this species was one of those. Other members of the genus include uses as starvation food by Utah Mormon's; per WIKIPEDIA 'They were also eaten by the Mormon settlers in Utah during the first winter
or two because of crop failures during the first few years of settlement in the Great Salt Lake Valley.' The flowers from the genus Calochortus are among the most loved of wildflowers. Their exotic markings and colors are wonderful to look upon.
We have 3 other species in the genus Calochortus on the site. See them: elegans - gunnisonii -
macrocarpus (Contributed by Bob Bagley). All of them are really lovely.
Plant location: Sighted in Twisp Washington on July 27, 2007 when Mark was dual-sport motorcycle riding.
Bloom season: June and July.
Fendler's Sandwort (Arenaria fendleri) -or- (Eremogone fendleri), family Alsinaceae (Chickweed) -or- Caryophyllaceae (Pink)
This fresher example of sandwort was seen earlier in the year, isn't it lovely.
Plant location: Sighted June 6, 2008 in the Rocky Mountain Foothills, Hwy 93, along the roadside.
season: July to September, commonly.
Townsendia, species uncertain - Asteraceae (Aster)
This pleasing little flower was quite a surprise to us when hiking so late in the year. There were numbers of plants still blooming in the area but this one was particularly fresh looking. We used a new technique to identify this plant, keys from the books both Alpine Flower Finder, and Colorado Flora; Eastern Slope.The genus Townsendia hosts about 26 species total. In .... Eastern Slope (which was the area of this sighting) the authors mention seven possible species; fendleri, eximia, grandiflora, rothrockii, hookeri, exscapa, and leptotes. We are attempting to identify which this is.
Plant location: Greyrock Trail #946 in the Cache la Poudre Colorado area. November 1, 2008. The elevation was 7,006 feet - coordinates; n.40.42.678 w.105.17.669.
Bloom season: Unknown
Rose Heath -or- Heath-Leaved Chaetopappa -or- Sand Aster (Chaetopappa ericoides), family Ateraceae (Sunflower)
This was one of the smallest little daisy flowers we've ever seen. See the plant view for a perspective on just how small. The rose tips on the phyllaries and unopened petals gave the plants a soft pretty look. In terms of the technical these plants are hairy and sticky. The genus Chaetopappa is not large with this being the only species in the state of Colorado. There are 8 or so species in the genus. When seen in the early morning hours the petals of the flowers are often curled downward. The plants are also known as Leucelene ericoides, amoung others, and are native to southwestern and much of the midwestern United States and northern Mexico.
USES: Native American tribes found quite a few medical uses for these plants, specifically: Zuni: Infusion of pulverized plant applied for pain from cold or rheumatism. Infusion of whole plant rubbed on body for swelling and rheumatic pain. Infusion of whole plant rubbed on body for pain from a cold. Infusion of pulverized plant rubbed over body for swellings. Warm infusion of plant taken to "hasten parturition." Keres, Western: Poultice or infusion of plant used for swellings. Havasupai: Decoction of whole plant or roots taken or used as a wash for digestive troubles. Decoction of whole plant or roots given or used as a wash for children with digestive troubles. Hopi: Infusion of root used to "aid a sore nose." Root used as a universal panacea. Infusion of herb used to "quiet the baby." Plant used to determine the sex of a child. Plant used as a stimulant. Navajo, Kayenta: Infusion of plant with sumac berries taken for kidney disease. Infusion of plant with sumac berries taken for bladder disease. Dried pulverized plant used as snuff or cold infusion used as drops for "nose trouble." Poultice of chewed leaves applied and infusion taken for snakebite. Leaves chewed for toothache. No records of edible uses are mentioned by the website Native American Ethnobotany.
See more views of this species on the specific page here.
Plant location: Found in Pueblo Colorado on May 12, 2010. The elevation was 5596'. GPS coordinates: N38°14.812 W105°02.065. Found in the following United States: AZ, CA, CO, KS, NE, NM, NV, OK, TX, UT, WY. They are foothill-montane dwellers. Common habitats per the Colorado State University Extension website include rocky areas, blackbrush to pinyon-juniper woods, and southern deserts.
Bloom season: March through August.
- ONE WEEK LATER
November 8, 2008
We were so intrigued with this plant that we did the hike again the following Saturday to see the plant's progress and obtain additional technical photographs of it. The entire disk was more developed in the flower with more florets showing and more pollen present. The emerging flowers were more developed too. We were delighted that the plant had not perished in cold weather! This shot is of the original bloom's phyllaries. In our original photographs these looked smooth. Magnification shows a very different story.
Plant location: Greyrock Trail #946 in the Cache la Poudre Colorado area. November 8, 2008. Macro shot of one of the developing flower's phyllaries.
Highly cropped macro shot of one of the developing flower's phyllaries. Note the cilia at the edges of the phyllaries.
Silky Sophora -or- White Loco -or- Nuttall's sophora (Sophora Nuttalliana) -or- (Vexibia nuttalliana), family Fabaceae (Pea/Bean)
Originally published as Astragalus Racemosus pending fruit examination, we found the identity of this pea in Wildflowers of the Western Plains, by Zoe Merriman Kirkpatrick. Sadly, with early drougt conditions in the areas that the plants were found in 2010, the plants have not bloomed this 2011 season. Hence, no fruit. Per the Colorado State University Extension website is this: 'sometimes mistaken for an Astragalus, but has ten free stamens and not stamens adhering to one another as in the Astragalus.' End quote. More photogrpahs and technical comments on this beauty are here.
Plant location: First sighting in Pueblo Colorado, Colorado Hwy 96, on May 5, 2010. GPS coordinates: N38°15.010 W104°43.324 - Elevation: 4912'. We saw the plants again the following week on May 12, 2010: GPS coordinates: N36°38.283 W104°45.666 - Elevation: 6278'. The USDA Plant Database has this species in the following United States: AZ, CO, KS, NE, NM, OK, SD, TX, UT, WY.
For a cool view of an immature plant in scale (we used an ink pen:) go here.
Bloom season: March through June. This species - as with racemosus - is a plains dweller, consistant with this sighting.
Townsendia, technical photo - macro shot of disk - one week from original sighting.
Plant location: Greyrock Trail #946 in the Cache la Poudre Colorado area. November 8, 2008. The elevation was 7,006 feet - coordinates; n.40.42.678 w.105.17.669.
Townsendia, technical photo - macro shot of disk - original sighting.
Townsendia, technical photo - macro shot of disk - original sighting.
Western Marbleseed -or- False Gromwell (Onosmodium molle ssp. occidentale), family Boraginaceae (Borage)
Thanks to Barbara Fahey, Extension Agent for the Colorado State University Extension in Jefferson County, for her identification of this specimen. We are declaring this as ssp. occidentale based on information in Weber and Wittmann's COLORADO FLORA, EASTERN SLOPE. It shows one species of Onosmodium in Colorado; molle ssp. occidentale. The genus is quite small as is with only 4 species. The species molle is also known as bejariense.
There are 4 varieties of molle according to the USDA Plant Database; var. bejariense - var. occidentale - var. hispidissimum, and var. subsetosum.
As with most members of the Borage famly, the hairs of the plants can cause skin irritations such as rashes and itching. This is especially true with plants used in landscapes where a greater chance of frequent contact with the plants may occur. All told there are about 2,000 species in the Borage family worldwide. This species is endangered in Kentucky and threatened in Tennessee.
USES: The ways native americans used plants is always interesting and this species is no exception. Cheyenne (Orthopedic Aid) - Smashed leaves and stems (and sometimes mixed with grease) rubbed on back for lumbago. (Dermatological Aid) Pulverized leaves and stems mixed with grease and rubbed on numb skin. The Chippewa made use of the seeds of var. hispidissimum as a love charm and to attract money and worldly goods.
This species was mis-identified in James Ells book, Rocky Mountain Flora. The plants produce hard, shiny, white nutlets (hence the name marbleseed) that remain intact at maturity. A nice image of the seeds is here. Click to enlarge. Onosmodium is native to the United States.
Plant location: Sighted on June 9, 2009 in a Boulder County (Colorado) Open Space. This species is found in the following United States: AL, AR, CO, GA, IA, IL, KS, KY, LA, MN, MO, MS, MT, ND, NE, NM, OK, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WI, WY.
Bloom season: June and July, at least in Colorado. In the state of Kansas they have been found blooming in May.
The plants are foothills dwellers. Common habitats include gulches, meadows, dry, sandy or gravelly prairies, pastures and open woods, most abundant on hillsides in alkaline soils.
Whitestem Goldenbush -or- Discoid Goldenweed (Ericameria discoidea), family Asteraceae (Aster)
From WIKIPEDIA: 'Ericameria discoidea is a species of flowering shrub in the daisy family known by the common name whitestem goldenbush. This plant is native to the western United States from California to Montana, where it grows in clumpy thickets on rocky slopes. This is a small shrub reaching a maximum height of 40 centimeters. It has many erect branches covered in a foliage of oval-shaped leaves coated in dense white woolly fibers and tiny stalked resin glands. Atop each short branch is an inflorescence of many flower heads, each packed with disc florets that bloom in golden yellow and wilt to a rusty orange.' End
quote. Per Colorado Flora Eastern Slope this plant is named Macronema discoideum, the one species of this plant to be found in the eastern slope area of Colorado. It is described as having rayless, cream colored heads. The genus hosts about 33 species total.
Plant location: Seen on Boreas Pass on September 14, 2008. Grows in clumpy thickets on rocky slopes. In Colorado it is frequently seen on montane slopes. Per Wikipedia the United States distribution is (CA, CO, ID, MT, NV, OR, UT, WY).
Bloom season: Mid summer for this perennial shrub/subshrub.
Alpine Sagebrush (Artemisia scopulorum), family Asteraceae (Aster/Sunflower)
This is one face only a mother could love. Looks like death warmed over. BUT as with all things Mother Nature, it has a botanical charm of it's own. Still looking for it and will share it when found :)
Plant location: This species is among the earlier group of plants we encountered after moving to Colorado. Sighted on Boreas Pass, September 14, 2008. Somewhat small range: CO, MT, NM, NV, UT, WY.
Bloom season: Flowers mid to late summer. Said to be mildly aromatic.
- Fendler's Sandwort (Arenaria fendleri) -or- (Eremogone fendleri), family Alsinaceae (Chickweed) -or- Caryophyllaceae (Pink)
Per Colorado Flora Eastern Slope this plant is classed in the Chickweed family. There are 27 other species in the genus Arenaria. This one is a perennial herb.
The website Native American Ethnobotany has these records: Navajo, Ramah Drug (Panacea) Root used, only in the summer, as a "life medicine." (Respiratory Aid) Powdered root used as snuff to cause sneezing for congested nose.
Weber and Wittmann's comments from Colorado Flora Eastern Slope on the class are as follows: 'This family (Alsinaceae) is usually placed as a subfamily of Caryophyllaceae, but differs obviously in having its flowers constructed differently, with separate instead of united sepals and petals without narrow basal claws....To beginners, the chickweeds and sandworts seem to be an exasperating group, so many of them looking alike, but careful study shows a number of discrete genera with clearcut characters.' End quote.
Plant location: Boreas Pass Colorado on September 14, 2008. This plant grows from foothills to alpine zones. It can be found in sunny, dry areas for example grassy slopes, hillsides, open woods, and clearings. The range in the United States is Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.
Bloom season: July to September, commonly.
Common Alplily -or- Snowdon lily -or- originally called Mountain Spiderwort (Lloydia serotina), family Liliaceae (Lily)
Plant location: Sighted hiking the Mt Goliath Nature area on Mt. Evans, Colorado, on June 23, 2010. GPS coordinates: N39°38.500 W105°35.126 - Elevation: 10,973'
Bloom season: June and July.