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Friday, July 31, 2009

Curlycup Gumweed-Grindelia squarrosa

Along the roads this yellow-flowered shrubby-looking plant is growing heartily. It's another member of the Sunflower Family (Asteraceae), which has lots of late-summer bloomers. It's very easy to identify if you touch it, because it's sticky. Its name is curlycup gumweed (Grindelia squarrosa).

The flowers themselves aren't sticky, but the buds, stems, and leaves are.
For more information about curlycup gumweed, click here.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sulphur-flower Buckwheat-Eriogonum umbellatum

Often growing in gravelly soils is a plant with umbel flowers that almost look fluorescent yellow. This is sulphur-flower buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum), a member of the Buckwheat Family (Polygonaceae).

The flowers last a long time. They start out as red buds, and then as they age and dry out, they turn red again.

For more information about sulphur-flower buckwheat, click here.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fineleaf Hymenopappus-Hymenopappus filifolius

This slightly odd looking flower in the Sunflower Family (Asteraceae) is Fineleaf Hymenopappus (Hymenopappus filifolius). It's also called Columbia cutleaf, and is native to western North America.
This flower only has disk flowers, no ray flowers.

The leaves are highly dissected.
For more information about fineleaf hymenopappus, click here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Stemless Four-nerve Daisy--Tetraneuris acaulis

This member of the Sunflower Family (Asteraceae) is Stemless Four-nerve Daisy(Tetraneuris acaulis). It goes by several common names, including angelita daisy and sundancer daisy, and the old genus name was Hymenoxys.

The yellow flowers rise from basal leaves. As the flowers age, the ray flowers droop.
This is a popular plant for native landscaping. For more information about stemless four-nerve daisy, click here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Nevada Catchfly-Silene nachlingerae

This inconspicuous flower in the Pink Family (Caryophyllaceae) is Nevada Catchfly (Silene nachlingerae), also known as Nachlinger's Campion. It is native only to the state of Nevada and considered to be a rare plant. Lucky for us, the limestone-rich area where we were hiking we saw many, although despite dozens of photos, most turned out blurry!

They are generally found from 7,000-11,000 feet in elevation, and the ones we saw were primarily on canyon bottoms.

Here's a closeup of the flower. It can be distinguished from its close relative Silene drummondi by not being sticky.
For more info about Nevada Catchfly, click here.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Slender Fleabane-Erigeron tener

This beautiful member of the Sunflower Family (Asteraceae) is found at higher elevations and is slender fleabane (Erigeron tener).

The stem is hairy and greenish-gray. The flower heads have many purple or bluish ray flowers.

This clump was growing out of rocks at the bottom of a cliff.

As the flowers age, the ray flowers droop and eventually fall off. 
For more information about slender fleabane, click here.


Oops, I haven't been keeping up! 
Excuse #1: No Internet for 2 days
Excuse #2: This festival

But enough excuses, I'll be back to bringing you a plant a day!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pacific Anemone-Anemone multifida

This delicate-looking plant hiding on the cliffside is a member of the Buttercup Family (Ranunculaceae), called Pacific Anemone (Anemone multifida). It is also called cut-leaf anemone. It is native to western and northern North America.

Although most of the descriptions I could find on the Internet showed pink flowers, the ones we saw were white.
For more information about Pacific anemone, click here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Foothill Deathcamas-Zigadenus paniculatus

We have three different species of deathcamas (Zigadenus) in this area, but foothill deathcamas (Zigadenus paniculatus), also called sand corm, is distinguishable with its bright yellow anthers and frequent appearance in sagebrush areas. It's a member of the Lily Family (Liliaceae), with the narrow leaves providing a clue.

Photo taken 5-19-09. Flower parts are in sixes. This plant is poisonous to both humans and livestock. For more information about foothill deathcamas, click here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Narrowleaf Stoneseed-Lithospermum incisum

If you notice a slight resemblance to the flower picture yesterday, you are paying good attention--not only is this flower in the same family (Boraginaceae), but also the same genus: Lithospermum. This is narrowleaf stoneseed (Lithospermum incisum). It's not particularly tall, but the flowers are often over two inches long from the corolla tube to the petals.

For more information about narrowleaf stoneseed, click here.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Western Stoneseed-Lithospermum ruderale

A plant with lots of long, narrow leaves and small yellow flowers often tucked into shady places is Western Stoneseed (Lithospermum ruderale). "Ruderale" is Latin for "rubbish," and this plant does grow in waste places.

Upon closer inspection, you can see that this member of the Borage Family (Boraginaceae) has attractive flowers. For more information about western stoneseed (sometimes called puccoon), click here.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Lewis' Flax-Linum lewisii

A pretty flower with paper-thin petals in shades of blue is Lewis' Flax (Linum lewisii), also called blue flax. It's a member of the Flax Family (Linaceae). Lewis' flax is easy to grow and is often seen next to highways where highway departments have put it in the seed mix. It's also a pretty plant to include in a native garden. It's native to most of western North America.

If Lewis' flax is picked, the petals wither immediately, so this is one flower best to enjoy out in nature. For more information, click here.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Climbing Nightshade-Solanum dulcamara

We noticed this green creeping plant near a wet area with purple flowers, red fruits and leaves that reminded me of the potato family. Sure enough, that's the right family (Solanaceae), which also includes tomatoes, eggplants, tobacco, and petunias. 

This particular plant is Climbing Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara), also called Bittersweet Nightshade. It's native to Europe and Asia.

The berries are attractive, but poisonous to humans and livestock, although birds can eat them (and spread them). The foliage can also be poisonous to humans.

The flowers are pretty, with purple petals in a star shape and protruding yellow stamens and style.

For more information about Climbing Nightshade, click here.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sticky Polemonium-Polemonium viscosum

This beautiful high elevation flower is often smelled before it is seen--it smells like a skunk! It's called Sticky Polemonium (Polemonium viscosum). It's in the Phlox Family (Polemoniaceae).

The flowers are purplish in color, and the grayish-green leaves are compact. 
For more information about sticky polemonium, click here.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Yellow Salsify-Tragopogon dubius

This large, dandelion-looking flower is yellow salsify (Tragopon dubius), also called western salsify, although it is native to Europe and Asia. It is now common throughout most of the U.S.

The flower is quite pretty and later produces a huge dandelion-looking seed pod. 

For more information about yellow salsify, click here.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Howard's Evening Primrose-Oenothera howardii

This pretty, low-lying flower with large yellow blossoms is a member of the Evening Primrose Family (Onagraceae), and is Howard's Evening Primrose (Oenothera howardii). 

Like other evening primroses, the flowers open for just one evening, when they are pollinated by moths. Then the flower wilts away, its job done.

This is a good plant for xeriscaping. For more information about Howard's evening primrose, click here

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Colorado Blue Columbine-Aquilegia coerula

This striking flower is Colorado Blue Columbine (Aquilegia coerula), a member of the Buttercup Family (Ranunculaceae). The flower shape is similar to Western Columbine (Aquilegia formosa), but the size of the flower is much larger and the color is not red, but rather white or blue or most frequently, a mixture of the two. 

Part of the reason the flower appears so large is that the sepals (the part underneath the flowers) are also brightly colored and protruding.

For more information about the state flower of Colorado, the Colorado blue columbine, click here

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Littleleaf Pussytoes-Antennaria microphylla

Small clusters of grayish-green leaves on the forest floor might be puzzling at first, but when the flowers emerge, it isn't hard to tell that this plant is Littleleaf Pussytoes (Antennaria microphylla), also called Rosy Pussytoes. It's a member of the Sunflower Family (Asteraceae). 

A closeup of the flower shows the pink bracts surrounding the white disk flowers. 

For more information about littleleaf pussytoes, click here

Friday, July 10, 2009

Watson's Penstemon-Penstemon watsonii

Watson's Penstemon (Penstemon watsonii) is probably the most abundant penstemon in this area. 

There are several other common blue penstemons: Thickleaf beardtongue (Penstemon pachyphyllus), which has thicker leaves and stalks; and Penstemon leiomerus and Penstemon humilis, both which grow above 9,000 feet (and will be featured in the next few weeks).

Watson's penstemon has hairy stems but smooth corollas (flower tubes).

Penstemons are such interesting looking plants. This genus even has its own fan club: the American Penstemon Society.

For more information about Watson's Penstemon, click here.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Heartleaf Bittercress-Cardamine cordifolia

Growing along stream margins and wet meadows is this one-to-twofoot-tall plant with white flowers. Upon closer inspection you can see that the flowers have four petals, a clue that it's in the Mustard Family (Brassicaceae). The heart-shaped leaves are referred to in both the common and scientific names: Heartleaf Bittercress (Cardamine cordifolia). 

For more information about heartleaf bittercress, click here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Summer Coralroot-Corallorhiza maculata

The desert is not a place one often associates with orchids, but at least a couple species are present, including summer coralroot (Corallorhiza maculata), also called spotted coralroot.

This is a very interesting plant. As you can see, it is not green at all, and it does not use photosynthesis to produce energy. Instead, it parasitizes nearby fungi. Click the link below to learn more.

Looking closer at the small flowers, you can see it definitely has an orchid appearance. The spots on the lower petal are referred to in the species name "maculata," which means spotted.

For more information about summer coralroot, click here.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Rockslide Yellow Fleabane-Erigeron leiomerus

This high elevation member of the Sunflower Family (Asteraceae) is Rockslide Yellow Fleabane (Erigeron leiomerus), also called Rockslide daisy.

The leaves are simple with a single vein.

For more information about rockslide yellow fleabane, click here.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Balloonpod Milkvetch-Astragalus whitneyi

This tiny milkvetch found above 10,000 feet is balloonpod milkvetch (Astragalus whitneyi). As you might guess by the common name, the seed pods are big and inflated. 

The small flower is 5-petaled, mainly white with a hint of pink or purple with darker lines on the banner.

For more information about balloonpod milkvetch, click here.