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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Red Creek Buckwheat - Johanneshowellia puberula

 This pretty member of the Buckwheat Family (Polygonaceae) is Red Creek buckwheat (Johanneshowellia puberula), with a previous genus name of Eriogonum. It grows only in Utah, Nevada, and California from valley bottoms up to the pinyon-juniper community.

Flowers are small and turn into little red berries. For more info about Red Creek buckwheat, click here.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Coyote Gilia - Aliciella triodon

 This branching plant a few inches high (up to 13 cm) is coyote gilia (Aliciella triodon), and formerly with the genus name Gilia. It's in the Phlox Family (Polemoniaceae) and grows in gravelly substrates in pinyon-juniper areas in the southwestern U.S. Flowers are white and each petal is three-lobed.

For a description of coyote gilia, click on the Jepson manual treatment.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fendler's Sandmat - Chamaesyce fendleri

 This low growing plant is in a family not yet shared on this blog, the Euphoriabeceae, or Spurge Family. It's called Fendler's sandmat (Chamaesyce fendleri), with a previous genus name of Euphorbia. It grows at lower elevations in the western U.S.

For more info about Fendler's sandmat from Southwest Colorado Wildflowers (a great resource), click here.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Firecracker Penstemon - Penstemon eatonii

 I've been saving this flower for Fourth of July, as it's common name is Firecracker Penstemon (Penstemon eatonii). It grows in the western U.S. in a variety of habitats.

 Flowers are bright red in narrow tubes.

For more info about firecracker penstemon (and how to use it in your water wise garden), click here.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Lavenderleaf Sundrops - Calylophus lavandulifolius

 This bright flower in the Evening Primrose Family (Onagraceae) has one of the best common names I've heard: lavenderleaf sundrops (Calylophus lavandulifolius). It grows in gravels from the Plains States west to Nevada.

 Flowers are one to two inches across and bright yellow. As they fade, they turn pinkish or purplish.

For more info about lavenderleaf sundrops, click here.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Nevada Bedstraw - Galium hypotrichium subsp. nevadense

 Another bedstraw, this one called Nevada bedstraw (Galium hypotichium subsp. nevadense).  This member of the Madder Family (Rubiaceae) grows in Nevada and Utah in pinyon-juniper areas and higher. Leaves are in whorls, the plant is about 20 cm high, and small white flowers are found on the upper half.

 The species is dioecious, with male flowers (above) on some plants, and female flowers (below) on other plants. The female flowers are much easier to photograph!

For more info on Nevada bedstraw from the USDA Plants Database, click here.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Desert Snowberry - Symphoricarpos longiflorus

 This shrub with the oval leaves and pink trumpet-like flowers is desert snowberry (Symphoricarpos longiflorus). It grows through much of western North America.

 I had never noticed before how much the flowers of snowberry resemble those of Ribes  (currant) until this year. After the flowers drop off, white berries will appear.

For more info on desert snowberry, click here.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tunnel Springs Beardstongue - Penstemon concinnus

 This beautiful little penstemon is Tunnel Springs Beardstongue (Penstemon concinnus). It only grows in Utah and Nevada in gravelly alluvial soils in pinyon/juniper.  The plant is compact, usually not more than 20 cm tall.

For more info about Tunnel Springs beardstongue, click here.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Threepetal Bedstraw - Galium trifidum ssp. columbianum

 This is a tiny plant that grows in wetlands, but it looks much like the larger version that is common, stickywilly or common bedstraw. This is threepetal bedstraw (Galium trifidum ssp. columbianum). It grows in western North America. The plants were only about three-four inches high.

 Flowers have three petals and later a dark fruit will appear.

For more info on threepetal bedstraw from the USDA plants database, click here.

Monday, June 20, 2011

American Yellowrocket- Barbarea othoceras

 The bright yellow flowers of this member of the Mustard Family (Brassicaceae) is found in wetlands and along streams and is called American yellowrocket (Barbarea othoceras). Another common name is American winter cress. It grows in much of western and northern North America.

For more info about American yellowrocket, click here.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Clustered Broomrape - Orobanche fasciculata

This is such a strange looking plant, with no green in it at all. The reason is that it is a parasite, taking its nutrients from a nearby plant in the Asteraceae family. This is common to plants in the Broomrape Family (Orobanchaceae), and this species is clustered broomrape (Orobanche fasciculata). It grows in western states, the Midwest, and much of Canada.

To see the USDA Plants Database entry on clustered broomrape, click here.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tuber Starwort - Pseudostellaria jamesiana

 This pretty white flower in the Pink Family (Caryophyllaceae) is tuber starwort (Pseudostellaria jamesiana). It grows in several western states. The common name is due to the plant spreading from its underground tubers.
 Leaves are just slightly sticky and very narrow.

For more info on tuber starwort, click here.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sagebrush Cholla - Grusonia pulchella

I got very excited when I saw a flash of pink and went over to examine it and found this jointed cactus. I believe it's sagebrush cholla (Grusonia pulchella). It grows primarily in Nevada, with a few in Utah and California.
It goes by several other scientific and common names, including sand cholla. I could only find two in the place I walked around. Both were small and indistinct, and I probably would have missed them if it weren't for the flower.
For more info about sagebrush cholla, click on this interesting link.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Prickly Cryptantha - Cryptantha echinella

When I saw this cryptantha, I thought it looked a little different--longer leaves. It turns out the leaves are one of the distinguishing characteristics--they have very long hairs on them, hence the name prickly cryptantha (Cryptantha echinella). This species grows at mid-elevations in Nevada, California, Idaho, and Oregon.
To see the USDA Plants Database page about prickly cryptantha, click here. 

Saskatoon Serviceberry - Amelanchier alnifolia

 The large shrub or small tree with red bark, oval leaves, and white flowers in May or June in this area is Saskatoon serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia). Flowers have five petals, as is common in the Rose Family (Rosaceae). After the white flowers have finished blooming, small fruits, called pomes grow. The top half of the leaf is toothed.

The trees grow in openings in forests and in sage steppe.

To see some info from the Washington Native Plant Society about Saskatoon serviceberry, click here.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Jones' Fleabane - Erigeron jonesii

Lots of Erigeron are blooming, and we have 17 species in our area. This one is Jones' fleabane (Erigeron jonesii). It grows at mid-elevations in Utah, Idaho, and Nevada.

It has both ray and disk flowers.

The leaves are the distinguishing characteristics. Most are basal, but there are some on the stem. They are hairy. The basal leaves have three obvious nerves.

There's not much other info on Jones' fleabane on the Internet right now, but you can connect to the Plants Database description by clicking here.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Modoc Hawksbead - Crepis modocensis

 There are many dandelion-like plants blooming right now. Many are in the genus Crepis. These aren't the easiest to tell apart, but I believe that this one is Modoc hawksbeard (Crepis modocensis). (As always, if you know I've misidentified something, please leave a comment!) It grows at mid-elevations in western North America.

 The leaves and stems are hairy. The stem has little bristles coming off of it, which isn't well-captured in this photo.

 In the photo below, you can see the bristles well on the buds.
For more info about Modoc hawskbeard from Calflora, click here.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Wild Crab Apple - Peraphyllum ramosissimum

 This large bush with white flowers is wild crab apple (Peraphyllum ramosissimum), sometimes called squaw apple. Later in the summer small apple-like fruits are produced. Wild crab apple grows in several western states, favoring mid-elevations. It's been around a long time, with fossil records of it 50 million years ago. Leaves are oblong and flowers have five white petals, as is common in the Rose Family (Rosaceae).

To learn more about wild crab apple from Southwest Colorado Wildlflowers, click here.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Musk Phlox - Phlox hoodii ssp. muscoides

This phlox caught my eye, and even though I thought I had already photographed it, I hadn't. So I guess it's good for me to take a lot of photos now and then! The key had it listed as a separate species, but the USDA Plants Database has it as a subspecies. So we'll call it musk phlox (Phlox hoodii ssp. muscoides), previously Phlox muscoides. It grows in the western U.S. and makes these mounds of flowers. I found it about 6,500 feet elevation.

And here's the ant eye's view
For more info on musk phlox, click here.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Beckwith's Milkvetch - Astragalus beckwithii var. purpureus

 The Astragalus are a little intimidating because there are so many, but this one only took half an hour to figure out. Hopefully that means I will remember it better! It's Beckwith's milkvetch (Astragalus beckwithii var. purpureus). Identifying characteristics are glabrous (smooth) leaves (for the most part), and flowers in a loose head. This variety is found in Utah and Nevada on gravelly soils.

 Later a freckled, curved pod will appear.
For a little more info about Beckwith's Milkvetch from the USDA Plants Database, click here.