May Wildflowers

May flowers seen in GVM, please email us your sightings.

Blue-eyed Mary

Blue-eyed Mary

5/31/09 Jim emailed: “spotted another even more diminutive annual called, appropriately, Blue-eyed Mary or Hunchback Flower (Collinsia parviflora). I knew it from some work I did as the taxonomist on a multi-agency, post-fire study a few summers back at the Sheldon National Wildlife Area in the northwestern corner of NV. Only one species in the genus, parviflora means small-flowered; but a beautiful one it is. Weber & Wittmann write: “Very common but inconspicuous and delicate annual, blossoming very early at low altitudes. . . . Leaves usually strongly purplish-tinged. The hump-backed corolla is distinctive.”

Madwort

Madwort

5/31/09 Jim emailed: Madwort (Asperugo procumbens). I spotted this amongst other weeds as I was climbing my stairs to the house; the tiny purple flowers catching my eye. My immediate thought was a borage. From Weber & Whitman: “The name borage comes from a Middle Latin source, burra, meaning rough hair or wool, just as the modern word, bur.”  One of the few exceptions to having very stiff hairs on the stems and leaves, our bluebells (Mertensia lanceolata) now in full bloom. As for this madwort, Weber & Whitman state: “Alien on disturbed ground at the base of the Front Range. The enlarged and flat-open calyx becomes conspicuous after the flowers wither, and it is provided with hooked bristles. An unmistakable plant.”

Tufted evening primrose

Tufted evening primrose

5/27/09 Ellen sent: Tufted Evening Primrose (Oenothera caespitosa). We have three plants blooming our “back yard.”

 

 

Rock-jasmine

Rock-jasmine

5/15/09 Rock-jasmine (Androsace septentrionale), in the Primrose Family (Primulaceae). “Forested or open sites (except desert), from foothills to alpine tundra, extremely variable.” A common early bloomer down in the foothills of the San Luis Valley where I lived, I recognized it when out walking in the nearby meadow this afternoon (May 15).

False Arabis, Rockcress

False Arabis, Rockcress

5/15/09 False Arabis; Rockcress (Boechera [Arabis] fendleri) Weber & Wittmann: “Common, outer foothills of Front Range.” Only two species of Boechera are common to this area, the other B. drummondii. Weber & Wittmann continue: “In early spring, the new vegetative shoots are affected by a rust fungus, Puccinia monoica, which produces an aecial stage of yellow-orange pustules that cover the upper leaves. Every spring someone brings his in to ask what kind of wildflower it might be.” I found just such an oddity just this morning, May 15, after I’d spotted the plant in flower elsewhere and recognized it as a rockcress. Below, the Boulder Camera article’s recent date, February of this year (found in Google). http://www.dailycamera.com/news/2009/feb/26/march-nature-almanac/?partner%253DRSS

Larkspur

Larkspur

5/13 Jim Erdman: “Today I finally saw the larkspur (Delphinium nuttallianum) with only one deep purple bloom; I’d been puzzled earlier this spring by the deeply cut compound leaves.

Sandlily
Sandlily

5/13/09 Ellen Heath: I have 100’s of Sand Lilies (Leucocrinum montanum, Liliaceae) on the sunny, dry parts of our property. Photo taken at 2:19 this afternoon. From Beidleman, Beidleman & Willard, Plants of Rocky Mountain National Park: “Sandlily has no stems so its white flowers are situated in the center of a basal cluster of long narrow leaves.” From Jim Erdman 5/13: Journal entry for Sunday May 4th of last year (2008).  “[This] afternoon hike alone on Pawnee National Grassland — dry as a bone! Sand lily only flowering plant & common — deep roots. Looked like someone threw golf balls around.

Alum-root

Alum-root

5/11/09 Jim Erdman: Early afternoon during my wandering through the meadow nearby the USFS’s inholding spotted what appeared to be a Heuchera in the Saxifrage Family. A reasonably small family of some dozen genera, it keyed out easily to Saxifrage (Micrantha [Saxifraga] rhomboidea). In fact, Weber & Wittmann have it illustrated in a figure (the one below, from my Googling, but under the genus, Saxifraga). Of the several species of Micrantha here on the Eastern Slope, the description for this species:”. . . plants on rocky slopes moist in spring, open ground, not wet meadows or streamsides. Common from the outer foothills to the alpine tundra.” Just starting to flower, it’s quite abundant in parts of the meadow. I note that it IS in the provisional plant list, as is Alum-root (Heuchera parvifolia). Both of these were added after the initial list of 8/12/08 with only ~108 species. As of Ellen’s update yesterday, ~231 species.

Wild Cancytuft

Wild Candytuft

5/10/09 Jim Erdman: Wild Candytuft (Noccaea [formerly Thlaspi] montana) Weber & Wittmann say, “A ubiquitous species, occurring throughout the gamut of habitats from pinyon-juniper to tundra.”
Woodland Draba

Woodland Draba

5/6/09 Jim Erdman: Woodland Draba (Draba nemorosa) an annual alien (i.e., weed) in disturbed areas

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One Response to May Wildflowers

  1. Paul Block says:

    Delphinium geyeri blooms in early spring and is rather diminuitive. nuttalianum is a late summer bloomer and pretty robust.

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