Category Archives: Wildflowers

GVM Natural History Report Online

Manhead Mtn Photo
Manhead Mountain in Glacier View Meadows, CO (Photo by Jim Erdman)

In October 2012 Jim Erdman submitted a 26-page report http://mummyrangeinstitute.org/glacier-view-natural-history.pdf  to the Mummy Range Institute which has featured it on their website.  It is a “must read” for those of us who love the ecology, geology and beauty of GVM. Thank you Jim for your lucid writing and beautiful photos! For more information on the important work being done by the Mummy Institute, visit their website http://mummyrangeinstitute.org/.

Mule-deer Nibbled Ponderosa Tips

4/12/2012 Jim E sent this information along with photos, thanks Jim!  “Yesterday I happened to be walking along a game trail here in Glacier View Meadows and spotted a fairly newly wind-thrown ponderosa.  As I’d seen easily accessible branch tips nibbled on along Haystack Rd sometime ago, and didn’t know what did it, this seemed to clinch deer as the cause. The roots are extremely shallow as shown here. The trunk leading off to the left. Here’s the top of the tree showing easily reached – by deer – relatively palatable needles and branch tips.” Jim observed about a dozen piles of deer scat around the tree suggesting that deer are the culprits. He has sent an email to Mark from the Division of Wildlife to ask about mule deer forage habits.

“Finally, this closeup showing a couple plants of wild candytuft (Noccaea [formerly Thlaspi] montana) growing through the pile, which must have been laid before the spring-bloom season.  I’ve Olaus Murie’s 1958 classic, A Field Guide to Animal Tracks, that includes photos of droppings.  They show the winter feeding(or dry diet), and the soft type that results from green or succulent food in summer.  Maybe your folks can tell.”

Early Bloomers

3/31/2012 From Ellen: On a late morning walk in Filing 10 near our house, I spotted Spring Beauties, Pasque Flowers and Ball Cacti in bloom.

4/8/2012 A week later Jim E. wrote this from his walk on April 7: “Well, Saturday afternoon during my usual amble nearby, I spotted this early-blooming Ball Cactus – but seemingly much earlier than I’m aware.  Photographed ~noon today, these three. This Candytuft is another early bloomer – in the mustard family (Brassicaceae, formerly Cruciferae – note the four ‘cross’ petals).  What a pleasant surprise, the day before Easter.  Why the name ‘candytuft’ I won’t get into – too involved taxonomically. This, a real surprise – Sand Lily; and only one spotted! And in gravelly soil; but what else is there up here in this Sherman Granite?And today’s mid-afternoon saunter along the FS’ Mount Margaret Trail near Red Feather Lakes, a repeat of Pasqueflower (in a controlled burn; note charred fragment).  I reported this in bloom on the FS’ Elkhorn Creek Trail on April 2nd of last year, so this year’s blooms aren’t unusually early. Finally, yes – dandelion, which I don’t even have to show.”

Easter Daisy near Gate 13

Easter Daisy, Townsendia hookeri
Easter Daisy, Townsendia hookeri

4/9/2011 Jim E. found the beautiful early-bloomer Easter Daisy, Townsendia hookeri on his hike today along the North Rim Road (aka Gate 13). He keyed it out using his microscope and wrote that this species can be distinguished from and similar species, T. exscapa, by the:  “tuft of tangled cilia” at the tips of the phyllaries (bracts) below the head of flowers.  He also sent this description from  Weber & Wittmann “Blooming in early spring in open, rocky sagebrush. Widespread on the plains and outwash mesas of the Front Range.”  Thanks, Jim, for sending the beautiful photo.

First Blooms

4/2/2011 Email from Jim E.: “What a memorable high-country hike early afternoon, on this balmy but windy day on the US Forest Service’s Elkhorn Creek Trail at ~8,000 ft.  Its trailhead was renovated last year (I’d not even known it was there down the Log Cabin Road, which I’ve been on so many times).  To my amazement I spotted the first flowers of the season!  I could not believe it; had to go back to the truck for my digital camera.


Filing 8 Mystery Weed

Mountain Tansymustard, photo by LGB
Mountain Tansymustard, photo by LGB

7/26/2010 Email from Linda B: “Hello all, I was weeding in the greenbelt between Mt. Harvard and LaPlatta this morning (filing 8) and came across this plant. This is a new one for me. I couldn’t find a positive ID in my copy of Weeds of the West or in the various materials from the weed district or the state.

It is hairy on the stem, has leaves almost like a potentila, the flower on close inspection is more like a pea than a mustard. If anything, on first glance, to looked to me like a close relative of flixweed (a mustard) but the flowers occur on the tip end of the branches. I counted +/- 5 on one bracket, but they are teeny-tiny. The stem is round and the seed pods look like miniature pea pods….

I will keep this one around in some water for a while if anyone wants to inspect it further. Stop by. I’ll keep it on under my large covered front deck …. My yard of wildflowers is at peak just now too if anyone wants to drive past.”

7/26/2010 Email from Linda B with Renee P’s identification: “Hi all, Renee keyed this out; it is a variety of Descurainia (like flixweed) after all. Here is what she wrote… Interesting isn’t it? Cheers. Linda”

Renee wrote: “For me the odd one keys to Descurainia incana http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=109671

This links shows where it has been reported in co http://swbiodiversity.org/seinet/collections/list.php?type=1&taxa=Descurainia+incana&country=&state=colorado&county=&local=&upperlat=&upperlat_NS=N&bottomlat=&bottomlat_NS=N&leftlong=&leftlong_EW=W&rightlong=&rightlong_EW=W&pointlat=&pointlat_NS=N&pointlong=&pointlong_EW=W&radiustemp=&radiusunits=mi&radius=&collector=&collnum=&resetrecordcnt=1&display2.x=33&display2.y=18

Descurainia incana by Mary Ellen Harte
Descurainia incana by Mary Ellen Harte

7/29/2010 Notes from Ellen: Here is another link with lots of images from “Forestry Images” website (Forestry Images is a joint project of the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health, USDA Forest Service and International Society of Arboriculture. The University of Georgia – Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources and College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences) http://www.forestryimages.org/browse/subthumb.cfm?sub=12525.

I’ve inserted one here showing flowers and fruits. Descuraina incana is not on our GVM plant list so I will add it. Thanks Renee and Linda!! Has anyone else come across this one?

Madwort ID’d

Madwort
Madwort

Jim E sent two photos he took of this plant to Jennifer Ackerfield of the CSU Herbarium.

6/24/2010 Jennifer emailed: “Ah, you have Asperugo procumbens. I had it in my yard too this year. Weird little Boraginaceae with downward pointing bristles/hairs on the stem.”

6/24/2010 Jim’s response: “I thought it had to be a borage, what with the coarse ‘hairs’ —Weber & Wittmann say ‘The name borage comes from a Middle Latin source, burra, meaning rough hair or short wool, just as the modern work, bur.’ Somehow, I got trapped in the doublet that led to Symphytum and Anchusa. I should have looked a bit further to Asperugo. The description fits perfectly: ‘Flowers in the axils of the stem leaves; fruiting calyx much larger than the flowers; weakly-stemmed annual with retrorsely prickly hispid leaves. Asperugo Madwort.'”

Meager spring blooms this year

5/19/2010 Email from Jim E today: “I spotted a small plant with basal leaves and a flower cluster atop a stalk. It looked like a saxifrage, but not the one I’m familiar with.  Finally found it in the list under Saxifrage (Micranthes rhomdoidea) and it matches the figure in Weber & Wittmann.  Lots of Pasqueflower still, but little else other than Chiming Bells or Bluebells (Mertensia lanceolata).  And common, a close-to-the-ground Dwarf Mountain Fleabane (Erigeron compositus).

Perhaps early June, we might have another meadow amble to refresh some of the names of the herbaceous gems.  I’m at a loss for the short white-flowered mustard that looks like Candytuft.” Note from Ellen:  Jim keyed it out to Candytuft.

When a flower is not a flower

FalseArabis w Fungus4/4/2010 Email from Jim E.: “I spotted the bright yellow fungus on False Arabis (Boechera fendleri), a mustard, as I returned from my meadow walk. As Weber and Wittmann describe, “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 this in to ask what kind of wildflower it might be.” Here’s a photo from online….”