Category Archives: Wildflowers

Spring Comes Late to GVM

4/4/2010 Email from Jim E: “Spring has still not sprung after two weeks …but Western Spring Beauty (Claytonia rosea) has on the slopes of my place (at 7,500′). And here it’s Easter, yet our early bloomer of Easter season, the Pasqueflower (Pulsatilla ludoviciana) has yet to appear!”

First Spring Beauty seen March 22

Western Spring Beauty
Western Spring Beauty

Jim emailed on 3/22/2010: “A single blossom of Western Spring Beauty (Claytonia rosea) I spotted on an open, south-facing slope by my house this afternoon. Last week I saw just the leaves of this very early bloomer, yet it’s likely it may have burst into flower — yes, two days ago on the vernal equinox. Spring. The second herbaceous species that I’ve seen in flower.” Jim added this description from Weber and Wittman: “An extremely early bloomer in pine forests, outer foothills of the Front Range.”

Early Blue-eyed Mary Spotted

Blue-eyed Mary

3/3/2010 Jim E. emailed what may be the first flower blooming in GVM this year, thanks Jim!! He wrote:  “Collinsia parviflora, spotted today as I sat on my granite bench, leaning up against the granite cliff-face west of my house.

My eye first caught the bright green of a moss, likely Tortula ruralis. But then the extremely tiny bloom of the above, the basal leaves tinged in purple, unmistakable. Weber and Wittmann (2001) say “Very common but inconspicuous and delicate annual, blossoming very early at low altitudes. … Leaves usually strongly purplish-tinged.

Another Blue-eyed Mary image, click to enlarge

I’d say that March 3rd IS an early bloom! You may recall that we displayed same at GVM’s Annual Meeting last June. That, along with an array of shrubs, mostly in the Rose Family, that were in bloom then. Possibly a note in your EcoBlog. In the Figwort Family, along with Indian Paintbrush and the many Beard-tongues (Penstemon).”

Sept Flowers, Tree History featured on Nature Walk

9/7/2009 Jim E. led a nature walk in the Forest Service inholding at Haystack Dr with Andre, Ellen, Judy, Karen D., Mary, Warren & Wynne on a partly sunny September afternoon. We started with an overview by Jim’s truck with a poster that included a table entitled “The World’s Oldest Known Trees,” and displays of annual sunflower, valerian root, and fetid marigold. Jim passed around the valerian root (the plant is called edible valerian or tobacco root) for us to smell and he read about its medicinal uses

Trees:  Jim showed the trees that he identified for Laurie Huckaby and John Popp, of the U.S. Forest Service,  as potentially very old trees from the 1500s. He pointed out these old trees may have survived due to protection by surrounding rocks.

10/16/09 Jim emailed additional information: “During the May 20th outing with Laurie Huckaby, the local USFS’s key researcher on the fire history of this northern region, she said the few old meadow trees belonged to that ~1500 A.D. cohort, a period of ample moisture. Indeed, she’d cored a large ponderosa in that cluster, untouched by beetles. The pith date: 1575, with her estimated real age of 1535. Yet she’s found 700-800 year-old ponderosas up in the Red Mountain area to the north. Roughly 200-year intervals occur between cohorts, established during off-year drought cycles. The oldest known ponderosa — 880-890 — was found in Utah. That, based on a table, ‘The World’s Oldest Known Trees’ in a USGS/USFS poster (no date), Colorado’s Ancient Trees.”

Mountain Pine beetle: We saw several pine beetle-infested trees that had been cut down within a cluster of infested trees. The wood was then stacked and wrapped in plastic by the U.S. Forest service.

Flowers: yarrow, blanket flower, gumweed, black-eyed susan, smooth white aster or Porter aster, valerian, yellow owl-clover, yellow sweet-clover, bottle gentian, tansy aster, golden aster,

Grasses: squirreltail, shortawn foxtail, June-grass, timothy.

Batterson Greenbelt Survey June 21 2008

Info added 9/1/09 Because of the Houndstonque at Gate 10 discussion…more info will be forthcoming.

Who: Linda Bell, Chana Fuller and Ellen Heath spent 7 person-hours working at the Batterson Greenbelt, where Charlie Bell and Butters Fuller accompanied us.
Weather: Sunny, low 70s
Description: At the Batterson Greenbelt, we mapped (with a Garmin nuvi 650) and weeded nine sites, see Google Earth map below. Linda helped us identify penny cress (PC), tumble mustard (TM), flixweed (FW), kochia (KO), and hound’s tongue (HT) which were there along with the usual suspects: Canada thistle (CT), Musk thistle (MT) and Dalmatian toadflax (DT). This area was very diverse and a nice contrast to Crellin Lake in terms of overall species diversity.

Map Notes:
Site 1–In a 50 ft diameter area, we clipped and bagged PC that had gone to seed, pulled or hand weed whacked KO, FW, and TM
Sites 2,3,4,6 — These were four test areas Linda Bell had flagged (last year?) to study the effects of stripping the leaves off of DT to weaken them. The numbers on the map indicate the number of plants in each 20 foot diameter area. Linda and Chana stripped the leaves in a downward motion.
Site 5 — This 50 ft diameter site had 100s of TM that we weed whacked before giving up.
Site 7 — We identified a 100 ft diameter area of disturbed soil as a weed hotspot that should be sprayed. The site had it all: CT, MT, HT, PC, F AND it is above Judd and Linda’s property. See photo.
Sites 8, 9 — These two sites are riparian areas with CT, MT.

Linda Bell’s Notes:

On June 24, 2008 Linda Bell emailed “Thanks Ellen for your very comprehensive notes and pictures. Just wanted to follow up with my own list of invasive plants from the reference names used in Weeds of the West. Cheers. Linda

Discussed, identified, not managed:
Stinging nettles
Canada thistle
Field bindweed
Smooth scouringrush (equisetum)
Cow parnisp

Identified and managed in very limited way
Dalmatian toadflax
Common mullein
Musk thistle
Western sticktight
Smallseed falseflax
Tumble mustard (Jim Hill)
Field pennycress
Prickly lettuce (white sap)”

Paul’s Utah Field Update

6/27/09 : “Here are a few more pics from the Utah DER, maybe you could post a few on the blog you created?  I also made a comment on our work there and my next project at Camp Gurnsey.  Thanks for posting this stuff up!” Read the details from Paul’s email by clicking the link below his photos….

Continue reading Paul’s Utah Field Update

Crellin Trails Maintenance & Plant Photos

June 28, 2009: Our June work day was a multipurpose one: Peggy weeded and identified problem spots on the Nature Trail, Jeff and Judd brought weed-eaters to clear the West Crellin trail, Judd diverted water from a slippery spot on the #4 marker on the Nature Trail, Jim and Ellen started a photo catalog of plants on the Nature Trail and removed a few Canada and musk thistles too. Person-hours worked: 7.5 Weeding and Trails Maintenance, 5 Plant Photo Catalog.

Crellin Lake: Just add water!

Exciting update from Jeff:”I thought that maybe others in the community would enjoy taking a peek at the progress we have made at Crellin Lake. This beatiful spring of 2009 is really contributing to our success of rebeautifying the neighborhood. The constant trickle of runoff and natural spring waters has created a reality where once only a picture in are minds existed.

Crellin Lake is nearing capacity. We are seeing a rise in water level of about 2″/day. That, coupled with the growth and maturity of some natural and hand-sown grasses, has made for a most picturesque setting and community recreation spot.

I took a relaxing stroll around the lake this morning, June 9th, and snapped a few pictures of Crellin Lake and the immediate surroundings. Hope you enjoy the view as much as I did. Regards, Jeff Gibford

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.”


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.”



Continue reading May Wildflowers