Category Archives: Wildflowers

Madwort ID’d


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….”

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).”