Here in GVM we have a variety of native plant habitats. There are mountain meadows, forests, streams, wetlands, canyons and rocky cliffs. The meadows and forests overlap in terms of understory flora.
The meadows here are a mix of native and non-native grasses along with wildflowers. Smooth brome is a pasture grass that is extremely abundant in our area. Common wildflowers include yarrow, showy goldeneye, arnica, beardtongue, larkspur, yellow buckwheat (sulfur flower), blanket flower, lupine and miner’s candle. Early spring is marked first by the appearance of the easter daisy and the beautiful pasqueflower. The fall is usually marked by the appearance of fireweed.
The forests are dominated by ponderosa pine although some stands of quaking aspen are present too. Douglas-fir is abundant on slopes and in canyons. Shrubs in the ponderosa forest include bitterbrush, rabbitbrush and wax currant. The understory typically includes kinnikinnick, pussytoes, fringed sage, Indian paintbrush, golden aster, green gentian (aka elkweed) and phlox.
Streams in GVM are mainly dominated by water hemlock, angelica, cow parsnip and willows. Wetlands here are characteristically dominated by tufted hairgrass, sedges and rushes of which there are many species. Snowberries, shrubby cinquefoil and stinging nettles often line the edges.
Of all the canyons in GVM, Crellin Canyon is the most floristically rich. The trail system there makes it easy for any wildflower lover to explore the diversity. There are beautiful flowers such as virgin’s bower, raspberries, shooting stars, monkeyflower and a long list of others there. The overstory in Crellin Canyon contains narrowleaf cottonwood, alder, water birch and chokecherry as well as Douglas-fir and ponderosa pine. There is a little poison ivy in the canyon, so be on the lookout!
Plants that grow in the crevices of rock outcrops are called chasmophytes. The brittle bladder fern and the Rocky Mtn woodsia fern are common there.
Click here for a list of vascular plant species observed in GVM.
Four books of wildflower descriptions, photos, and dried specimens assembled by former Ecology member Judy Corwin are available for review only in the HOA office.