Friday, August 9, 2013

Wildflowers: 4th

Garrett and his mother hiking through a wildflower meadow

The Northern Rockies are a great place to see wildflowers.  I had no idea there was such a great variety of wildflowers here.  I have been interested in wildflowers for most of my life, but it was always something I put off learning too much about, waiting for someday to come.  Someday is here and we've been enjoying the journey.

Sego Lily
Calochortus nuttallii
Liliaceae

Sego Lily

Sego Lily
I had heard of Sego Lilies since I was a child, but never had known what they were or what they looked like.  We learned in the fourth grade that Sego Lilies were used as a food source in this area by the native peoples, the early Mormon settlers and the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

I viewed these specimens at the trailhead to Sheep Falls in Island Park, Idaho on July 7th, 2012.  The Sheep Falls trailhead is found by turning on the first road after mile marker 369 on Highway 20, heading north towards Yellowstone.  The dirt road goes for several miles through a lodgepole forest and the trailhead is a marked sideroad on the left.  Many great wildflowers on this trail.

Sickletop Lousewort
Pedicularis racemosa
Scrophulariaceae
(Figwort family)

Sickletop Lousewort
This specimen was also photographed on the Sheep Falls trip. 

It is related to the snapdragon.

Sickletop Lousewort

This specimen was photographed on the Darby Canyon trip


Wild Buckwheat
(Subalpine Buckwheat)
Eregonum umbellatum
Polygonaceae

Wild Buckwheat
I photographed this wild buckwheat on the Sheep Falls trip

Wild Buckwheat

Wild Buckwheat
Both of these photographs were taken on the Darby Canyon trip on July 25th, 2012.  It's interesting to note that these plants were within five feet of each other.

Wild Buckwheat comes in several colors including white, yellow, pink, purple and light blue.  I hope to photograph all of it's varieties.

Wild Buckwheat
This specimen was observed in Yellowstone National Park, July 30th, 2013 at the Virginia Meadows near Little Gibbon Falls.  I added this one to show the depth of color I have observed so far.

Lewis Monkeyflower
Mimulus lewisii
Phrymaceae

Lewis Monkeyflower

Lewis Monkeyflower shrub
When I first saw this flower, I didn't believe it was a wildflower.  I thought it was a type of dwarf petunia that well intentioned but misguided people had planted to beautify the travel stop/picnic area at Howard Springs on the way to Yellowstone on Highway 20.  I thought as much because the plant was so perfect it appeared to have been domesticated.  I kept coming back to it and eventually found it in the literature described just as I found it.

This Lewis Monkeyflower was observed growing on the bank of the runoff stream at Howard Springs.  It was abundant at the sight and I observed it again one year later at the same location.  The wayside area of Howard Springs is a great place to observe wildflowers.  I found the Lewis Monkeyflower growing next to Yellow Monkeyflower at this location.

Lewis Monkeyflower is so named for Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Lewis Monkeyflower

This picture was taken at the same location, one year later.

Deadly Nightshade
Belladonna atropa
Solanaceae

Deadly Nightshade

Deadly Nightshade

Deadly Nightshade
I found this pretty purple flower on our river walk in Saint Anthony, Idaho on July 22nd, 2013.  I thought it was really pretty and considered taking some home with me.  I didn't and am glad of that.  Turns out it was deadly nightshade, one of the most poisonous plants on the face of the earth.  Pretty cool, though.

I am enjoying this hobby.  Like I needed another hobby.


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