Friday, March 27, 2015

Wildflowers οκτώ

Penstemons near Fairy Falls, YNP

Another installment of wildflowers.  This time I'll focus mainly on desert wildflowers, but I'll start with one from the Yellowstone, Fairy Falls trip last summer.

Blue Eyed Grass
Sisyrinchium idahoense

Blue eyed grass near Fairy Falls, YNP

and another

and another

At first I mistook this plant for deadly nightshade because of the coloring.  It grows below 7,900 feet above sea level in moist, grassy meadows and open woodlands.  It can be found along stream banks.  These specimens were discovered near Fairy Falls in Yellowstone.


Evening Primrose
Oenothera caespitosa

Evening primrose on the R Mountain

again

Closed

Seed pods

Closed in full sun

Closed

I don't know much about the evening primrose, but I know it's a desert plant and has a long woody taproot.  One man's weed is another man's wildflower I suppose.  I thought they were interesting though.  The evening primrose opens later in the day, toward evening sometimes.  I think it also opens in the shade which is the case for the ones I saw.  The bloom can open in under a minute.  They grow in disturbed soil, and that's about all I know about them.


Prickly Pear
Opuntia macroorhiza

Prickly Pear

Single bloom

bud

and another

Different looking bloom

I have lived in the sagebrush steppes of Idaho for thirty-eight years and have seen many prickly pear cacti.  A couple of years ago we took a hike along the Henry's Fork of the Snake River and I saw prickly pear cacti that had been in bloom.  It dawned on me I had never seen one in bloom in all the years I have lived here.  I decided last year to rectify that.  We took a hike in June on the R Mountain, which is an extinct volcano west of town.  We also walked through a lava flow at Hell's Half Acre and we spotted prickly pear in bloom in both places.  The photos above are from the R Mountain.  The ones below will be from Hell's Half Acre Lava Flow.

Prickly pear at Hell's Half Acre

Cluster

With the pollinator

Another cluster


Sagebrush Mariposa Lily
Calochortus macrocarpus

Sagebrush mariposa lily

and it's brother

a first cousin

And the red-headed stepchild

The sagebrush mariposa lily is found from Oregon to Montana, eastern Washington up through parts of western Canada.  It was once very common and I believe the bulb was used as a food source.  Development, agriculture and cattle grazing have exiled this majestic flower to lava rock outcrops and steep rocky hillsides where cattle have a hard time existing.  We were fortunate enough to see several of these both on our hike of the R Mountain and our walk through the lava flow at Hell's Half Acre last June.  Those pictured above are from the R Mountain and those below are from Hell's Half Acre.

Sagebrush mariposa lily with the pollinator

Side view from Hell's Half Acre

Thanks for reading, I've enjoyed hunting these wildflowers for the last two or three years.  Nature is never boring.


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