Saturday, July 5, 2008

Colorful Wildflowers

Monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus)
Seeing the colorful fireworks last night made me decide to have a colorful blog post today. The wildflowers are going crazy. The ones on the valley bottom are mostly shriveled up, but as we head up in elevation, it just gets better and better.

Palmer's penstemon (Penstemon palmeri) is a tall flower, approaching 3 feet, with clusters of vibrant pink blossoms at the top of each stem. It's found along roadsides from sagebrush-steppe to pinyon-juniper. It's sometimes called balloon flower.

Firecracker penstemon (Penstemon eatonii) are vibrant red and attention getting. I bought some seeds from a native seed nursery that I will plant this fall, and hopefully next summer I will be getting this color right in my own yard.

Thickleaf Penstemon (Penstemon pachphyllus) contrasts with the others due to its blue color. The penstemons have recently been reclassified from the Figwort (Scophulariaceae) family to the Plantain (Plantaginaceae) family. I'm wondering how they feel about that.

The Sunflower (Asteraceae) family has a huge number of flowers in it, many of them yellow. This one, Basin Butterweed (Senecio multilobatus), isn't too hard to distinguish with the many, small yellow ray flowers and the deeply divided leaves. 

Nodding Microseris (Microseris nutans) is widespread throughout the western U.S. It's less than a foot tall.

Northwestern paintbrush (Castilleja angustifolia) is found up to 10,000 feet, but is most common in the sage steppe. I bought some paintbrush seeds to plant this fall, but I've been warned that since this plant has a parasitic relationship with nearby plants, particularly sagebrush, it's unlikely that it will last beyond one year. Paintbrush is still in the figwort family. Are they lonely now that the penstemons moved out?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

neat header picture!

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