Friday, August 23, 2019

WOW! What outstanding wildflowers!

By Sandy Hollingsworth, Gilpin County Master Gardener
2019 is one of those banner years for our native wildflowers in the forests, public lands, and our neighborhoods.  With the wet Spring and then repeated rains this summer, the seeds have sprouted and the flowers are in bloom.  Another benefit of the wet earth is the lower wildfire risk in our local mountains and where we live in rural Gilpin County. And our cool season high elevation vegetable gardens are happy and productive!
Wildflower enthusiasts in Golden Gate State Park (author at the far right)

Our CSU Extension office offers wildflower walks in the summer during peak bloom color. I went on one the last day of July on a beautiful Wednesday morning. Our group was focused and inquisitive about learning the flowers. Many questions were asked about identifying characteristics to help recognize and remember the flowers and plants. We were in the local state park and encountered some noxious weeds like yellow toadflax (Linaria vulgaris) and musk thistle (Carduus nutans) but by and large the native flowers, grasses and trees were dominating. Our Extension agent, Irene, even showed us her technique for toppling the musk thistle by bending it to the ground, stomping on it, taking the flower head off then pulling up and tossing the remaining stalk to its demise.

Among the native flowers (and plants) in bloom that we admired and examined were:
Harebell                               Campanula rotundifolia
Tansy aster (yellow center)  Erigeron speciosus
Shrubby cinquefoil              Potentilla fruticosa
Gum weed (sticky flowerheads) Grindelia squarrosa
Wild Rose                            Rosa woodsii
Yarrow                                Achillea millefolium (lantana)
Evening primrose               Oenothera villosa
Whiplash daisy                   Erigeron flagellaris
Mariposa/sego Lilly           Calochortus gunnisonii
Blue mist Penstemon         Penstemon virens
Lamberts locoweed           Oxytropis lambertii
Laxman’s Astragalus        Astragalus laxmannii
Hairy golden aster            Heterotheca villosa         
Showy aspen daisy           Erigeron speciosus
Sulphur buckwheat          Eriogonum umbellatum
One-sided penstemon      Penstemon virgatus
Fringed sage                    Artemisia frigida
Blanketflower                  Gaillardia aristata
Blanket Flower (with Yarrow in front)
Mountain sage                    Artemisia ludoviciana
Nodding Onion                  Allium cernuum
Northern bedstraw (scented)     Galium septentrionale
Stick seed Hackelia          Hackelia floribunda
Native thistle                    Cirsium clavatum (whitish flowers)
Mountain larkspur           Delphinium ramosum
Indian paintbrush (scarlet and white) Castilleja miniata and occidentalis
Indian Paintbrush
Wild geranium                       Geranium caespitosum
Stonecrop                              Amerosedum lanceolatum
Scorpion weed                       Phacelia heterophylla
Fendlers meadow rue            Thalictrum fendlerii
Twin berry honeysuckle        Lonicera involucrata
Nodding brome (native grass)    Bromus anomalus
Golden rod                        Solidago simplex
Prairie June grass              Koeleria macrantha
Native cinquefoils             Potentilla argentea, speciosa, and pensylvanica
Fendlers sand wort            Eremogene fendleri
Mountain parsley             Cymopterus montanus
Whiskbroom parsley        Harboria
Wild tarragon                  Oligosporus dracunculus
Limber pine                     Pinus flexulis
Blue spruce                     Picea pungens
Wall flower                     Erysimum capitatum
Kinnikinnick                  Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
Scarlet gilia (biennial)   Ipomopsis aggregata
Scarlet gilia
Golden banner                Thermopsis divaricarpa
Yellow false dandelion  Agoseris
Horsetail                       Equisetum
Black eye Susan           Rudbeckia hirta
Blue flax                       Linum lewisii
Smooth penstemon      Penstemon glaber
Porter aster
Porter aster                  Symphyotricum porteri
Pea Vine                      Lathyrus polymorphis
Snowberry bush          Symphoricarpus alba
Showy goldeneye       Heliomeris (Viguera) multiflora

Sandy Hollingsworth is a Master Gardener with  Gilpin County.  All photos by Sandy.

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