By Susan Carter, CSUE Tri River Area Horticulture and Natural Resource Agent
With drought through much of Western Colorado, and lower snow amounts in many areas, snow melt was earlier this year than normal. We start our CSU Extension Native Plant Master courses at lower elevations in the Tri River Area and head higher, beginning in April and typically into August. This year during the first two classes we noticed the plants were done! Many shriveling from drought and others already going to seed. So once we heard and saw that the wildflowers on the Grand Mesa were blooming, we moved that class earlier, and boy are we glad we did.
As I am writing this article, it is actually raining- YES! That will help the flowers. Some of the flowers on the Grand Mesa seemed to be a super bloom or stellar bloom at that. The five nerved sunflower was one of those that was amazing. It is called five nerved as it has a mid-vein and four side veins. The flowers always face to the east, so this is a good one if you get lost.
|Subalpine meadow. Photo by Susan Carter|
|Brephidium exile, butterfly, on Aster|
While walking through the wildflowers, take time to look
down. We have so many small flowers that
you might not notice. An example would be Rock Androsacea, Easter daisies or the trailing
daisy. It is also good to appreciate
that some plants like the Monument plant (also known as Elk weed because the
elk like to eat it), only bloom once in their life time! So there is much to appreciate while you are
taking a walk through the wildflowers.
Ladybug on Fleabane, Susan Carter photo
From All of us on the Grand Mesa, Take care and enjoy.