Sunday, May 26, 2013

Peas for Memorial Day

Memorial Day weekend is usually near the peak of wildflower viewing on Green Mountain, and even though we're about a week behind normal there are lots of flowers just opening up.

There are several members of the pea family blooming now.  Most peas bloom early in the season and some have seeds that look like little pea pods.  The most prominent one this weekend is Drummonds Milkvetch (Astragalus drummondii).  Some people think it looks like a white Indian Paintbrush, with stalks of white flowers above hairy leaves.  Some others you'll see are Ground Plum (Astragalus crassicarpus), Early Purple Vetch (Astragalus shortianus) and American Vetch (Vicia americana).  

Drummonds Milkvetch

Early Purple Vetch

The Groundplum and Early Purple Vetch hug the ground, while the Drummonds stands tall.  


American Vetch

The American Vetch is a different species from the other three. If you look at the end of the leaflets there is a tendril that can it uses to grab onto other plants for support.

The other two peas are more showy and may be more familiar.  Golden Banner (Thermopsis divaricata) make a bright gold splash on the hillsides. They  won't be around much longer so enjoy them now.  But the Lupines (Lupinus caudatus) have just started opening up in the last few days.  Along with the penstemons that will be opening soon, they're one of the showiest of the big flowers on the mountain.  Enjoy the weekend!
Golden Banner
Silver Lupine 

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