Saturday, June 22, 2013

Some great summer flowers

Over the last week some of the really interesting summer flowers have started showing up.  The Mariposa Lilies (Calochortus gunnisonii) are all over the mountain.  They look good from a distance, but looking inside them is like looking in one of those sugar Easter eggs with a whole new world inside the calyx.  Lilies always have each flower part in 3's and you can easily see the three petals and six anthers the male, pollen bearing part) when you look inside.  The flower opens up to welcome pollinators and you there's lots of pollen to go around!
Mariposa Lily
The Prickly Poppies (Argemne polyanthemos) are just starting to open up, but I've seen them in several spots on both the north and south side along the trails.  Like the poppies in your garden the petals unfold from the bud into a papery white blossom that ripples in the wind.  Inside the petals are a bunch of bright yellow anthers (thus poly (many) anthemos (anthers) in the name.)  The pistil, or female part of the flower is the bright red button in the middle.
Prickly Poppy
One last white flower that is unusual, but doing pretty well this year is a White Larkspur (Delphinium carolinianum).  Some years there may only be a couple on the mountain, but they can be found in several places this year, including right above the Utah Ave parking lot.  The more common Larkspur is a small purple one that blooms very early.  This one is tall (up to 24" on GM) very pale purple to white, and has purple spots on the flower.  It's pretty distinctive with a spur coming out the back of the flower.  Look for it!
White Larkspur

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