Saturday, June 15, 2013

Summer Arrives

A couple weeks of hot weather and all of a sudden the Spring flowers are giving way to the Summer blooms.  Penstemon are still looking good although the Blue Mist are showing signs of the heat.  

Summer brings flowers with lots of yellow.  The Bush Sunflower (Helianthus pumilis) and Golden Aster (Heterotheca villosa) are all over.  The Common Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) isn't out yet that I've seen and usually we don't have as many as the Bush Sunflower except along roadsides.  It's easy to tell them apart because the Common Sunflower has a brown center.  One other Sunflower\-like late Spring flower is the Blanketflower (Gallardia aristata).  It's the most colorful of the bunch with a bright red center.

Common Sunflower
Bush Sunflower

Another interesting little flower is the Sulfurflower (Eriogonum umbellatum) .  This is a kind of buckwheat and has flowers in an umbel (like an umbrella) and all the leaves are at the base.  These flowers will last for a month or so and another, larger, relative, James Buckwheat will take over as the Sulfurflowers fade.

One of the things I find interesting about tracking when things bloom is that some years a particular wildflower will be abundant, but the next year there will only be a few.  A couple years ago Yellow Sweet Clover (Melolitus officinale) covered the mountain.  I thought they would take over and choke out lots of the natives, but the next year and, ever since, they've been scattered around but nowhere near the profusion of 2009.

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