Sunday, June 8, 2014

Meanwhile, up in the hills...

I had a chance for a Spring visit to Crested Butte last week, and with the big snows melting off, it looks like a spectacular wildflower season.  This earlier varieties of flowers are shorter, but they are abundant.  The Glacier Lilies and Spring Beauties cover big areas, making the ground yellow and pink.  Things like Columbine aren't blooming yet, but there's lots of larkspur and the lupine are opening up.

The Crested Butte Wildflower Festival will be held July 6-12.  There are lots of planned hikes during that week, but any time in July can be considered the high season for flowers.  If you go, you can pick up information on where to go and wildflower identification guides at the information center in town.
Glacier Lily (Erythronium grandiflorum)
Back on Green Mountain we've seen the first of the sunflower varieties coming out.  This signals the start of the summer flowers to me.  These are members of the Aster Family, and are really complex flowers even though they're so familiar.  Each of the petals lining the bloom is actually a flower in itself, called a ray flower.  Think of the rays of the sun. In the "pincushion" in the center are hundreds more flowers, called disk flowers.  When you see a sunflower with all the seeds in the center, each seed came from one flower.  If you get a magnifying glass you can see that each one has its own flower structure to it.  

Blanketflower is one of the prettiest we have on Green Mountain, and I've see several of them blooming this week.  There are a few Bush Sunflowers, too.  These have centers that are yellow, as opposed to the Common Sunflowers which should be out in a week or two.  Those have dark brown disk flowers.
Blanketflower (Gaillardia aristata)

1 comment:

  1. I was glad to see your blog about GM wildflowers and printed it out. My hobby is birds, but I want to diversify into other nature. Please contact me about any wildflower hikes you do, either on Green Mountain or elsewhere. Thanks. Bob Shade 303-975-2476