One of my favorite flowers up there, and one that we occasionally see on Green Mountain, is the Green Gentian or Monument Plant. It's unlike any other gentian, which are usually small purple flowers that bloom in late summer. This one grows to 6' tall and is covered with four-leafed green blossoms.In mountain meadows you find them blooming fairly commonly, but it's not an easy life for these big showy plants.
Green Gentians are monocarpic, meaning they flower once and die. But this flowering happens at the end of a long life, since at high altitudes, or even at our moderate elevation of 6000'+, it takes a long time for the plants to become big enough to flower. For most of its life, the Green Gentian appears as a bunch of shiny leaves low to the ground. When it finally has enough strength accumulated, it's bursts forth, producing a shower of seeds to start the cycle over again. Researchers at the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab (RMBL), in Gothic, Colorado, have watched the same plants as they re-leaf every spring--for over 40 years! It's thought that many Green Gentians live 60 years before blooming. Talk about patience!
|Green Gentian (Frasera speciosa) waiting patiently|
|Green Gentian finally blooming!|
|Purple Prairie Clover (Dalea purpurea) with Golden Asters|