Sunday, April 5, 2015

An early Welcome to Springtime

Welcome back to Springtime!  After a warm March, we're seeing wildflowers blooming earlier than ever on Green Mountain. We actually had a decent amount of winter moisture so that may be contributing to the early wildflower show. Normally at the first of April we're just getting started, but there are about 10 species of wildflowers that are blooming already.

Several members of the Pea family are out--Early Purple Vetch (Astragalus shortianus) and Ground Plum (Astragalus crassicarpus). Yellow Violets (Viola nuttallii) and Golden Banner (Thermopsis rhombifolia) cover the hillsides in many areas on the south side.

One of the most spectacular flowers on the mountain is the Mountain Ball Cactus (Pediocactus simpsonii). These small round cactus develop bright pink flowers early in the season and usually only for a couple weeks. There are several blooming on the south side of the mountain. I've never seen them near the parking lots at Florida or Utah, but head up the trails from there (esp Utah) and you'll find them at about 2/3 of the way to the top. There is a nice little cactus garden at one of the switchbacks, and you'll be pleased with the flowers you find!
Mountain Ball Cactus
This is a picture I've used before, but there are some great photo opps for you up the trail!

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