Sunday, May 17, 2015

Everything's bustin' out

We finally have the May weather we've been looking for and as I look up at Green Mountain this morning it's all blue sky and green grass.  The wildflowers are spectacular right now and I'm hoping to get one more run across the top to check it out before leaving town for a few days. 

We had about 35 people show up for wildflower hikes yesterday. We had a great morning with interesting hikers and lots of variety on the trail. My group hiked from the main parking area west to the Utah Ave. parking and spotted over 30 different flowers. (I wasn't keeping count!) Thanks to everyone who came out!

This year really shows how one family can benefit from a weather pattern. We have lots of different peas (Fabaceae is the official name) blooming. The earliest are still out--yellow Golden Banner (Thermopsis rhombifolia) and purple Short's Milkvetch (Astragalus shortianus). Drummond's Milkvetch (Astragalus drummondii) is the white bushy flower that's all over the hillside. There's also Locoweed (Oxytropis lambertii), one of the most distinctive
of the peas, it's bright fuchsia flowers brightening the trail.

Lambert's Locoweed
The moisture we've had for the last couple weeks (>3" on our rain gauge) has really lengthened the season for the early flowers while the mid-Spring blooms are still coming out a little earlier than usual. 

Penstemons are reaching their peak, with the lavender One-sided Penstemon (Penstemon secundiflorus) in sunnier areas and the little Blue Mist Penstemon (P. virens) dominantly on the north side of the mountain.  

Paintbrush (Castilleja integra) and Bladderpods (Physaria montanum and vitulifera) and Cinquefoil (Drymocallis fissa) add their bright orange and gold to the scene.

Everyone's favorite--Paintbrush 
There are many less common flowers blooming that are fun to run across because of their rarity. I've seen a few Death Camas (Tolxicoscordion venenosum) on some northerly exposures.

Get out and take a closer look--you'll be surprised at what you can find!

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