Friday, May 29, 2015

Jolly Green Gentians

It looks like we're finally out of our wet cycle and can start enjoying summer. I was able to get on a couple trails for the first time this year and found some great bloomers! As I mentioned last week, there's still a wide range of flowers out there from the earliest ones that are usually done by now to the late Spring flowers that we usually see this time of year.

I came down the Box o' Rox trail and found some Green Gentians, also known as Monument Plant or Elkweed. I don't see these on Green Mountain every year but they're a really interesting plant. They can live for over 60 years and only flower once. For the first 3-4 years they start developing roots without sending up any leaves. As they save up their strength, they produce a rosette of leaves, that is, a group of shiny long (10-12") leaves coming from a central spot. Finally, after years of growth, they have enough energy to produce a flower and it's a cool one. The stalk can be up to 7' tall. The plants I saw today are about 3' tall, but are still growing. The flowers are white and green and have four petals in a distinctive cross shape, with four green pointed sepals between the petals. Interesting plant--I'm really surprised to see it blooming so early.
Close-up of Green Gentian or Monument Plant

These are the Green Gentians along the Box o' Rox Trail on 5/29
Just above the tall middle flower you can see a rosette of leaves which will produce flowers in some future Springtime!

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