29 April 2012

Spring in Boulder

It's hard to believe that it has almost been a month since Lindsay and I were on the front range in Boulder, Colorado.  While there, we hiked the Hogback Ridge Trail with Eric, Lisa, Julia, and Kyler Fairlee.

A majestic Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa)
This ~2 mile trail begins in xeric tallgrass prairie and inclines steeply into a montane community, rising in elevation several hundred feet.

Pasque Flower (Pulsatilla patens ssp. multifida)
One of the highlights of the hike was seeing Pasque Flower (Pulsatilla patens ssp. multifida), a plant I have wanted to see since moving to Indiana. For more information on this plant and for additonal photos, check out my post at Get Your Botany On!.

Common Starlily (Leucocrinum montanum)
With large, white, six tepaled flowers and sharply contrasting yellow-orange anthers, Common Starlily (Leucocrinum montanum) will stop you dead in your tracks (at least it stopped me... several times). Found in rocky and sandy soil in prairies, deserts, and open forests throughout the western United States, Sand Lily, as it is also known, completely withers away after flowering, and the fruiting capsule becomes buried amongst its finger-like roots.

Field Chickweed (Cerastium arvense)
Although many of the chickweeds are not native to the United States, Field Chickweed (Cerastium arvense) is native, and it occurs as one of a handful of varieties in open to partially shaded areas throughout most of North America and worldwide .  In fact, I saw this species flowering in northern Indiana today.

Prairie False Dandelion (Nothocalais cuspidata)
According to Eric, one of his favorite spring wildflowers on the front range is Prairie False Dandelion (Nothocalais cuspidata).  This showy composite is known from grasslands and prairies from Canada to Texas in the central 1/3 of North America.

Western Springbeauty (Claytonia rosea)
I always enjoy finding plants in another part of the country that resemble plants we have in the Great Lakes states.  Western Springbeauty (Claytonia rosea) was no exception.  This springbeauty has a range that is restricted to Montana, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and New Mexico, where it grows on montane hillsides and mesas.

Northern Idaho Biscuitroot (Lomatium orientale)
And then there are the plants that are nothing like anything we have in the Great Lakes states but that have similar common names.  The plant above, sometimes referred to as Salt and Pepper (not to be confused with Erigenia bulbosa of the eastern United States), is in the carrot family (Apiaceae) and is an early bloomer with red anthers that contrast with the white petals.

Wax Currant (Ribes cereum)
I really like the genus Ribes, and it seems that I get to see a species new to me on every botanical vacation that I take.  On this trip, we found Wax Currant (Ribes cereum), a plant of the western United States.  Wax Currant grows in shrubby areas and open forests on rocky slopes and cliffs. 

Nuttall's Violet (Viola nuttallii)
The violets are a diverse group of related plants, with flowers ranging in color from blue to white to yellow, with leaves ranging in shap from lanceolate to heart-shaped to arrowhead shaped, and with or without stems.  Nuttall's Violet, named after famed 19th century English botanist and naturalist Thomas Nuttall, is certainly unique.  It is know from Idaho to Minnesota and south to New Mexico, where it occurs in prairies, grasslands, and open woodlands.

Hogback Ridge
Thanks to Eric and Lisa for taking us on this excellent early spring hike to see a great Colorado natural area.


EcoRover said...

Great blog! I enjoy your wildflower pics.

Scott Namestnik said...

Thanks, EcoRover!