Thursday, July 2, 2009

Orange Crush Part 4 of 4: Desert (and some mountain) Perennials

This is it. The final installment. File under Plants of the Week #10: Perennials of the Desert Southwest (and San Juan mountains of CO).

Clematis, can you believe it? Have you ever seen nicer clematis? NO YOU HAVE NOT. At least I think that's what it is but I have to come clean. I don't remember. Rick and Lynne will tell us! San Juan National Forest, CO.

This one's easy. Mule's ears. Wyethia amplexicaulis Not to be confused with Balsamroot, the shorter, gray-leaved, more drought tolerant version of this. Ute Indian Reservation, San Juan Mountains, CO.

Lewisia nevadaensis. Nevada bitterroot. I'm actually excited typing this because it's such a rare find, and lewisia's in general are such interesting, delicate little plants. To be treasured. San Juan National Forest, CO.

Holy paintbrush, batman. This burst of color looks like a cartoon explosion. Castilleja chromosa. Chimney Rock, CO.


Prince's plume, Stanlea pinnata. The presence of this species indicates selenium-bearing soils. Fascinating. I actually do find it fascinating. Above Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon, AZ.

Penstemon sp. I'm not sure which one, maybe Dusty penstemon? It was growing in a dusty place (Chaco Canyon, AZ) but I bet dusty refers to the dusty green leaves.

Penstemon eatonii, Eaton's penstemon. Near Indian Creek, Canyonlands, UT.

Ahh, my favorite - and I mean favorite - desert wildflower. Sphaeralcea coccinia, Common globemallow. It's common out there, not common up here; it will grow in my desert garden some day. Right next to the 3-tip sagebrush we liberated from the cabin in Montana and under the 10 madrones we have in pots on our patio - just waiting to be planted. They'll need to wait a little longer, they have about 20 projects ahead of them, including rebuilding the wall that will prop them up and keep them warm. Desert plants in Seattle? In my yard, hell yes.

Growing among the ruins of Penasco Blanco, Chaco Canyon

Asclepias sp, milkweed. I don't know the species. Pretty fantabulously interesting flower though. Chaco Canyon, AZ.

Delphinium sp. Larkspur. San Juan National Forest, CO.

Gilia aggregata, Scarlet Gilia. This stuff is just a brilliant flash of color in the desert. Canyon de Chelly, AZ.

Calochortus nuttallii, Sego Lily. The state flower of Utah. DO NOT PICK, you will be arrested. That's what my dad used to tell me, anyway. Canyonlands, UT.

Physaria newberryi, Newberry's twinpod. I sat down in the dirt and keyed this baby out. Look at those pods! Yellow 4-petal flowers in spring, but we missed that part. Canyonlands.

Platyschkuhria integrifolia, Nakedstem bahia. I'm not making up any of those names. Another plant I was determined to figure out with the books. Canyonlands.

Not too shabby this little flower. Reminds me of Coreopsis.

A delicate little mountain gem whose name I forget. Ginger's parents will need to rescue me again. San Juan National Forest.

I know like WTH is this? I couldn't figure it out. Anybody know?

And finally, a bunch of grass? This is a desert wetland! No kidding. It's got the three characteristics: The right color soil (gotta dig, it's mottled) , wetland indicating plant species, and hydrology. It's protected by a little outcropping of rocks, just enough to allow the soil to remain moist via a seep. This grass grows literally no where else but right here. I almost walked right past it, but luckily I had my plant nerd radar on full blast.

Well, that's it for this trip. We'll see the desert again in 2011! I already can't wait.

Since I met Ginger in 1998, we've been to the desert southwest 6 times:
1999: Zion, Red Canyon, Bryce, Escalante and we got engaged on this trip!
2001: Escalante area & Lake Powell w/ Ginger's parents. We rented Jeep Grand Cherokee and violated the rental agreement by taking it WAY off road and out of state.
2003: Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon
2005: Capitol Reef, Escalante, Zion, St. George
2007: Pagosa Springs, Hovenweep, Comb Wash, Lake Powell, Natural Bridges, San Rafael Swell
2009: Pagosa, Chaco Canyon, Canyon de Chelly, Chimney Rock, Canyonlands

1 comment:

  1. Ginger,
    I think your Asclepias is Abronia fragrans??? Check out the NRCS PLANTS Database online and see if it might be. Your photos are beautiful! I was looking fof photos of Platyschkuhria (I'd never heard of that one before) so Google took me to your site. Don't you absolutley love the Colorado Plateau!


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