Monday, August 16, 2010

Colorado Wildflower series - #2

The wildflowers - they just keep coming!  Every hike we go on is a new discovery for flowers - I find it so exciting to find a new species that I've not yet seen, and capturing its beauty with the lens of my camera.

With a relatively short growing season, particularly at the higher/alpine elevations, the flowers need to get busy quickly before freezing temps and snow come in the fall.  The high meadows have produced spectacular displays of mid to late summer flowers.

Here is another set, with names and interesting trivia where noted.  With the exception of the first photo, all were taken along the Engineer trail, leading to Engineer Peak.

Cutleaf coneflower [Rudbeckia laciniata] with bee
Purgatory trail

Dusky Beardtongue [Penstemon whippleanus]
This attractive member of the Snapdragon family was found along the sloping hillside near the trailhead.

Monkshood [Aconitum columbianum]
These aptly-named flowers are found along streams and moist habitats, and is a member of the Buttercup family.  All parts of the plant are poisonous.  

Nodding Sunflower [Helianthella quinquenervis]
This perennial member of the Aster family is common along higher elevations.  They arise from rhizome rootstock and grow in groups.  

Chainpod [Hedysarum occidentale]
This member of the Pea [Fabaceae] family is so named because of its unusually-shaped seedpod. 

Subalpine Larkspur [Delphinium barbeyi]
This showy member of the buttercup family is found along moist meadows, usually amongst other wildflowers, and grows in large patches.  All parts of the plant contain alkaloids which are toxic or fatal to humans if consumed.  Best not to even touch the plant, in fact.  

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