Thursday, September 2, 2010

Colorado Wildflowers #3

A temporary break from the paintings to bring you more of the beautiful wildflowers of Colorado.  It's now late summer, and flower season is just about over.  Petals are shrinking and dropping and the flowers are busy going to seed in preparation for winter.

I was delighted that on every hike we went on, I discovered new flowers I'd not seen before.  It made the hikes that much more special.

Here is a random assortment of some of my favorite images taken in various locations in our area.

CT - Colorado Trail

Scarlet Gila or Fairy Trumpet
These eye-catching flowers are found throughout open forests and dry slopes in the region.  
Location:  Dry Fork Cr. trail.  Early August.

Grass of Parnassus
Found near streams and moist areas, this flower is not too commonly seen.  Location:  CT, near Little Molas lake.  Early August.

Colorado Blue Columbine 
It's not hard to see why this lovely flower is the state flower of CO.  Location:  Engineer trail, late July.  Also seen in late Aug. along the Cross Mtn. trail, at timberline. 

Mountain Gentian
Location:  CT, Molas Lake.  Mid-August.
These flowers are seen at higher elevations (~10,000), and usually in open meadows.  We also saw them on the Cross Mtn. trail @ timberline and along the Ice Lake trail below timberline.

Rosy Paintbrush - two variants
Location:  Cross Mtn. trail, above timberline.  Late August.
Rosy Paintbrush is commonly found above timberline, and due to hybridization, the plants are quite variable in appearance and color of the bracts.  We saw these on almost all hikes when we were above timberline (~11,000).

Elephant Flower
CT, near Little Molas Lake.  Early August.
These delightful flowers are found near streams and other moist areas.  This was along the same small stream as the Grass of Parnassus, pictured above.

Alpine Gentain
Location:  Ice Lake Trail, 12,000'.  Late August.
This is one of the last flowers to bloom on the alpine tundra, and is quite lovely.  It was surrounded by colorful groups of Rosy Paintbrush and some type of Aster that I couldn't identify.


  1. The gentian is gorgeous. Great photos (but that's a given). There's one I love to see hiking, which is called I think Pasque flower. And there's a very small white lily too that grows very close to the ground and seems anomalous. beautiful. It's such a shame what happened at that school; ever since then, no one can even say the flower's name without a twinge, a sad reminder.

  2. Hi Jala,
    I loved the gentians - I've now seen four species - the two shown, as well as Little Gentian and Mountain Fringed Gentian.

    Agreed about the columbine association. A shame. I've tried not to think about that when I see the flowers, as they represent beauty, grace, resilience, and purity of life itself - all which are the antithesis to that ghastly event.


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