Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Wildflower Wednesday ~ Alpine Flowers

During our brief hike on the tundra, we got to see the alpine wildflowers at their peak (or at least peeking through their recent blanket of hail). I love alpine flowers, not only for their beautiful shapes and colors and diminutive sizes, but for their tough tenaciousness surviving in this most extreme of environments. The plants grow small,  diminutive counterparts to flowers found at lower elevations, and close to the ground. Some of the flowers are teeny tiny and some of them are outsized compared to their short stems and petite leaves. These are just a few of the blooms that colored the landscape on  the top of the world.

The beloved paintbrush (Castilleja spp.) even grows at this altitude.

Alpine avens (Geum rossii, Rose family), bright and abundant.

I'm not sure what these tiny white guys are, maybe a sandwort or a mouse ear; I didn't get a close enough shot or a good look at the leaves, and the petals are kind of stuck together with rain water.

Moss campion (Silene acaulis, Pink family) grows in little moss-like cushions.

More moss campion growing here, intertwined with phlox (Phlox spp., Phlox family).

Bright and beautiful alpine forget-me-nots (Eritrichium aretoides, Borage family) nearly buried in hail--demonstrating just one of the elements that make the tundra environment so harsh.
I've always loved bistort (Bistorta bistortoides, Buckwheat family) with their Dr. Seuss-esque crazy hair.

A hillside of Old Man of the Mountain (Rydbergia grandiflora, Aster family) is always a cheerful sight, even these with their rain and hail-drooped petals.

Western wallflower (Erysimum capitatum, Mustard family).

I'm not even going to pretend to try to ID this aster/daisy, since the leaves aren't visible in the photo.
Alpine clover (Trifolium dasyphylum) or Parry's clover (Trifolium parryi), Pea family.

Dwarf clover (Trifolium nanum, Pea family).

Thanks for joining me on my tour of Colorado wildflowers. Next week we'll return to our regularly scheduled programming of What's Blooming Along My Driveway.


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