by Yvette Henson
CSU Extension, San Miguel Basin
As we know, summers in our mountains are short but glorious! If the snow ever melts this summer, the wildflower display should be one of the best ever! Go hiking and/or take a Native Plant Class! CSU Extension offers a variety of classes across the state as does the Colorado Native Plant Society. Be on the lookout for those and other native plant classes and field trips near you!
I am planning on spending as much time as I can in the mountains this summer and I hope to see some new things as well as old-favorites!
A plant I search out every year on my property at 8,400’ is stemless Easter daisy, Townsendia exscapa. It is blooming now.
|Easter Daisy- photo by Yvette Henson|
A wildflower that I look for in late May is Erigeron compositus. I look for it growing on the shelfs of rock cliffs in a canyon near Rico at about 9,000’.
|Erigeron photo by Yvette Henson|
Who isn’t delighted to stumble across a fairy-slipper orchid, Calypso bulbosa, growing in the deep shade of the subalpine forest?
|Fairy slipper photo by Yvette Henson|
I am fascinated by the variety of paintbrushes (Castilleja spp.) that grow in Colorado, especially the ones that can be found growing above timberline in August!
|Paintbrush photo by Yvette Henson|
Another beautiful plant that is blooming above timberline in late August, after the frosts have begun to kill the majority of other blooms, is Gentiana algida, arctic gentian.
|Gentian photo by Yvette Henson|
Don’t let summer get away from you this year—get out and hike in our wonderful mountains and revel in the beauty of the views, the singing creeks and waterfalls and of course the wildflowers!