Wildflower bloom progression in a high altitude semi-desert

Jcarrith

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I have been hiking to a small area in a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) tract near Gunnison Colorado for 4 years. This year I plan to document the progression of wildflowers in the area encompassed by
the photo and directly on the other side of the ridge. The area is at 8,000 ft. altitude and is semi-desert, as you can see. all photos taken with the Panny G9.

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So far I have photographed 5 species. I will include the scientific and common name for each as they are posted. the first is not a true flower but is in fact an infected plant, probably Fendler's rockcress. the fungus
that covers the plant (Puccinia monoica) gives it the bright yellow color and also forces it to grow pseudo flower stems. This attracts insects which then carry the spores to other plants. Panny 12-60mm with 10mm
Extension.

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This is the Desert Phlox, Phlox austromontana, photo taken with the Tamron 90mm f2.4, taken at f11. this is one of the earliest plants to bloom in the area and can carpet large areas.

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Simpson’s hedgehog cactus, Pediocactus simpsonii, is also common early in the year. This photo was also taken with the Tamron 90mm f2.4, probably also taken at f11.

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Today (May 5), 2 more flower types were blooming, the Thick-sepal Cat's Eye, Cryptantha crassisepala, taken with the Panny 12-60mm with a 10mm extension tube as is the photo below.

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And a shrub, the Wax Currant, Ribes cereum, I plan to add to this post on a weekly basis until blooming season slows in the area, probably mid June. If all goes well I plan to start a new post doing the same thing
in an alpine area nearby. Oh what Coronavirus has wrought!

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junkyardsparkle

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Oh what Coronavirus has wrought!
...and just when I thought I'd seen the worst of its shredding of the social fabric... can't you just stay inside consuming pizza and media like you're supposed to? Geez.

Well, if you insist on engaging in this somewhat suspect behavior, can I suggest giving the thread a slightly more descriptive title, especially since you've already hinted at possibly expanding this highly questionable "outdoor activity on public lands" activity into multiple threads? I'm only asking because it will assist the proper authorities with keeping an eye on you, of course.
 

Jcarrith

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...and just when I thought I'd seen the worst of its shredding of the social fabric... can't you just stay inside consuming pizza and media like you're supposed to? Geez.

Well, if you insist on engaging in this somewhat suspect behavior, can I suggest giving the thread a slightly more descriptive title, especially since you've already hinted at possibly expanding this highly questionable "outdoor activity on public lands" activity into multiple threads? I'm only asking because it will assist the proper authorities with keeping an eye on you, of course.
I assure you there are few more socially isolated spots in the world than this little patch.
 

junkyardsparkle

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I assure you there are few more socially isolated spots in the world than this little patch.
...and I'm totally not jealous or anything. ;) At least halfway serious about maybe adding a few descriptive words to the thread title, though... maybe even some tags. It makes it easier to find threads again later. Looking forward to seeing the progression!
 

Jcarrith

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Week 3 report (junkyardsparkle will note the new thread title)
well there has not been a lot of change and photography has been somewhat hampered by wind and a little rain but I did find several new blooms. the first is Beautiful Rockcress, Boechera formosa just getting started.

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Next is a lovely little composite, the Hairy Daisy, Erigeron concinnus.

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Many-lobed Groundsel AKA Many-lobed Ragwort, Packera multilobate, another composite which will bloom in mass in the area in the next few weeks. the wind was blowing so hard when I took this that I had to use flash, which I usually avoid.

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and finally, Buckbrush, Purshia tridentata, which grows near rocky outcrops (at least at this site), and is a member of the rose family. This lovely shrub is just barely starting.

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Until next week.
 

Jcarrith

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Week #4
This week saw 6 new species blooming. I had an interesting experience the first week I hiked in to the area. I climbed the rocks on the left as shown in the first photo of this thread and found a fresh lion kill, a mule deer. Needless to say, I now make a lot of noise coming in the area and stay away from the kill site. the first photo is a member of the mustard family The Western Wallflower, Erysimum capitatum.

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Another member of the mustard family is the Double Bladderpod, Physaria acutifolia.

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Yet a third Mustard is Flixweed Tansy Mustard, Descurainia Sophia.

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Littleleaf Alumroot, Heuchera parvifolia, is in the same genus as the popular garden plant, Coral Bells. The flowers are inconspicuous and held high above the leaves but, like coral bells, the foliage is the main attraction.

flowers

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and whole plant

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One of the prettiest and most widespread of plants in this area are the penstemons. Most are quiet showy but Crandall's Penstemon, Penstemon crandallii, has very small flowers that are spread against the ground.

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Finally, one of my favorite blooms from this area (if only for its name), the Fringed Puccoon, Lithospermum incisum.

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Jcarrith

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While I often have pollinators in photos in other, wetter, location I reviewed about 100 flower photos from this area and only 2 had bees none had butterflies. The most common insects I see on them are ants and various beetles and true bugs. I suspect that they may be primary pollinators for at least some of these flowers.
 

JamesD

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Elk Grove, CA
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Jim Landers
What a great idea for a project. You've inspired me to "document" the wetlands where I walk regularly. I've photographed the spring flowers over the years, but never learned their names or anything about them.
 

Jcarrith

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Week 5
The weather has been cold with freezing temps almost every morning, there has also been little rain. I'm not sure if either or both of these factors are delaying the blooming but none-the-less here are the new blooms for the week as well as some nice buds that will bloom next week. I include the buds because they are very attractive in themselves. As I was crawling around the rocks yesterday I looked down and saw a fresh mountain lion track. I started making a lot of noise and kept looking up into the rocks above me, to many Saturday afternoon cowboy movie marathons I guess.

The first photo is another member of the rose family the Utah Serviceberry Amelanchier utahensis, I've included both the blossom and the bush.

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The next was a tough call but I finally settled on Wooly Goldenweed, Xanthisma spinulosum. I have included a second photo that I think might be the same species but it looks significantly different, I hate keying the yellow composites.

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and here is the maybe

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There are two species of cat's eyes in this area and they look a lot alike. I think this may be the Little Cat's Eye, Cryptantha minima.

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The Scarlet Globemallow, Sphaeralcea coccinea. This is an 11 frame focus stack done in Photoshop.

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And finally a couple of buds that I really like, no scientific names until they officially bloom! First is this lovely member of the buckwheat family, the sulfur flower.

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And second, a preview of the most spectacular bloom on this ridge. the Claret Cup Cactus of which there are numerous specimens scattered among the rocks. notice the spines on the red buds. This photo is an 11 shot focus stack done in photoshop.

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Jcarrith

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Week 6 (and 1/2), went camping this week and didn't get out to check the bloom progression until yesterday. unfortunately the Claret Cup Cactus, Echinocereus mojavensis was almost bloomed out and what was left was seriously nibbled on.

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So, I will show you what the bloom looked like in 2017, a very good year.

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I showed the buds of the next flower last week. Here is the Sulphur flower, Eriogonum umbellatum, in full bloom.

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The next two are problematical as they are the infamous yellow composites. The first is Black-tipped Ragwort, Senecio atratus.

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The second might be the Hairy Golden Aster, Heterotheca villosa, the reason I say might be is that when I ran the description through the online wildflower key that I use it came out blank. so this is my best guess. And it is hairy is it not?

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We had a really good rain today for the first time this Spring. Hopefully things will be popping next week, although we do have a freeze predicted for three days next week. Fingers crossed. Living in the coldest town in the lower 48 has its blessings but a long growing season is not one of them. Until next week.
 

Jcarrith

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I've been to the site the last 2 week's with no new blooms spotted. This week the prickly pear cactus for sure will bloom and hopefully some others.
 
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