Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 12, 2013

Rocky Mt. Wildflower Report: Blue Lake 7/12/13

The Wildflowers of Rocky Mountain National Park blog has a new posting for Blue Lake in Indian Peaks Wilderness:

Both melting snowfields and frequent afternoon showers have kept the trail to Blue Lake wet in most places. Because of the late snow, many wildflowers are just now beginning to bloom, so the diversity common during the peak bloom is not happening yet. Still, for the observant, there was plenty of color to marvel at! Here is what she saw:

  • Lance-Leaf Chiming Bells (Mertensia lanceolata) is generally a smaller plant in the alpine zone than in the montane; this one has very deep blue flowers
  • Tall Chiming Bells (Mertensia ciliata) grows much taller than the lance-leaf species and is always found around water
  • Shrubby Cinquefoil (Pentaphylloides floribunda) is related to the very similar landscape shrub
  • Subalpine Jacobs Ladder (Polemonium pulcherrimum) prefers shady and sheltered locations in coniferous forests
  • Narcissus Anemone (Anemone narcissiflora) is fond of wet soils and often found blooming with Marsh Marigold (Caltha leptosepala)
  • Marsh Marigold (Caltha leptosepala) also prefers wet soils, particularly near runoff from melting snowfields
  • Mountain Blue Violet (Viola adunca) is also common in wet soil in the subalpine and montane
  • A clump of Parry Primrose (Primula parryi) found a home on a ledge adjacent to a waterfall
  • The flowers of Parry Primrose (Primula parryi) are an unmistakable bright fuchsia-pink
  • An unidentified Buttercup (Ranunculus sp) in wet habitat
  • Alplily (Lloydia serotina) is an inconspicuous (less than 6″) lily on or near the tundra
  • The most common flowering plant on the tundra is Alpine Avens (Acomastylis rossii), which turns reddish and gives the tundra beautiful fall color
  • Pygmy Bitterroot (Oreobroma pygmaea) flowers can range from white to fuchsia-pink
  • An unidentified species of lemon yellow Draba (Draba sp) growing in the alpine
  • The Alpine Sunflower or Old Man of the Mountain (Hymenoxys grandiflora) is large and unmistakable on the tundra
  • The tiny Different Groundsel (Packera dimorphophylla) has few golden flowers and two different leaf shapes on each plant
  • Parry Lousewort (Pedicularis parryi) has beak-shaped whitish flowers and fern-like leaves
  • Northern Rock Jasmine (Androsace septentrionalis) has tiny but fragrant flowers
  • Rosy Paintbrush (Castilleja rhexiifolia) has rosy-red bracts, green tubular flowers, and sessile ovate leaves
  • Western Yellow Paintbrush (Castilleja occidentalis) is common in open areas in the subalpine and alpine zones
  • Snowball Saxifrage (Saxifraga rhomboidea) flowers occur in a ball-shaped head atop a long leafless stem
  • The Alpine or Whiproot Clover (Trifolium dasyphyllum) has white flowers with a pink keel and is distinguished from Parry Clover (below) by its narrow infolded leaves
  • The leaves of Parry Clover (Trifolium parryi) are usually wider than the Alpine Clover (above) and the flowers are two shades of pink
  • Alpine Sandwort (Lidia obtusiloba) flowers sit atop a cushion of moss-like dark green leaves
  • Moss Campion (Silene acaulis) in a pioneer plant and grows in cushions on rocky tundra soils
  • The extremely small Cloverleaf Rose (Sibbaldia procumbens) has three-part clover-like leaves that are much larger than the tiny yellow flowers
  • The blue Alpine Speedwell (Veronica wormskjoldii) flowers are in a hairy terminal cluster and found in wet subalpine meadows
  • Another common plant in the wet subalpine is Bog Laurel (Kalmia microphylla)

See photos at: Wildflowers of Rocky Mountain National Park : Blue Lake in Indian Peaks Wilderness. See older wildflower reports and photos at: Wildflowers of Rocky Mountain National Park

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