Walking In The Flowers


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | June 13, 2012      
columbine

Colorado blue columbine, Aquilegia coerulea

The near landscape is valuable and lovable because of its nearness, not something to be disregarded and shrugged off; it is where children are reared and what they take away in their minds to their long future. What ground could be more hallowed?
— Sir Frank Fraser Darling

A white grove of columbine

I joined Lou and a friend for more field research regarding the proposed land exchange covered in previous post. Wildflowers were everywhere. As we walked through the woods, we came to a luscious grove of our state flower. Colorado blue columbine thrive in shady aspen groves, and grow in moist soil between 6,000 and 11,000 feet in the mountains. In northern and western Colorado, the blue color is less pronounced until finally the flowers are almost pure white or cream, like most of the ones we found. Columbine at higher altitude are generally the most colorful..


shooting star

Often mistaken for a shooting star, this is actually a red columbine, Aquilegia canadensis. It is rumored that Native Americans rubbed the crushed seeds on the hands of men as a love charm.

Unless we think of intangible values as no less important than material resources, unless we are willing to say that man’s need of and right to what the parks and wildernesses provide are as fundamental as any of his material needs, they are lost…
— Joseph Wood Krutch

alpine sunflower

I believe this is a yellow arnica. Interesting fact: arnica is a drug plant. All parts may be used but the flowers are most potent. If the drug from it is given orally or intravenously, it causes body temperature to rise. Applied externally as a salve to cuts, it helps to keep down infection.

Yellow flowers

False Lupine, Thermopsis montana, also known as golden pea, buckbean, mountain thermopsis, buffalo pea.

…majesty, and beauty, and repose,
A blended holiness of earth and sky,
Something that makes this individual spot,
this small abiding-place of many men,
A termination, and a last retreat,
A centre, come from whereso’er you will,
A whole without dependence or defect,
Made for itself, and happy in itself,
Perfect contentment, unity entire…
— Wordsworth (1800)

Brook

'...And the sabbath rang slowly. In the pebbles of the holy streams.' Dylan Thomas

Big tree

As we neared the end of our hike, we came upon the biggest tree I have ever seen in Colorado. It appeared to be a Douglas fir.

A hut and a tree,
And a hill for me,
And a piece of weedy meadow.
I’ll ask no thing,
Of god or king,
But to clear away his shadow.
— Max Eastman

(I’m an amateur with wild flower identification. If I’ve gotten any of the names wrong, please correct me in the comments.)

Comments

13 Responses to “Walking In The Flowers”

  1. Stuart June 13th, 2012 11:49 am

    Beautiful Lisa!

  2. Kelly June 13th, 2012 12:01 pm

    Hi Lisa – great post and love your wildflowers – beautiful photos and quotations – thanks for sharing.
    Had to do double take, but I think the red flowers in the third photo are western red columbine (Aquilegia formosa). We have them in here is Washington too and are one of our most colorful wildflowers. They look a little like a shooting star before they fully open.
    You have a beautiful backyard!

  3. Scott Nelson June 13th, 2012 1:11 pm

    Great post Lisa! Love your perspective, and the Dylan Thomas quote is cool. Makes me want to slow down once in a while and take a look around. Its amazing what you can miss if you don’t.

  4. Andy June 13th, 2012 2:18 pm

    Nice photo’s Lisa, it’s amazing how many people only get to see these stunning places in the winter when the snow is about!

  5. Lisa June 13th, 2012 2:43 pm

    Thanks Kelly! Lou and I have always mistakenly called them shooting stars, but you’re right. I found a picture and interesting info on:
    http://www.coloradowildflowers.org/flower_details.php?flowerID=25

  6. Lisa June 13th, 2012 2:48 pm

    Scott – hope you and Jenn get to take the hike. It’s a beautiful and less than 30 minutes from your front door.

  7. Lisa June 13th, 2012 2:55 pm

    Andy — I must admit we were constantly talking about potential ski runs as we hiked.

  8. Lou June 13th, 2012 3:41 pm

    And what’s interesting, is they’re attempting to pretty much shut this area (on the north flanks of Mount Sopris) down to human use during summer, but it’ll be fine to ski tour there, so that may be the focus we take in the future, after all, this is WildSnow.com. Also interesting that Wexner’s Ranch has a road that goes on to public land from their property, but isn’t shown on the USFS Travel Management Maps near as I can tell.

  9. Kelly June 13th, 2012 5:24 pm

    Very cool Lisa! I had no idea there were so many different varieties of Red Columbines in the US. Let me know if you get hold of any extra seeds! (crushed preferred ~;’)

    http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/beauty/columbines/red.shtml

  10. Mark W June 13th, 2012 8:56 pm

    Douglas fir can be identified pretty easily by what are called a three-pronged brachts on the cones. They looks like a little tridents or three-tined forks. (This is one thing that stuck with me from my ornamentals class in college.)

  11. Lou June 13th, 2012 9:16 pm

    Mark, yeah, we used to call those things “snake tongues.”

  12. Mark W June 13th, 2012 9:41 pm

    Snake tongues–perfect! By the way, Lisa, you do just fine as an “amateur” flower taxonomist. Just get out there with field guide and go.

  13. Lisa June 14th, 2012 10:17 am

    Thanks, Mark. It sure is nice to get input from friends. I’m still tickled about learning the proper name for Red Columbine. Fun!

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