The Boo-Hoo Flower

The boo-hoo flower is not it’s real name. But it is an appropriate nickname. The real name is Arctic gentian. It is a lovely goblet-shaped wildflower that grows in clusters, low to the ground in moist areas at or above tree line. It’s white with purple streaks and what I think of as freckles. Inside there are delicate pink stamen and a white stigma (yes, I had to look up “parts of a flower” to remember what all the parts are called!).

As with all wildflowers, I look forward to seeing them every year. People get their spiritual recharge in many places; I get mine on a summer hike to a high alpine lake surrounded by wildflowers. On a recent hike to a beautiful pair of lakes, we came across the Arctic gentian in full bloom.

The Arctic gentian, though, is a harbinger of what’s to come…winter. It is one of the summer season’s latest bloomers. Rangers nicknamed it the boo-hoo flower because it is a sign that the all-too-short alpine summer is almost over. So its sighting is bittersweet. But alas all good things must come to an end. It will make me even more grateful to see the first pasqueflowers and glacier lilies in the spring.