Wildflowers – Foothills Edition

This past spring was one of the wettest on record in the Colorado foothills. In fact, Boulder received almost half of its yearly precipitation in the past 2 months. But all those showers brought A LOT of flowers! On one foothills hike I saw at least three dozen different types of wildflowers. Some of them were flowers I’d never seen before. Here are just a few of the dozens:

Eastern prairie marbleseed Eastern prairie marbleseed: This is one of the new ones. I’d never seen it before but this year it’s everywhere! The Cheyenne smashed the leaves and flowers, sometimes mixed them with grease, and  used it as a topical to relieve back pain.

 

Hound's tongueHounds tongue: Who names these flowers anyway? This one was also new to me. While stunning, apparently it’s an invasive species.

 

 

PenstemonPenstemon: I’m not even going to try to identify the exact species of penstemon this is, because there are approximately 250 different varieties found in different habitats. Whatever this variety is, it blanketed the foothills in purple!

 

Western wallflowerWestern wallflower: These guys are in the mustard family. I love the orange, but they also grow in yellow and sometimes maroon and purple.

 

 

BeeblossomBeeblossom: I had never seen this one either. Now it’s everywhere and there’s even volunteers in the yard. Apparently it has a long blooming season, making it one of the best flowers for bees. I suppose that’s how it got its name!

 

Monument plant, green gentianMonument plant: This intricate, delicate flower is only about 2 inches wide and is one of many on a stalk that grows up to 7 feet tall!  And get this plant is monocarpic (new word!). It grows for 20-80 years, flowers only once, then dies. That’s nuts.

I feel so lucky to have seen so many flowers already this summer, but I’m especially grateful to have seen the monument plants blooming!