Monday, May 8, 2017

Fresh Things: In Nature

Actostaphylos patula.
The Greenleaf Manzanita, 7700 feet up (2300m). Southwest of Grand Junction, Colorado, USA
A particularly dark pink plant. 

I have never seem them bloom so heavily in my life.

Not too far away, Colorado's highest-elevation cactus (as far as I know) is the Mountain Ball, or Pediocactus simpsonii, which here is just shy of basketball size, adding "grandma's house" fragrance to the air, Allen (background) noted.

It's worth risking a little prickle to your nose to experience the fragrance.

A new plant to me, the first flowers mere millimeters wide following snowmelt in the Flat Tops area of Northwest Colorado, is the carrot-family's Orogenia linearifolia.  It has a little not-even pingpong ball sized corm giving it the "Indian Potato" moniker. 

It's special because it is literally the first and only flower right now in bloom at mid-high elevation, patiently getting buried in intermittent, melting, spring snows.

A strange, whole-leafed form. (Usually, Orogenia linearifolia has split, thin leaflets which cluster, looking like a tony tuft of grass. Note the charming leaflike-sheath below it all which enclosed and protected everything as the plant waited, mostly grown but hiding in that sheath ready to unfurl as the wildernesses real first flower, content with gentle flies for pollinators.  "Often overlooked..." According to Ackerfield.  I can see why.  It's not half an inch (12mm) tall.

1 comment:

David C. said...

The Pediocactus is really a surprise to me, I had no idea on that size. The Arctostaphylos patula looks great, we must have all had a moist winter.