It has been over 3 weeks since I have made a blog post! I've been very busy in the garden, planting and finishing up several garden projects. On a rainy day last week I ventured down the mountain side behind our house and was astonished at the prolific show of wildflowers!
Here is a patch of Indian Paintbrush, and a tall blue flower we have always called Bluebells. I have since learned that it is actually a member of the lily family. (see below)
A close up of Large flowered Triplet-Lily, a member of Themidaceae, the Cluster Lily family. The latin name is Triteleia grandiflora. I love the way the flowers are clustered at the top of the tall stem, before they open and hang down, showing off their pretty ruffled edges.
Indian Paintbrush, up close and personal. A unique feature of this plant is the brilliant color that decorates the ends of the leaf bracts. I learned last year that it is a parasitic plant, meaning that it lives off the roots of nearby plants. It is named Castilleja for Douglas Castelleja, an early Spanish botanist. There are over 250 different species of this plant that grow in the West! High in the nearby mountains, where we pick huckleberries, we have another species, which is more red, and the form more spikey. The orange variety is a favorite of mine.
I hadn't seen this wildflower before, but from my research I believe it to be Taperleaf Penstemon , classified as Penstemon attenuatus. The smallish , drooping flowers are a lovely shade of pinkish blue.
I have yet to identify this wildflower. It has a very tall stem with a cluster of small yellow flowers at the top. Anyone have a name for this one?
UPDATE 6-15-08 A reader has identified this as a member of the Groundsel family. (Thanks, Wesley!) There are so many different varieties, I haven't found the precise Latin name yet....will have to go back and look at the leaves in order to do that.
Naked Broomrape grows on a stem with no leaves. It is also parasitic, living off the roots of neighboring plants. This variety is Orobanche uniflora var. purpurea.
I had to include this photo of a wild strawberry. Though the flowers are a bit out of focus, you can see a very cute and tiny strawberry toward the bottom of the photo. :-)
I was too busy to get out and photograph the Camas this year, but this post would not be complete without a tribute to this beautiful indigenous wildflower. Below are some photos taken a couple of years ago.
A field of Camassia quamash, just a few miles down the road from our house. The one to two-inch bulbs are edible, and were a delicacy among the Nez Perce Indians of this area, who would steam or pit-cook them to bring out the sweet flavor. It grows wild in meadows, moist lowlands, along the edges of prairies and on bluff or rock outcroppings. A field of blue camas in bloom is a sight to behold! The higher elevation area surrounding our beautiful valley is called the Camas Prairie, in honor of this lovely plant.