This is not a Utah wildflower, but it something that interesting enough I thought I’d post about it. The United States Botanical Garden has a flower that when it blooms smells.. well…. it doesn’t smell good. It’s called the Corpse Flower, and when it blooms it gives off a very nasty smell. It doesn’t bloom every year, but any day one is set to bloom in the United States Botanical Garden.
You can check out the flower and the live web cam here http://www.usbg.gov/return-titan
Here’s a great wildflower video from BYU where biology professor Richard Gill talks about Utah wildflowers.
There are many guides I rely on to help me identify the wildflowers I see. It seems one guide is never enough. I have added some additional links to guides that I have found useful.
SWColoradoWildflowers.com – This site, by Al and Betty Schneider, is an incredibly rich trove of wildflower knowledge. Most of the flowers listed are found in Utah. Al has been running this site since 2001!
IPhone Apps – Steve Hegji, author of Wasatch Wildflowers has created a Smart Phone app for wildflowers on the Wasatch Front. Be sure to check it out!
The winter solstice was four days ago. We are now into the day light loosing phase of the earth’s rotation around the sun. There’s still plenty of sunlight for long wildflower viewing days. Here’s a picture of American Vetch – Vicia americana.
Vicia americana – American Vetch
The fern-leaf daisy is a beautiful flower that also goes by the names Dwarf Mountain Fleabane, Cutleaf Daisy, and Trifid Mountain Fleabane. It sometimes appears without rays (the white petal part) like in this picture.
The geraniums are coming! The proliferation of the ubiquitous geranium has started. This is a picture of the purple sticky geranium. Look closely at the picture and you can see the small stickiness on the underside of the flower. Why is the geranium sticky? Because it’s carnivorous! Ok, it’s really protocarnivorous. But the idea is that the plant uses its stickiness to trap small bugs and suck some nutrients out of them. Cool, huh?
Purple Sticky Geranium
The Paintbrush is one of the easiest flowers to identify. The bright red color clearly cries Paintbrush! But did you know the Paintbrush’s flowers aren’t red? Look closely next time you pass one. Believe it or not the flowers are green! The red coloring you see is what botanists call leafy bracts. The bracts are modified leaves that serve to attract the flowers pollinators.
The Paintbrush is also interesting because it is partially root parasitic. That is, the roots from the Paintbrush will take nutrients from the roots of other nearby plants.
Here is a close up picture of the green flower of the Desert Paintbrush.
In the Wasatch you will most likely see these paintbrush species: