It's been windy and cold all over the country for most of the recent two weeks, with more wind and cold temperatures in the forecast. So, fighting the winter blues seems like a good time
to roll out some bright and pretty colors and shapes! Let's see what we might find in my wildflowers collection.
The largest families of wildflowers in the Rockies and adjacent plains may have many relatives in widely diverging shapes and colors, but also others that are so similar that identifying specific species is super difficult. One of these wonderfully diverse families is Asteraceae ( the Aster/Sunflower family) of which there are dozens of regularly seen species. Common names that range from mule's ears to pussytoes to blanketflower are represented as well. If you read my posts regularly, you've probably seen my photo of a pair of bright purple and yellow Glacial daisies with raindrops (https://www.denisedethlefsen.com/post/the-fascination-of-wildflowers). They're a pretty daisy-like flower found at high altitudes, such as around Vail, Colorado.
However, we usually think of the members of the aster family as being yellow, like the Common sunflower (Helianthus annuus) shown here. Another name for this plant is Mirasol, which means "looks at the sun," obviously a fitting name for a sunflower. And in yet another iteration of this enormous wildflower family, I have the Rocky Mountain zinnia, which, while also yellow, is about as different in shape and size from the sunflower, Glacial daisies or pussytoes as possible, even though they're all in the same plant family.
The second family with an amazing number of shapes, sizes and colors I'd like to highlight is Rosaceae (the Rose family). It includes dozens of relatives -- roses, of course, but also raspberries and blackberries, almonds and apples, mountain mahogany, cinquefoils and avens, and so many more. (There's also something with the fun name of Buzzy Burr, but the plant is native to South America, so will have to wait its turn to be added to my portfolio!).
In our area, several of the fruit-bearing plants of the Rose family are quite common. Chokecherries, as seen here, can be found along roadsides, reservoirs, and gullies throughout the state. Others include wild blackberries, serviceberries, and wild strawberries.
We can often find wild roses in both the mountains and plains, but they're sometimes difficult to photograph because of all the background clutter making up their favored habitats. I feel pretty happy about having captured this one shining in the sunlight against a shadowed cabin wall.
My third prolific wildflower family is Fabaceae (the Pea or Legume family). This family is enormous. For example, its largest sub-unit, the genera Astragalus, includes over 3,000 species by itself. Most of these are milkvetches native to the Northern Hemisphere. Colorado hosts dozens of milkvetch species, many of which are toxic - thus, the name 'locoweed' for some of them. Milkvetches, in particular, can be difficult to differentiate from each other. I have at least two species in my portfolio, but I've only positively identified the Early purple milkvetch shown in my previous post about wildflowers.
Lupines are another common wildflower from the Fabaceae family, with around 200 species in the world. While many lupines are various shades of purple and violet-pink, with or without white edging, I like this showy Oregon golden lupine, found near Klamath, California, many years ago. These are occasionally included in erosion control seeding, and can often be found on disturbed soils and road margins.
I suspect I could keep going on, but need to stop and save some images for future posts. However, here are a couple of parting shots.
This phlox species that forms clumps was virtually covering a large meadow near Rabbit Ears Pass. I just liked that this clump decided to grow by the dead log.
I presently can't get photos of another favorite wildflower, manzanita, because of where I'm based; they're not often found in Colorado. Northern California's common manzanita produces these tiny, pink or white, bell-shaped flowers. There are times I really miss seeing and photographing them.
I do hope this little interlude with some of my wildflower photos helped to dispel any winter
blues that might have been developing. As always, feel free to review other nature, travel and wildlife photography on my website, www.DeniseDethlefsen.com. To continue seeing my ramblings about nature, wildlife, photo art prints, and fine art photography ideas for your home or office, as well as our adventures with our teardrop camper, please "sign up to stay connected." #NaturePhotography, #naturephotographer, #photography, #nature, #travel, #colorado, #photoart, #buyart, #artforsale, #wallart, #metal, #canvas, #prints, #art, #interiordesign, #interiordecor, #interiorstyling, #wildlifephotography