The following is a contribution from Clayton McCracken, one of the participants in our first Wildflower Walk. Thanks, Clayton!
A few observations from walk. Rim Country. 1800 to 2030 hrs Wednesday, 22 April 2009.
Songs of meadow larks greeted us. Mule deer lined the ridge.
From barn a half-mile to the prairie dog town Cheat-grass was greening up.
Phlox, varying from lavender to white. Probably Phlox multiflora, but will have to specifically identify.
One plant of the parsley family (Apiaceae), a double umbelled white flower. This is probably Plains Spring Parsley, Cymopterus acaulis, one of the earliest wildflowers to bloom in the spring. We talked about this being a biscuit root, or Lomatium cous, which it closely resembles. Lomatium cous, plentiful in the subalpine meadows of the Pryors, is yellow.
Grasslike basal leaves of Sand or Star Lily, Leucocrinum montanum, emerging through out the flat. A few plants on the slopes of the canyon had with white blossoms. The blossom is similar to that of a lily; however taxonomists place the plant in the spider-plant, rather than the lily, family.
Distinct from the Prickly Pear Cactus is the Mountain Ball Cactus. We found at least two. Sharp eyes are needed to find the ball half covered by dry soil. It had what was likely a magenta flower bud. Hope to see it again next week when it will be in bloom. Probably Coryphantha vivipara, which has a reddish-pink flower.
Prairie Sagewort, Artemisia frigida carpeted the ground about the prairie dog mounds. In the cleared ground a single Death Camus stood out. How do mammals know not to eat the poisonous plant?
Single robin sized bird silhouetted in pine top, perched like a flycatcher, but with a distinctive, mournful, deep-pitched, monosyllabic descending whistle.
Coyotes singing and turkeys gobbling as dusk darkened the sky.