new plant species, 2007

January 1, 2010

These are photos of plant species I learned to identify and first took decent photos of during 2007.


late May 07, prairie flax (Linum lewisii), near Koosharem, Sevier Co, UT

In this valley of about 7,000 ft elevation there were wide swaths of blooming blue flax like this.  Associated species are big sagebrush, pinion, juniper, indian ricegrass, rubber rabbitbrush.


early June 07, madwort (Alyssum sp.), Wasatch Mtns, Salt Lake Co, UT

This turned out to be an invasive.  There are five species of this Euopean-native genus of mustard that occur now in Utah.  There are at least three species present in Salt Lake Co.  The fairly high elevation of this “mountain brush” site, ~6,900 ft, tilts me toward assigning this species as “alyssoides,” but I’m not certain.  In the photo you can also see the Bromus grass there; most plants of that genus that occur in Utah are also non-native.


early June 07, mojave sandwort (Arenaria macradenia), Canyon Mtns, Millard Co, UT

This grows here at about 6,800 ft elevation, among associated species Alium sp., Gutierrezia sarothrae, Pinus edulis, Juniperus osteosperma, Quercus gambelii, Artemesia tridentata, Eriogonum brevicaule, Cercocarpus ledifolius, Opuntia sp., Echinocereus triglochidiatus.


mid June 07, purple sage (Salvia dorrii), House Range, Millard Co, UT

Had never seen this species in the field before, and might not have recognized it had there not been a couple of blossoms left to distinguish it from sagebrush (Artemesia).  Most blossoms were gone by this time, mid-June.  After learning the look of this foliage, I have found it growing in a couple of other ranges farther to the south in SW Utah–the Antelope Range and the Beaver Dam Mtns.  In those places, it grows at elevations more than 1,000 ft lower than the ~6,900 ft where it was here in the House.  Each place I have seen this, it has seemed to be in a very narrow elevation window, although where that window lies varies pretty widely in different mtn ranges.


mid June 07, clustered broomrape (Orobanche fasciculata), House Range, Millard Co, UT

This was parasitizing big sagebrush, Artemesia tridentata, growing near the bottom of a limestoney canyon.


mid June 07, cushion buckwheat (Eriogonum ovalifolium), House Range, Millard Co, UT

Mid-June was late for this species’ blooming.  Most of these plants with blooms were farther along than this one.  These were growing around 6,900 ft, among Physaria chambersii, Eriogonum microthecum var. laxiflorum, pinion, juniper and a cryptanth and several aster species.

Reptiles species I have seen (or found shed skin from) near here have been sagebrush lizard (Sceloporus graciosus), western fence lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis), great basin collared lizard (Crotaphytus bicinctores), great basin rattler (lutosus), great basin gophersnake (Pituophis catenifer deserticola) and striped whipsnake (Masticophis taeniatus taeniatus).


late June 07, sulfur-flower buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum), Sheeprock Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

This was growing at about 7,500 ft elevation, interspersed with Eriogonum heracleoides, and near lupine, aspen, Hackelia sp., serviceberry, snowberry, oregon grape.


mid July 07, woodland pinedrops (Pterospora andromedea) under lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta), Uinta Mtns, Summit Co, UT

This parasitic plant can grow on ponderosa pine  roots, but here on the Uintas’ north slope it was instead using lodgepole pine as its host.  I regret not obtaining a photo in better focus.


mid July 07, sticky polemonium (Polemonium viscosum), Uinta Mtns, Duchesne Co, UT

As part of the Seeds of Success fieldwork, we found this while searching unsuccessfully for enough Astragalus kentrophyta to collect seeds from, at almost 10,000 ft elevation along a N-facing talus slope.  It was more abundant than the A. kentrophyta, here.


mid July 07, prairie sagewort (Artemisia frigida), Wasatch Mtns, Utah Co, UT

This was growing on a plateau at very high elevation, above the conifers.


late July 07, whitestem goldenbush (Ericameria discoidea var. discoidea), Wasatch Mts, Utah Co, UT

This grows up around 10,000 ft elevation, near Astragalus kentrophyta, Monardella glauca, mountain deathcamas, very-low-growing willow, limber pine and creeping juniper.


mid August 07, mountain deathcamas (Zigadenus elegans), Wasatch Mtns, Utah Co, UT

This species is fairly similar to the foothill deathcamas (Zigadenus paniculatus), but was growing here around 10,000 ft elevation–4,500+ ft higher than you can find the foothill species (Z. paniculatus) in the nearby Oquirrh Mtns.


late August 07, pale monardella (Monardella glauca), Wasatch Mtns, Salt Lake Co, UT

The formal name for this “stinking horesmint” was apparently recently changed from the old “Monardella odoratissima.”  Here it grows in an elevation window with about 9,000 ft as the low end.  This keeps blooming–as old flowers ripen to seed, new flowers continue to be produced.


early Sept 07, butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa), Pine Valley Mtns, Washington Co, UT

I had seen the bright orange blooms of this species here once, years before.  This mountain range seems to hold a very broad plant species diversity.  This butterfly milkweed grows around 5,200 ft in pinion-juniper habitat, near whipples cholla, palmers penstemon,  skunkbush sumac, apache plume, curlleaf mahogany, big sagebrush, snakeweed.


mid Sept 07, slender buckwheat (Eriogonum microthecum var. laxiflorum), Sheeprock Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

I’ve seen this species of buckwheat in several other western Utah ranges.  Sometimes, as here, pink-flowering (shown) and white-flowering plants of this species grow together.  In all other places I’ve seen it, this taxon is smaller, lower and more scraggly, with fewer blossoms per plant than here in the Sheeprocks.  Both this species and the other buckwheat below bloom late in the year.  Here in 2007, mid-September was peak bloom time for both these buckwheat species.


mid Sept 07, redroot buckwheat (Eriogonum racemosum), Sheeprock Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

This buckwheat species grows among E. microthecum but has a broader elevation window of about 6,800-7,400 ft at this area in the Sheeprocks.  Associated species near this photo at around 6,850 ft were Amelanchier sp., Penstemon humilis, Allium sp., Artemisia tridentata. Quercus gambelii, and Eriogonum microthecum.

I look forward to someday being able to recognize all Utah’s Eriogonum species I come across.  I might never attain that with willows, lupines, rabbitbrushes and milkvetches (Astragalus), groups that each contain similar species that strike me as very difficult to differentiate.  But I can foresee learning all of Utah’s Eriogonum and Penstemon species.

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