new plant species, 2008

February 1, 2010

These are photos of plant species I learned to identify and first took decent photos of during 2008.

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late May 08, andersons larkspur (Delphinium andersonii), Moab area, Grand Co, UT

When I first saw this I thought it must be a desert type of columbine (Aquilegia).  Further checking taught me what it was.  This species of Delphinium surely can inhabit much drier habitat than the other widespread species in Utah that I knew of, Delphinium nuttallianum.  I’ve seen D. nuttallianum growing taller than 2m, in the moist shade of aspen and fir in the Wasatch Mtns.

Here, D. andersonii grows at ~4,300 ft elevation, in red sand, among Quercus gambelii, Fraxinus anomala, Rhus trilobata, Grayia spinosa, Artimesia ludoviciana, Mirabilis multiflora (leaves shown in the photo’s left), Ephedra viridis, Ephedra torreyana, Echinocereus troglochidiatus, Sphaeralcea sp., and Symphoricarpos sp.

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late May 08, blackbrush (Coleogyne ramosissima), Moab area, Grand Co, UT

On the same walk in late May, I found this species growing in red sand.  For years I mistakenly thought this was Fendlera rupicola (cliff fendlerbush), but was way off.  In May 2010 a professional botanist glancing at this site noticed I had mistakenly identified this blackbrush (from the rose family).  Fendlerbush (in the family Hydrangeaceae) has much more prominent flowers, for one thing.  I had seen what I knew was blackbrush growing years prior in the foothills of Utah’s Henry Mtns, and in 2007 had identified blackbrush growing in flat sandy habitat elsewhere not far from Moab, but this blackbrush from May 2008 seemed more upright-growing unlike those others, and I thought it must be something else & reached out toward fendlerbush.  Here’s looking forward to seeing a real fendlerbush in flower, someday–one of Utah’s two species.

Thanks for the correction.

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late May 08, colorado four oclock (Mirabilis multiflora), Moab area, Grand Co, UT

I had seen this species in horticulture before, but this was my first time seeing its wild blooms.  It grows in the same habitat as the previous two species.

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late July 08, shortstem buckwheat (Eriogonum brevicaule), Canyon Mtns, Millard Co, UT

I kept bumping into this species of buckwheat without being certain what it is, and then I spent some attention and figured it out.  This species is very widespread in the northern half of Utah.  Here, on a W-facing slope at ~6,900 ft elevation, it grows among Eriogonum racemosum, Eriogonum umbellatum, Alium sp., Gutierrezia sarothrae, Pinus edulis, Juniperus osteosperma, Quercus gambelii, Artemesia tridentata, Cercocarpus ledifolius, Opuntia sp., Echinocereus triglochidiatus, Arenaria macradenia, Holodiscus dumosus, Amelanchier alnifolia, and Penstemon leonardii var. leonardii.

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late July 08, garrett's firechalice (Epilobium canum ssp. garrettii), Canyon Mtns, Millard Co, UT

This species (recently reassigned from the easier-to-remember genus, “Zauschneria”) occurs near the Eriogonum brevicaule site above, but is commoner there on the E- rather than W-facing slopes.  Here, the rock outcrops it grows among are expansive quartzite.  I tried taking photos of firechalice earlier in a couple of different mountain ranges, but getting the flower reasonably in focus had eluded me.  Unlike most of the Penstemon species with which it shares habitat and a roughly similar appearance, firechalice has an extended blooming season.

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early August 08, spreading dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium), Wasatch Mtns, Salt Lake Co, UT

I had never noticed this species blooming before, and I thank my friend Matthew Utley for identifying it for me based on this photo.  This patch of it grows at ~6,000 ft elevation, adjacent to a well-trodden hiking trail near Salt Lake City, Utah.  Two Penstemon species, P. cyananthus and P. platyphyllus, grow nearby.

I returned to this site one year later and found this patch of A. androsaemifolium to have a similar number of plants but with significantly less foliage and almost no blooms.  The fact that the same plants of this perennial bloomed profusely in 2008 but barely at all in 2009 suggests some seasonal, climatic characteristic must have varied.  I had not thought the weather in that general area seemed much different, in those two seasons.

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late Sept 08, roundleaf buffaloberry (Shepherdia rotundifolia), Capitol Reef Natl Park area, Wayne Co, UT

I consider this one of the most striking plants of Utah, with its metallic leaves.  I have also seen it in the Canaan Mtn area in Washington Co, and in the Henry Mtns foothills in Garfield Co.

Since this species is striking and a good photo subject, I will insert below a second shot of it, this one taken in 2009 in the Canaan Mtn area.

mid October 09, roundleaf buffaloberry (Shepherdia rotundifolia), Canaan Mtn area, Washington Co, UT

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