These are photos of plant species I learned to identify and first took decent photos of during 2009.  I have split this category into two posts.  This is part 1, and part 2 will follow.

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early May 09, utah milkvetch (Astragalus utahensis), Oquirrh Mtns, Utah Co, UT

This grows in pinion-juniper / sagebrush habitat around 5,200 ft elevation.  This widespread species is probably the one member of this many-specied genus I feel confident in identifying (and I’m still not fully certain).

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mid May 09, yellow avalanche lily (Erythronium grandiflorum), Sheeprock Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

These have a short and early flowering period, but can surely light up a hillside during that time.  This species can occur both in full sun and in areas mostly shaded.  In the shaded areas in blooms prior to the time the surrounding trees have fully leafed out.

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late May 09, mat rockspirea (Petrophyton caespitosum), southern Snake Range, White Pine Co, NV

This “rockmat” I have seen in at least two other ranges also–Utah’s Wasatch and Sheeprocks.  I used to think it only grew on limestone, but in the Sheeprocks it can grow on expansive granite.  It is a member of the Rose Family, although one would probably not guess that easily.

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late May 09, prairie thermopsis (Thermopsis rhombifolia), southern Snake Range, White Pine Co, NV

This colorful legume grows in Nevada’s Southern Snake at the edges of marshy areas and in the mostly dry creekside areas that must get wet only occasionally.  I would have probably noticed it within Utah also, if its blooming period extended longer.

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late May 09, cleftleaf wildheliotrope (Phacelia crenulata), northern Snake Range, White Pine Co, NV

This species can grow so densely along some dry dirt roads, one might guess it is an invasive species; but it’s not.

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late May 09, bitter root (Lewisia rediviva), Simpson Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

I bumped into a patch of this my first time visiting the Simpsons and had no idea what it was.  Then I saw a photo posted on the Utah Native Plant Society website, and figured out this was the same species.  The genus name comes from Merriweather Lewis, of ‘Lewis and Clark.’

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mid June 09, indian hemp (Apocynum cannabinum), Canyon Mtns, Millard Co, UT

There is a broad isolated patch of this that grows in a south-facing hollow here.  I have also seen this species in Utah with green rather than these bright red stems.

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early July 09, littleleaf mockorange (Philadelphus microphyllus), Deep Creek Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

When I photographed this remains the only time I have seen this in flower.  It probably surpasses Utah Agave as my favorite new plant species found that season.  The scent of the blooms is sensational.

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early July 09, flatbud pricklypoppy (Argemone munita), Deep Creek Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

These were growing in a dry gravelly wash.  This species is easy to see along dirt roads in western Utah.

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late July 09, seep monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus), Mineral Mtns, Beaver Co, UT

These grow at a spring in a canyon bottom, where the other blooming species is Penstemon rostriflorus.

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late July 09, wirelettuce (Stephanomeria sp.), Mineral Mtns, Beaver Co, UT

I have noticed this genus growing very plentifully in a couple of sites in western Utah.  Initially I misidentified this as Arenaria fendleri (fendlers sandwort), but was thankfully corrected regarding genus by a professional botanist who looked at this post.  I am uncertain of the species designation, and can see by the USU digital database that two Stephanomeria species occur here in the southwestern quadrant of Utah.  This must be either S. pauciflora or S. minor; but I’m still uncertain which one.  I can see by the range map that fendlers sandwort is well-distributed across Utah.  I’ve probably seen it without noticing it, & I hope to be able to identify that species someday.  Thanks for the correction.

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late July 09, nakedstem sunray (Enceliopsis nudicaulis), Mineral Mtns, Beaver Co, UT

At first when I noticed this species here, I figured it was some type of Eriogonum, since that is what the leaves seem like.  Then I examined the old flower-heads that indicated it was an aster.

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douglas dustymaiden, Mineral Mtns

late July 09, douglas dustymaiden (Chaenactis douglasii), Mineral Mtns, Beaver Co, UT

Someday I will succeed in a better photo of this very common species and its fun, filigreed leaves.

Part 2 of this category continues in my next post and contains several more species I found later in 2009.

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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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