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Yet MORE flowers out at SBNM

April 28, 2015

Since I’ve been hiking Scotts Bluff National Monument regularly this spring, I’ve been able to enjoy the waves of wildflowers, the timing of each species choosing to put in an appearance. It’s particularly interesting along the Saddle Rock path at SBNM, I think, because the variety of microclimates means you can often see a cross-section of the entire blooming season as you meander.

In addition to the 10 species I posted pictures of in previous posts (Treasure hunt at SBNM and More flowers out at SBNM), I’ve also seen plentiful prairie goldenpea and the occasional Nutttal’s violet along the pathway, and I noticed this weekend that blue flax is popping along Highway 71.

Here are a few more species I captured with my camera along the Saddle Rock trail this week:

Groundsel - Senecio integerrimus - is starting to bloom.

Groundsel – Senecio integerrimus – is starting to bloom.

Quite a bit of fringed puccoon out there - Lithospermum incisum. The name of this plant kinda cracks me up, makes me think of pirates on the prairie sea of grass. "Avast, ye fringed puccoon!"

Quite a bit of fringed puccoon out there – Lithospermum incisum. The name of this plant kinda cracks me up, makes me think of pirates on the prairie sea of grass. “Avast, ye fringed puccoon!”

A plant with a B. A. name - death camas (Zigadenus venenosus) - is quite appropriate. According to a USDA plant guide, "Eating one or two bulbs is enough to cause severe illness in children, and 4 or 5 can cause death depending on the species."

A plant with a badass, yet appropriate, name – death camas (Zigadenus venenosus). According to a USDA plant guide, “Eating one or two bulbs is enough to cause severe illness in children, and 4 or 5 can cause death depending on the species.” PLEASE DON’T EAT THE WILDFLOWERS.

And one of my favorite local wildflowers - the sandwort, Arenaria hookeri. It's an unassuming little plant, but it's hardy and I appreciate its aesthetic.

And one of my favorite local wildflowers – the sandwort, Arenaria hookeri. It’s an unassuming little plant, but it’s hardy and I appreciate its aesthetic. Alas, the photo is slightly out of focus. Hard to see what’s in focus on that cellphone screen!

So, that’s 17 species of wildflower you have a chance of seeing on a hike in western Nebraska at the moment. If you wait until the official Nebraska Wildflower Week (May 29 – June 9), you’ll be missing some of the earlier species. Grab a guide and head out there to see for yourself!

Copyright 2015 by Katie Bradshaw

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