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SBNM wildflowers 2015 post #4

May 6, 2015

They just keep coming – a few new flowers blooming every week! Current species count = 22.

Some of the earlier-blooming species mentioned in this post (and the earlier ones linked in it) are becoming less abundant, but you can still find them here and there. That’s the beauty of all the microclimates on the bluff.

I find it interesting that some of the first specimens of each species I find blooming tend to be smaller plants. I wonder if this is because it takes the smaller plant less time to bloom, or if that plant is in a smaller pocket of soil overlaying rock that warms up faster but that stunts the plant’s growth, or if there are some other reasons.

Plains phlox, Phlox andicola. I feel more comfortable with the difference between this phlox and Hood's phlox now, after seeing them blooming near each other. The plains phlox has larger flowers than Hood's phlox, and the petals overlap, whereas the Hood's phlox flowers have more clearly visible separation between each petal.

Plains phlox, Phlox andicola. I feel more comfortable with the difference between this phlox and Hood’s phlox now, after seeing them blooming near each other. The plains phlox has larger flowers than earlier-blooming Hood’s phlox, and the plains phlox petals overlap, whereas the Hood’s phlox flowers have more clearly visible separation between each petal.

Bastard toadflax! (Comandra umbellata) Another plant whose name I find hilarious. I'm lucky to have seen this tiny little plant (unlucky to have had my camera focus on the greenery instead of the flowers).

Bastard toadflax! (Comandra umbellata) Another plant whose name I find hilarious. I’m lucky to have spotted this tiny little plant between the raindrops rolling off my jacket hood (unlucky to have had my camera focus on the greenery instead of the flowers). This is one flower that Connie McKinney missed in her wildflower guide (the book is mentioned at the end of this post).

Spiderwort, Tradescantia occidentalis

Spiderwort, Tradescantia occidentalis – the rainy day really brought out this flower’s color.

The gumbo lily, Oenothera caespitosa, is another favorite of mine. It grows primarily on bare young soil (known as "gumbo" when it turns to mud), so it really tends to stand out.

The gumbo lily, Oenothera caespitosa, is another favorite of mine. It grows primarily on bare young soil (known as “gumbo” when it turns to mud), so it really tends to stand out.

I just happened to glance down and discover a scarlet guara - Guara coccinea - where a steep slope intersects the asphalt trail. This is another of my favorite western Nebraska wildflowers.

I just happened to glance down and discover a scarlet guara – Guara coccinea – where a steep slope intersects the asphalt trail. This is another of my favorite western Nebraska wildflowers. It’s just not a terribly great picture with the blossoms all heavy with raindrops.

Want to see these flowers in person? Keep your eyes peeled along Saddle Rock Trail!

Copyright 2015 by Katie Bradshaw

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