More Mountain Wildflowers
There are simply so many mountain wildflowers. Some of the most beautiful are my favorites. They are:
- Little Red Elephants
- Alpine Pinks
- White Mountain Aven (Wood Nymphs)
- Northern Bedstraw
Lupines, never grow high on the slopes of mountains, yet they are scattered over the mountain slopes where the open stand of trees allows the sunlight to reach the ground -- there the Lupines (Lupinus) form a showy carpet.
The leaves are compound, five to ten narrow leaflets radiating from the tip of the petiole, and are often soft with down hairs.
The pea-shaped flowers, usually bright blued, but sometimes variegated or shaded to white, are thickly clustered into a spike.
Those on the lower parts of the mountains are a foot or more in height, with many branches and spikes, but as they ascend the slopes other shorter varieties come in, until near the tops of the peaks there may be but a single flower-spike in the midst of a low rosette of leaves. These alpine lupines are only two or three inches high, but often of the deepest blue color.
Lupines - Horticulture
Little Red Elephant And The Betonys
In the higher mountain bogs and in the marshy land along streams grows a slender plant with narrow fern-life leaves. It's dark red tubular flowers are strongly two-lipped. The upper lip ends in an upturned tube so long that it resembles an elephant's trunk.
Your imagination may also see in the flower a miniature of the flat forehead and flapping ears of the great animal as well as his curved trunk, and hence the name Little Red Elephant.
The scientists, too, have seen the elephant's trunk, for they have called the plant Elephantella groenlandica, the latter word indicating that it is also a flower of Greenland and the Far North.
With similar fern-like leaves, the flowers of the Betonys (Pedicularis) are quite as two-lipped as those of the Little Red Elephant, to which they are closely related. They lack the curved trunk, however, and are frequently known as the Louseworts. Yellow and white ones go up into the open woods of the subalpine regions, some of them forming fine large plants.
The Alpine Pink
"There, cleaving the ground, it lies
With multitude of purple eyes
Spangling a cushion green like moss."
Where the last line of vegetation grows prostrate upon the earth, the Alpine Pink (Silene acaulis) displays its cushions. From a large tap-root slender branching stems from dense tufts from one to three inches high and from three to eighteen inches in diameter.
Narrow linear leaves crowd the stems, forming a green cushion over which are thickly scattered starry flowers with five purplish pink petals.
The flowers are solitary at the tops of the branches, and less than a half inch across, but are often so numerous that their petals almost touch one another. These flower-sprinkled cushions are often within a stone's throw of a snow-bank that lingers on the mountainsides.
No alpine flower is more widely spread, for it is freely scattered over the Rocky Mountains, is found on the summits of the White Mountains of New Hampshire, in Labrador, and in Alaska. It is also found on the mountains of Europe and Asia. Some other names under which it is known are Moss Pink and Moss Campion.
Wood Nymphs (aka White Mountains Aven)
The name is here a little misleading because the Wood Nymphs grow in the alpine regions high above the forests. The scientific name Dryas octopetala means "wood nymph with eight petals," and its creamy white flowers do usually have eight petals.
The stems are prostrate and woody, with small thick oblong green leaves covered on the under-side with thick white hair.
The flowers are like great creamy white buttercups, an inch across, held erect on stems two or three inches high.
Numerous stamens and carpels occupy the center of the flower, the latter ripening into seed-like fruits, with plumose styles an inch long attached. This fruit gives the name of White Mountain Avens by which many know it.
In the Rocky Mountains from Colorado to British Columbia, it goes north and from there east to Labrador and Greenland, whence it crosses the ocean to the Arctic and alpine regions of Europe and Asia.
Many flowers that are inconspicuous in the lowlands at once attract attention in the mountains, since they are represented by more attractive species.
This seems strikingly true in the case of the Northern Bedstraw (Galium borcale), a plant often quite appropriately called Mountain Bedstraw.
Belonging to the Madder plant family,Bedstraws are low plants with slender, often prickly stems on which narrow leaves are arranged in whorls of four (sometimes of six) and which bear small four-petaled white flowers.
These flowers are so minute that they are usually inconspicuous, but in the Northern Bedstraw, they are produced by the hundreds on stems from eight to twelve inches high, forming a cloud of tiny white stars.
The effect is not unlike frills of white lace over green silk, the leaves of the plant and its neighbors making the green background.
The mountain-climber is sure to find the delicate flower along his trail even when he goes far afield. In Alaska and in Labrador, the same white flower grows at low elevations, and it is also found in the mountains of Europe and Asia.
If You'd Like To Know More!
- Alpine Pink
- Elephantella - Elephants Head - Pedicularis groenlandica - Colorado Rocky Mountain Wildflowers - Den
Wildflower profile: Elephantella or Elephants Head looks like miniature purple Elephants heads.
- Lovely Lupines : Landscaping : Home & Garden Television
The care and planting of a beautiful self-seeding native.
Lupines. Identifying Lupines. The wildflowers of British Columbia, Canada
- Northern Bedstraw
- USDA Alpine Pink