Mount Evans – Alpine Flowers

There were many resources I used to identify the various plants and flowers, but the ones I found most useful were (in no particular order):

http://www.wildflowersofcolorado.com/index.html

http://www.easterncoloradowildflowers.com/index.htm

http://www.swcoloradowildflowers.com/index.htm#top

Still, a few flowers eluded identification.  In part this is due to the different stages, lighting, and settings the flowers are photographed in, and in part it’s because while some flowers looked similar to what I had, the plants themselves did not match.  I wanted to be thorough, but I have a limited amount of time to dedicate to identification.  Those interested can do their own research.

The alpine terrain is known as the tundra.  These photos will show some of the typical growth found in this environment.

I think this is a Alpine Springbeauty Plant, Claytonia megarhiza, but they vary in description.
I think this is a Alpine Springbeauty Plant, Claytonia megarhiza, but they vary in description.

“Alpine” is not specifically referring to the Alps, but rather to the area above the tree line (around 12,000 feet here in Colorado. . . until the climate changes).  It’s the elevation at which trees have too short a growing season.  This may be due to low moisture, too low a temperature, or persistent snowpacks.

Based on my "Devil is in the Details" gallery, this is Fungous Umbrellicus . . .   . . . but some people call it Xanthoria elegans.  That sounds so vulgar!  I much prefer my name for it.
Based on my “Devil is in the Details” gallery, this is Fungous Umbrellicus . . .
. . . but some people call it Xanthoria elegans. That sounds so vulgar! I much prefer my name for it.

By the way, for those interested, there are a lot of details in these photos when viewed at full resolution (for that one needs to go to the SmugMug Gallery).

Lots of stuff happening here . . . some Alpine Springbeauty, some Fungous Umbrellicus, what looks to be Dwarf Clover (Trifolium nanum), and what was finally identified as Paronychia pulvinata (Rocky Mountain Nailwort).
Lots of stuff happening here . . . some Alpine Springbeauty, some Fungous Umbrellicus, what looks to be Dwarf Clover (Trifolium nanum), and what was finally identified as Paronychia pulvinata (Rocky Mountain Nailwort).
These are rocks growing among some dwarf clover and moss champion flowers.
These are rocks growing among some dwarf clover and moss champion flowers.
A bit of everything . . . rocks, dwarf clover, more Rocky Mountain nailwort, and Alpine Sandworth, and more rocks.
A bit of everything . . . rocks, dwarf clover, more Rocky Mountain nailwort, and Alpine Sandworth, and more rocks.
The pink flower is Trifolium parryi (Parry Clover), and the red bloom is either King’s Crown Flowers (Sedum integrifolium), or Red Stonecrop (Tolmachevia integrifolia).  I'm leaning more toward the King's Crown.
The pink flower is Trifolium parryi (Parry Clover), and the red bloom is either King’s Crown Flowers (Sedum integrifolium), or Red Stonecrop (Tolmachevia integrifolia).
I’m leaning more toward the King’s Crown.
Close-up of the Parry Clover.
Close-up of the Parry Clover.
A close-up of what I think is King’s Crown Flowers (Sedum integrifolium)
A close-up of what I think is King’s Crown Flowers (Sedum integrifolium)
This looks like some sort of grain plant or grass . . . The thing is I remember coming across this in my search for other flower names, but I can't seem to find it again.   . . . I'm calling it . . . Copper Stembrow, also commonly referred to as Bro.
This looks like some sort of grain plant or grass . . . The thing is I remember coming across this in my search for other flower names, but I can’t seem to find it again.
. . . I’m calling it . . . Copper Stembrow, also commonly referred to as Bro.
I think this is an Alpine Avens flower (Acomastylis rossii ssp turbinatum)
I think this is an Alpine Avens flower (Acomastylis rossii ssp turbinatum)
Dwarf Clover (Trifolium nanum), and some Alpine Avens
Dwarf Clover (Trifolium nanum), and some Alpine Avens
That is a Stealthy Ground Spider, Cesonia Bilineate, on a Marsh Marigold Flower, Caltha leptosepala.  I'm pretty sure about the spider, but the flower is not a 100% thing . . . the pictures for that particular flower are all over the place. Still, pretty sure.
That is a Stealthy Ground Spider, Cesonia Bilineate, on a Marsh Marigold Flower, Caltha leptosepala.
I’m pretty sure about the spider, but the flower is not a 100% thing . . . the pictures for that particular flower are all over the place. Still, pretty sure.
Same flower, but this time with a fly . . . perhaps I should have gotten those two together . . . they make a good pair.
Same flower, but this time with a fly . . . perhaps I should have gotten those two together . . . they make a good pair.
Springbeauty is a name that fits.   I do like the combination of rocks, lichen, and alpine flowers . . . it's like a miniature magical world of colors and textures.
Springbeauty is a name that fits.
I do like the combination of rocks, lichen, and alpine flowers . . . it’s like a miniature magical world of colors and textures.
You would think I'd get tired of it, but each one presents its own unique interpretation of setting, colors, and textures.
You would think I’d get tired of it, but each one presents its own unique interpretation of setting, colors, and textures.
My scenery album showed a lot of rocks . . . what perhaps was not evident is what's between those rocks.
My scenery album showed a lot of rocks . . . what perhaps was not evident is what’s between those rocks.
The tundra is very fragile . . . I took great care to walk only on the rocks, and even then, those without much lichen on them.
The tundra is very fragile . . . I took great care to walk only on the rocks, and even then, those without much lichen on them.
I could wonder around these places for hours . . .
I could wonder around these places for hours . . .
. . . mostly because every few feet I would stop and snap a picture.
. . . mostly because every few feet I would stop and snap a picture.
By far the most surprising and striking are the Alpine Forget-Me-Not Flowers, Eritrichium nanum. Your eyes are drawn to them both for their delicate beauty, and because the vivid blue seems out of place in this harsh environment.
By far the most surprising and striking are the Alpine Forget-Me-Not Flowers, Eritrichium nanum. Your eyes are drawn to them both for their delicate beauty, and because the vivid blue seems out of place in this harsh environment.
Whether the center of attention, or as an accent for the lichen and rocks, the Forget-Me-Not Flowers are welcome additions to any photo.
Whether the center of attention, or as an accent for the lichen and rocks, the Forget-Me-Not Flowers are welcome additions to any photo.
Dwarf clover, Springbeauty, Forget-Me-Nots, and more, all in a very small and visually pleasing area.
Dwarf clover, Springbeauty, Forget-Me-Nots, and more, all in a very small and visually pleasing area.
Eventually one just runs out of words, and is stuck admiring in silence.
Eventually one just runs out of words, and is stuck admiring in silence.
And yes, the rocks and lichen are also an interesting visual treat.
And yes, the rocks and lichen are also an interesting visual treat.
Many of these shots were taken while I had ventured far from the car.
Many of these shots were taken while I had ventured far from the car.

 I had seen a line of photographers, tripods all set up, taking pictures of something. It took me a bit to get there and discover they were photographing Mountain Goats (the subjects of a future post).

I was gone for a lengthy while, and it speaks to the patience my wife has to indulge my hobby and propensity for getting distracted by damn near anything I see.

Hmmm . . . those are odd . . . I can't seem to find a classification for them. Looks like a type of fig. Maybe dried prunes.
Hmmm . . . those are odd . . . I can’t seem to find a classification for them. Looks like a type of fig. Maybe dried prunes.
Alpine primroses . .
Alpine primroses . .
As stated at the opening, I have 8-9 sites I check for flower identifications, with three as the primary ones . . . except that I can waste a lot of time and still not find the name of the flower.   This particular one has a unique flower and leaves combination I could not match to any photos. After a while I get irritated and lose interest.
As stated at the opening, I have 8-9 sites I check for flower identifications, with three as the primary ones . . . except that I can waste a lot of time and still not find the name of the flower.
This particular one has a unique flower and leaves combination I could not match to any photos. After a while I get irritated and lose interest.
These shots are from around the observatory, probably an area no more than fifty feet from it . . . and there are miles of the stuff.
These shots are from around the observatory, probably an area no more than fifty feet from it . . . and there are miles of the stuff.
The word "tundra" for me has always brought forth images of desolate wasteland . . .
The word “tundra” for me has always brought forth images of desolate wasteland . . .
Desolate, yes . . . but not wasteland.
Desolate, yes . . . but not wasteland.

Really, a lot of beauty to be found, and always surprising whenever I visit alpine areas that such delicate plants carpet mountainsides where hardier flora fears to thread.

I know . . . I'm repeating myself.
I know . . . I’m repeating myself.

The SmugMug gallery can be reached by clicking HERE.  It has a similar narrative, and there are more photos (57 photographs).  Most readers will be content with the visuals above, but it is worthwhile (if interested in that sort of thing) to check out the plants, rocks, and lichen in detail.  Some are exquisite.

Thanks for dropping by and perusing my stuff.

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