Armchair Botanizing - Utah

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Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14
Armchair Botanizing - Utah

On this cold wintery day, I like nothing better than settling down into an a comfy armchair, crank up Google, and pick a North American destination and start looking around. Today's trip is the State of Utah.

State wildflower societies provide invaluable and extensive information on native flora, including threatened and endangered plants. I'm always amazed by the beautiful plants that I find on these virtual trips, it seems that much of the North American flora is ignored. There was a time when I belonged to numerous State wildflower organizations, well worth the small annual dues for the wealth of information they offer, and simply to support their valiant efforts in education and preserving our native flora. Some wildflowers organizations even run their own seed exchanges.

The Utah Native Plant Society has a strong web presence filled with useful information and tantalizing native plants. And just to add a bit of color to this mostly link-based post, under the fair use provision, I am attaching a photo of the yummy Polygala subspinosa found on the UNPS web site. Links to some pertinent National Park Service pages are also included (these can be a bit slow to load).
http://www.unps.org/index.html

Comprehensive treatment on the beautiful and rare Penstemon grahamii (Graham's penstemon, Graham's beardtongue, Uinta Basin penstemon)
http://www.unps.org/index.html?rareplants/penstemongrahamii.html

Cymopterus purpurascens, Apiaceae, Spring Parsley, found in Utah and other western USA states.
http://www.unps.org/PAGES/ufos/cymo_purpa_cb1_b.jpg

National Park Service page on Cymopterus purpurascens:
http://www.nps.gov/arch/naturescience/apiaceae_cymopterus_purpurascens.htm

Asclepias macrosperma (Dwarf Milkweed, Eastwood's Milkweed)
Compact, linear crinkly leaves, intricate yellow flowers.
http://www.nps.gov/arch/naturescience/asclepiadaceae_asclepias_macrosper...

Amsonia tomentosa, (Tomentose Amsonia, Woolly Amsonia)
Some of these western Amsonia species are very growable, a whole different look than the more familiar types.
http://www.nps.gov/arch/naturescience/apocynaceae_amsonia_tomentosa.htm

Polygala subspinosa (Cushion milkwort)
http://www.unps.org/PAGES/ufos/poly_subsp_ot1_b.jpg
For more information on this one, and several other species highlighted here, use the following link:
http://www.unps.org/index.html?PAGES/ufo.html

Eriogonum bicolor (Pretty Buckwheat), pretty in pink!
http://www.nps.gov/arch/naturescience/polygonaceae_eriogonum_bicolor.htm

Lithospermum incisum (Showy Stoneseed, Puccoon, Fringed Gromwell)
Just look at the long tubes and frilly yellow trumpets on this short beauty:
http://www.nps.gov/arch/naturescience/boraginaceae_lithospermum_incisum.htm

Townsendia incana (Silvery Townsendia, Silvery Townsend Daisy)
http://www.nps.gov/arch/naturescience/asteraceae_townsendia_incana.htm

Sophora stenophylla (Silvery Sophora, Narrowleaf Necklacepod)
At 5-16" tall, this looks like a most handsome low perennial with lavender to blue flowers, and beautifully dissected foliage.
http://www.nps.gov/arch/naturescience/fabaceae_sophora_stenophylla.htm

Salazaria mexicana (Paperbag bush, Bladder-sage, or Mexican bladdersage)
With common names like that, you have to check out this amusing and amazing desert shrub in the Labiatae or Lamiaceae.
http://www.unps.org/PAGES/ufos/sala_mexi_ru1_b.jpg
http://www.unps.org/PAGES/ufos/sala_mexi_ru2_b.jpg

Happy botanizing :D

Kelaidis
Kelaidis's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-02-03

That is a terrific website: the pix are pretty good. I am mystified by the reference of Amsonia tomentosa in Arches: I coulda swored (so to speak) it was Amsonia jonesii there...hope they haven't lumped these...I enjoyed seeing it there just last April myself (it's pretty common there)...

Do check out the image of Amsonia jonesii on the Plant Select website: we are offering this commercially for the first time on a large scale this spring. The picture is of a plant at Denver Botanic Gardens.

I blogged recently about Polygala, and mentioned that P. subspinosa is one that has been in my sights for some time. There is actually an even more stunning species (usually just classes as a form of subspinosa) found in the 4 corners area I have been even more anxious to find with dense mounds of very flashy bloom. I have seen this growing quite widely but never too commonly over much of the San Rafael Swell and Canyonlands region. It grows in near desert conditions, so cultivation will be a challenge.

The Sophora is new to me: something to put on the wish list for sure. P. grahamii is old hat! If oil shell is ever developed on a large scale, it could well become extinct, since that's the only thing it grows on.

Thanks again for posting these!

For every minion of the peaks there are a dozen steppe children growing in the dry Continental heart of all hemispheres still unknown to horticulture.

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Both Amsonia tomentosa & A. jonesii can be found in Utah, although I don't know if both grow in Arches National Monument area.  See the USDA plant profile links:

Amsonia jonesii
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=AMJO

Amsonia tomentosa  (two varieties; var. tomentosa and var. stenophylla, I don't know the differences between them)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=AMTO2

Amsonia tomentosa, selected CalPhotos links:
Look at the buds in this shots, they're crinkly and swirly :):
http://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi/img_query?enlarge=0000+0000+0404+0224

...a closer view, leaves not very tomentose:
http://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi/img_query?enlarge=0000+0000+1204+0422

...whole plant view, silvery foliage:
http://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi/img_query?enlarge=0000+0000+0209+0162

...more views of A. tomentosa at the CalPhotos pages, some are white tomentose, some nearly green:
http://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi/img_query?query_src=photos_index&where...

Panayoti, you mention the four corners area, and through the wonder of Google, I found a pertinent publication listing taxa in the area:
Catalog of the Four Corners Flora, Vascular Plants of the San Juan River Drainage: Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah
http://www.sanjuancollege.edu/documents/herbarium/fourcornersflora.pdf

Both Amsonia species are present, and two Polygala species are listed
Polygalaceae – 2 species, 1 variety
Polygala acanthoclada A. Gray
        var. acanthoclada – ARIZ: Coc, Nav; UTAH
        var. intricata Eastw. – UTAH
Polygala subspinosa S. Wats. – COLO: LPl, Mon; NMEX: SJn; UTAH

While not a Utah native, but to give further evidence there are some desirable little North American Polygala, here's a nice one from New Mexico:
Polygala rimulicola var. rimulicola (Guadalupe milkwork), rare mat forming species from southern New Mexico and adjacent Texas.
http://nmrareplants.unm.edu/rarelist_single_photo_thumb.php?SpeciesID=15...

I would love to see the flashy Polygala you speak of in the 4 corners area, maybe if you get a chance to find it and take photographs in spring, come back here and post the pics!

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Fermi
Fermi's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-03-03

Kelaidis wrote:

That is a terrific website: the pix are pretty good. I am mystified by the reference of Amsonia tomentosa in Arches: I coulda swored (so to speak) it was Amsonia jonesii there...hope they haven't lumped these...I enjoyed seeing it there just last April myself (it's pretty common there)...

Does that mean this isn't Amsonia jonesii?

cheers
fermi

Fermi de Sousa,
Central Victoria, Australia
Min: -7C, Max: +40C

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Fermi wrote:

Kelaidis wrote:

That is a terrific website: the pix are pretty good. I am mystified by the reference of Amsonia tomentosa in Arches: I coulda swored (so to speak) it was Amsonia jonesii there...hope they haven't lumped these...I enjoyed seeing it there just last April myself (it's pretty common there)...

Does that mean this isn't Amsonia jonesii?
[attachthumb=1]

cheers
fermi

The petals look too long and narrow to be A. jonesii.  A bit hard to tell from the close-up view what species it might be.  Here are a bunch of photo links of Amsonia jonesii to compare with your plant.

Amsonia jonesii, from Sunscapes catalog
http://www.sunscapes.net/images/A.%20jonesii%202.0%2040%25.JPG
http://www.sunscapes.net/Pages/Catalog.htm

Amsonia jonesii, Laporte Avenue Nursery
http://www.laporteavenuenursery.com/html/amsonia_jonesii_.html
http://www.laporteavenuenursery.com/html/catalog_a.html

Amsonia jonesii, High Country Gardens
http://www.highcountrygardens.com/images/products/17039.jpg
http://www.highcountrygardens.com/catalog/product/17039/

Colorado Rare Plant Field Guide 2002 Update
Drawing and photos of Amsonia jonesii (and other plants)
http://www.cnhp.colostate.edu/download/documents/2002/rare_plant_guide_u...

Amsonia jonesii, photo on the NARGS Photo Gallery, by Panayoti Kelaidis
http://www.nargs.org/nargswiki/tiki-browse_image.php?galleryId=80&sort_m...

Colorado State - Herbarium, herbarium specimen
http://wsprod.colostate.edu/cwis440/herbarium/plantinfo.asp?PlantID=143

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

cohan
cohan's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-02-03

Lots of great stuff there for sure--some of these--and many other things from Utah--I have already drooled over at Alplains... esp things from highish altitudes that might be growable here.. Several Asclepias and Cymopterus among them, for sure..

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

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