Utah desert plants

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Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27
Utah desert plants

I had the pleasure of a geology field trip to Utah last week and thought you might enjoy seeing some of the wonderful plants and desert mountain scenery from the various sites we stopped at.
Scenery near the old coal-mining town of Helper, SE of Salt Lake City:

I haven't ID'd many of the plants yet so please speak up if you know what they are. The first appears to be an Astragalus/Oxtropis and the second looks like Cymopteris sp.... that's as far as I've gotten!

Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) was very common:

Physaria sp. on an eroded sunny bank:

Ephedra viridis, Mormon tea, was very common too; this individual shows a golden-foliaged sport:

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

 

Petroglyphs... the hunch-backed flute-player, Kokopelli, is shown on the lower right:

Round-leaved buffaloberry, Shepherdia rotundifolia (x2):
 

Unknown Brassicacaea:

Cryptantha crassisepala?

Dried skeleton of Eriogonum inflatum:

Castilleja sp.:
 

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

Lori wrote:

I had the pleasure of a geology field trip to Utah last week and thought you might enjoy seeing some of the wonderful plants and desert mountain scenery from the various sites we stopped at.

Oh yes! Thank you Lori!

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Weiser
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-04

The Castilleja species looks like Castilleja chromosa. Here are some photos for comparison.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sierrarainshadow/sets/72157603721807736/

The Astragalus could be Astragalus utahensis but I can't be sure.

Looks like you got out into some remote areas.

From the High Desert Steppe
of the Great Basin and the Eastern
Escarpment of the Sierra Nevada Range
Located in Reno/Sparks,NV  zone 6-7
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sierrarainshadow/
John P Weiser

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

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

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Of course, from my prospective, all mountainous scenery is spectacular, but I assume there is something geologically special about this area?

Never heard of Eriogonum inflatum before, and had to go read up on its peculiarly fascinating growth.  Has any of you in the northern reaches grown it?

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Weiser
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-04

Don't grow it but I've popped quite a few. :rolleyes:

It is an annual and grows anywhere from 6"-2'tall depending on available spring moisture. The inflated portion of the stem is hollow and when they are green can be squeezed and popped just like bubble wrap.

Here are photos of small plants blooming in a very dry environment. The plants are only about 6" tall.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sierrarainshadow/sets/72157626811038726/wit...

From the High Desert Steppe
of the Great Basin and the Eastern
Escarpment of the Sierra Nevada Range
Located in Reno/Sparks,NV  zone 6-7
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sierrarainshadow/
John P Weiser

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

Eriogonum inflatum is one of those species that demonstrates each species in the genus must be evaluated for garden-worthiness, and certainly some of the desert oddity species are exactly that, desert oddities.  Aside from the weird inflated stems, like Allium fistulosum, there is little to recommend for this rather ugly oddity (that said, it is interesting to learn about such odd creatures, to give perspective to the genus variability).

http://www.laspilitas.com/nature-of-california/plants/eriogonum-inflatum
http://www.wildutah.us/html/plants_scenery/h_trumpet_desert.html
http://www.mojavenp.org/Eriogonum_inflatum.htm
http://learningtolivehere.wordpress.com/2010/06/05/vegetation/

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

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Thanks for the ID suggestions - I'll add them to my photos!

Weiser wrote:

Looks like you got out into some remote areas.

We were off the beaten tracks a couple of times with short hikes, but generally not far off the highway, though certainly in some sparsely inhabited areas.

RickR wrote:

Of course, from my prospective, all mountainous scenery is spectacular, but I assume there is something geologically special about this area?

Yes, the area has fabulous exposures of an essentially complete range of geological environments, from alluvial fans to braided streams to meandering streams to delta fronts and turbidites to aeolian dunes.  I won't dwell on that here but it was fantastic!

More of what appeared to be the same Castilleja:
   

Sphaeralcea coccinea, I think(?):

Some stunningly-colored cactus flowers!
     

Scenery:
 

More Cryptantha crassisepala(?):

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

McDonough wrote:

Eriogonum inflatum is one of those species that demonstrates each species in the genus must be evaluated for garden-worthiness, and certainly some of the desert oddity species are exactly that, desert oddities.  

Weird but fascinating... I always get a kick out of seeing this plant!   :)

Petroglyphs:
                 

               

Skunkbush sumac, Rhus trifoliata... which we've seen in the wild through North Dakota and is hardy here, by the way:
               

Rock garden with a pretty little pinyon(?) pine:
               

Cute little Hymenoxys(?):
               

And getting down to the Capital Reef National Park area, where the (largely) aeolian sandstone cliffs turn red:
                           

(More to follow...)

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Tim Ingram
Title: Member
Joined: 2011-04-27

Now if I had a trough like that for a dwarf pine I would be happy! Fascinating plants, especially the Cymopterus. No wonder I find so many difficult to grow here! The Shepherdia is very impressive and I have raised this from seed but not managed to grow it on - there is a superb picture of it in Alpines '86. I imagine year round cover could be essential for plants like this here, and even then light levels would be limited. Lovely to see them in the wild.

Dr. Timothy John Ingram
Faversham, Kent, UK
I garden in a relatively hot and dry region (for the UK!), with an annual rainfall of around 25", winter lows of -10°C and summer highs of 30°C.
 

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