Here’s another spring (and summer and maybe even fall) flower you’ll see in quite a few national parks: Indian paintbrush (aka scarlet paintbrush, magenta paintbrush, pumice paintbrush, etc. etc.). Here’s an interesting little fact that you would have picked up if you’d read my National Parks Quiz and Trivia Piece #28: the paintbrush flower is quite opportunistic, digging its roots into neighboring plants to steal their nutrients. This plant, therefore, is hemiparasitic – it has chlorophyll, so it doesn’t get all of its nutrition from other plants.
The next time you are out in a park, or even when you look alongside the road and you spy a paintbrush flower, look around to see if there are other flowers nearby. You’ll usually (not always, but usually) see Indian, scarlet, magenta, or pumice paintbrush quite close to other flowers and plants.
Oh, and if you are interested in looking at that wildflower quiz, then click on the image above.
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.
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“April showers bring May flowers.” While that might be the case in the lower elevations of the park, that’s not really so in the upper elevations. If you visit during mid-late July, however, you’ll see an explosion of wildflowers in the park, including the beautiful tiger lily.
As I was driving up the road from the Nisqually Entrance toward Paradise, one July a few years ago, I saw this patch of bright orange, strangely-shaped blooms. There was no place for me to stop along the narrow road, so I drove on, trying to figure out where I could park and then hike down to this patch. Luckily for me, a day later, while driving Stevens Canyon Road, I saw these flowers again, right next to a convenient pullout.The tiger lily plant, also known as the Columbia lily, can grow to a little under 4 feet in height, with a few or numerous orange blooms dotted with brownish spots. They are apparently lightly-scented, which I did not know, otherwise I would have bent down to sniff (and probably breathed in pollen and then gotten an allergy, so probably just as well I didn’t know this). Tiger lilys are just one of the many wildflowers you’ll see during a July visit to this national park.
It’s time to test your knowledge with my latest quiz and trivia piece published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler. It’s all about spring wildflowers in the national park system. See just how much you know and maybe learn something new.
To take the quiz, click on the image above. After you’ve finished with the quiz, take a look at the other articles in today’s edition of the Traveler, while you are at it.
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.
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For this July 4th, how about a bit of flower fireworks, courtesy of these blooming spider lilies. They make me think of bursting white and yellow fireworks. A bit of a throwback to 2015, courtesy of Brazos Bend State Park in Texas.
Where ever you are folks, regardless of the day (which feels to me a bit marred thanks to tRump’s little Covid party last night at Mount Rushmore National Memorial), please stay safe out there. The coronavirus is here to stay until there is a viable vaccine available to everybody, so please practice social distancing and wear a mask. It aint a hoax.
The view along the Lost Mine Trail, Big Bend National Park, in Texas
Hey folks, it’s Fun Fact Friday! Here are some interesting facts for you about Big Bend National Park, in Texas.
There are over 60 species of cactus, 450 species of birds, 1,200 plant species, and 3,600 insect species found in this national park.
The name Big Bend comes from a bend in the Rio Grande River, which runs along the park boundary.
In 2012, the park was named an International Dark Sky Park, which means it’s awesome for star gazing.
I first visited this national park in 2013 and made 4 more trips there before moving out of Texas. I visited during the winter and spring, when the temperatures were at their most ambient. Late spring was awesome for blooming cactus. And, speaking of visiting, Big Bend is entering it’s busy season, so if you are planning to travel there anytime soon, you’d probably better have alternate lodging plans in case you can’t find an available campsite, according to an article published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler.
To read more of that article, click on the image at the top of this post.
A strawberry pitaya bloom, Big Bend National Park, in Texas
We were waiting for my oldest nephew to arrive from the airport, and I took my camera out into the backyard to photograph the bees on a large thistle bush. This bush is not like the weedy thistles you see sprouting from pavement cracks – it’s more like something a home-and-garden store would sell for a decorative yard plant. The bush is quite large and the spheres are golf-ball sized and covered with lavender flowerets. The honey bees absolutely love them.
I thought the time for iris blooms was over, since it is one day away from May and even the daffodils are gone, and the tulips, while still around, are waning in my yard. Guess I was wrong! The first thing I thought when I saw these lovely yellow iris on the side lawn was Arya, in GOT, saying “Not today,” when asked what she would say to Death.
The iris will shrivel up “not today,”
P.S. Instead of using a macro lens for my flower close ups, I like to use my telephoto lenses. This image was captured with a Canon 1DX Mk II and a 100-400mm lens.
The tulips are now blooming. Our house only has small patches of them in yellow, red, and the striped orange & gold you see here. I believe they are my favorite flowers, although I do like the colorful calla lilies, too, and fragrant sweet peas. I’m posting this bit of sunshine because I think it’s supposed to be a little overcast today. That’s ok. I finished sweeping up the shop roof yesterday and trimmed the overhanging branches. And don’t worry – I was very careful. I have a slight fear of heights – well, maybe more than slight, since there is no way in hell I would ever hike that last half mile on the Angels Landing Trail in Zion National Park 😉😟🗻
This photo is brought to you by my 100-400mm telephoto lens, then cropped a little more. I used to own a macro lens but realized I didn’t use it much. So, I traded it in for a different lens. And this is a lesson to you in how to get close-up “pseudo-macro” shots using just your telephoto lens on an SLR or telephoto setting on a point-and-shoot camera.
After a search on Google, I discovered that the spindly, dead-looking “bush” out there that keeps sprouting these long-petaled blooms is called a Star Magnolia! This is certainly not the same kind of magnolia that I used to see blooming in southeast Texas, that’s for sure. I learned there are actually 8 species of magnolia. I might have to go out, now, and take a sniff to see if these blooms are fragrant (and hopefully not trigger any spring allergy).
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