Brewers Lupine
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Wildflowers A-M

"… wild flowers should be enjoyed unplucked where they grow."

Teddy Rossevelt

Alaska Fireweed

Vogel Lake, Kenai Peninsula, Alaska 2009
Pink spires of flowers bloom at tops of tall, erect, leafy stems with narrow willow-like leaves.

Often grows in spectacular dense patches, and though attractive, it is aggressive in a moist garden, spreading from persistent underground stems. The seeds are dispersed far and wide by long, white, silky hairs. Bees value it as a source of nectar, and the very young shoots and leaves can be eaten as cooked greens. Recent work at the genetic level has shown that Chamerion, recognized by its alternate leaves, is distinct from Epilobium (with leaves opposite, at least near base), the genus in which Fireweed was formerly placed.

  • Chamerion angustifolium (L.) Holub
  • Fireweed, Willow herb, Great willow herb
  • Onagraceae (Evening-Primrose Family)
  • USDA Symbol: CHAN9
  • USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N), GL (N), SPM (N)
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Alpine Columbine

Mt Dana, Yosemite, August 2010
Similar to other columbines but with larger, erect (not nodding) all yellow flowers, sometimes with a hint of red or pink. A tufted plant with highly divided leaves and large cream flowers tinted with pastel blue, pink, or yellow and tipped upward. Resembles a delicate version of a garden hybrid columbine. Stems are 8-20 in. tall and the three-parted, lobed leaves are pale green.

The pale flowers and long, straight, nectar-filled spurs attract moths as pollinators. Where this species and Crimson Columbine (A. formosa) grow in the same region, cross-pollination between the two may result in hybrid plants.

The genus name Aquilegia comes from the Latin aquila which means eagle and refers to the spurred petals that many believe resemble an eagles talons.

  • Aquilegia pubescens Coville
  • Sierra columbine, Sierran columbine
  • Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)
  • USDA Symbol: AQPU
  • USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
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Alpine Gold

Boundary Peak, Nevada, August 2007
A low, tufted, densely glandular-hairy plant with sparsely leafy stems, each topped by a flower head with 25-50 short, narrow yellow rays surrounding a yellow disk.

The similar Dwarf Hulsea (H. nana), from the mountains of Washington, Oregon, and northern California, is more compact, rarely more than 4 (10 cm) high, with a flower stalk that is usually leafless, and a head with only about 21 rays.

  • Hulsea algida Gray
  • Alpinegold, Pacific hulsea
  • Asteraceae (Aster Family)
  • USDA Symbol: HUAL
  • USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
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Alpine Shooting Star

Yosemite National Park, Vogel Lake, August 2010
A smooth stalk growing from a basal rosette of leaves and topped by an umbel of 1-9 pinkish-purple flowers, each resembling a small rocket.

There are about 10 western species of Dodecatheon with reddish-lavender corollas, two also with a large knob at the end of the style. Tall Mountain Shootingstar (D. jefferyi), found from the Alaskan mountains south to the southern Sierra Nevada and east to Idaho and Montana, has 4-5 corolla lobes and minute, glandular hairs on the leaves and flower cluster. Sticky Shootingstar (D. redolens), found from the mountains of Southern California east to Nevada and Utah, is densely covered with glandular hairs, and its corolla has five lobes; the tubular portion covers the base of the anthers.

  • Dodecatheon alpinum (Gray) Greene
  • Alpine shootingstar
  • Primulaceae (Primrose Family)
  • USDA Symbol: DOAL
  • USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
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Applegate's Paintbrush

Ansel Adams Wilderness, Garnet Lake, August 2011
Applegate's Indian Paintbrush is a green root-parasite that taps into the water and nutrient supply of neighboring shrubs. It is actually called a hemiparasite because it can grow independently. Many hemiparasites take up a contact relationship with their hosts immediately after seed germination. Although they are green and capable of fixing appreciable amounts of carbon via photosynthesis, they grow poorly under these circumstances. Studies have shown that as soon as a hemiparasite makes contact with a host, growth rate improves greatly and the plant becomes much more vigorous.

DISTRIBUTION: Meadows and dry open forest or scrub throughout Calif.; 300-3600 m.

  • Castilleja applegatei Fernald
  • Wavyleaf Indian paintbrush
  • Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family)
  • Synonym(s):
  • USDA Symbol: CAAP4
  • USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
Sourced from: -- and -- Calif Academy of Sciences

Blue Bells

Hever Castle, London, England, May 2010
  • Family: Lilly Lillaceae
  • Familiar bulbous perennial, often carpeting wholewoodland floors if management regime suits its requirements
  • Foundon coastal cliffs
  • Common throughout
  • Leaves narrow and all basal
  • Bell-shapedflowers in 1-sided spikes
  • Appear April to June
  • Height up to 50cm
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Bog Laurel

Ansel Adams Wilderness, Garnet Lake, August 2011
Bog Laurel or Swamp Laurel is a low, prostrate, broadleaf-evergreen mat, less than 3 ft. high. Trailing stems send up erect branches with glossy, leathery, dark blue-green foliage. Small, bell-like, pink flowers cluster together in groups of two to five. The fruit is a woody capsule.

  • Kalmia polifolia Wangenh.
  • Bog laurel, Pale laurel, Swamp laurel
  • Ericaceae (Heath Family)
  • Synonym(s): Chamaedaphne glauca, Kalmia polifolia ssp. polifolia, Kalmia polifolia var. rosmarinifolia
  • USDA Symbol: KAPO
  • USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N), SPM (N)
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Brewer's Lupine

Sonora Pass, California, August 2007
A low-growing, mat-forming perennial with long, silky hairs on the crowded, palmate leaves and dense clusters of blue-purple flowers with yellow and white centers.

Like other members of the pea family, this plant requires the presence of microorganisms that inhabit nodules on the plants root system and produce nitrogen compounds necessary for the plants survival.

  • Lupinus breweri Gray
  • Brewer's lupine, Matted lupine
  • Fabaceae (Pea Family)
  • USDA Symbol: LUBR3
  • USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
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Club-Moss Ivesia

Yosemite National Park, Mt Conness, July 2016
Stems decumbent to ascending, 0.3–1(–1.5) dm. Basal leaves 1–7 cm; leaflets tightly overlapping, glabrous or sparsely short-hirsute, lobes ± orbiculate, ± 1 mm, apical setae 0(–0.5) mm. Cauline leaves 0–1. Inflorescences usually ± capitate, 3–15(–20)-flowered, 0.5–1.5(–2) cm diam. Flowers 6–9 mm diam.; petals obovate, 2–3 × 1 mm; filaments 0.8–1.2 mm; styles 1–2 mm. 2n = 28.

Flowering summer. Dry rocky flats or slopes, fellfields, in high-elevation sagebrush communities, subalpine to alpine conifer woodlands, alpine tundra; 3000–4000 m; Calif., Nev.

Variety lycopodioides occurs in the Sierra Nevada from El Dorado and Alpine to Fresno counties, and on the Sweetwater Mountains of Mono County, California. The voucher reported by D. D. Keck (1938) from the Carson Range of Washoe County, Nevada, has not been located for confirmation. Of the three varieties, var. lycopodioides tends to have plants with the smallest leaflet lobes (ca. 1 mm) which lack apical setae. Plants also have more consistently simple caudices bearing a single rosette of glabrous or sparsely hairy leaves atop an enlarged, fleshy taproot.

Corn Lily

Mt. Dana, Yosemite National Park, August 2010
California false hellebore or corn lily’s stiffly erect, leafy stalks rise 6 ft. and bear large, conspicuously pleated, oval leaves.

The stalks are topped by showy clusters of white to greenish flowers. The flowers are star-like in design and numerous.

A long, branched, dense cluster of relatively small, whitish or greenish flowers top the stout, leafy stem of this tall plant.

  • Veratrum californicum Dur.
  • California false hellebore, Corn lily
  • Liliaceae (Lily Family)
  • USDA Symbol: VECA2
  • USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
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Cow Parsnip

Ansel Adams Wilderness, Garnet Lake, August 2011
This very tall plant has huge leaves and flat umbels of numerous tiny white flowers; stem is grooved, woolly, hollow, and stout.

This is the largest species of the carrot family in North America. The genus is named for Hercules, who is reputed to have used these plants for medicine. Early in each year, Native Americans peeled and ate the young sweet, aromatic leaf and flower stalks.

  • Heracleum maximum W. Bartram
  • Common cowparsnip, Cow Parsnip
  • Apiaceae (Carrot Family)
  • Synonym(s): Heracleum lanatum, Heracleum sphondylium ssp. montanum, Heracleum sphondylium var. lanatum
  • USDA Symbol: HEMA80
  • USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N), SPM (N)
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Cut Leaved Daisy

Ansel Adams Wilderness, Garnet Lake, August 2011
A dwarf, cushion-like plant with compact mounds of woolly, pinnately divided leaves. Short flower stalks rise from the matte leaves and bear a single miniature, white, pink or bluish, daisy-like flower with a yellow center.

  • Erigeron compositus Pursh
  • Alpine daisy, Cutleaf daisy, Dwarf mountain fleabane
  • Asteraceae (Aster Family)
  • Synonym(s): Erigeron compositus var. discoideus, Erigeron compositus var. glabratus, Erigeron compositus var. multifidus, Erigeron compositus var. typicus, Erigeron trifidus
  • USDA Symbol: ERCO4
  • USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N), GL (N)
Sourced from: -- and -- Wikipedia

Devils Club

Thunderbird Falls Trail, Chugach State Park, Alaska, July 2009
A sparsely branched, somewhat rangy shrub with giant maplelike leaves and crooked, pithy, canelike stems with long, stiff, yellow thorns.

Devil’s Club is a conspicuous understory shrub in boggy places within the Northwest coastal forest, where it makes off-trail travel difficult or impossible.

The barbed thorns inflict unpleasant wounds and were long thought to be tipped with poison. Nevertheless, the plant is a beautiful, or at least unusual, component of the forest understory. Its giant leaves are adaptations to the dim light of its environment.

  • Oplopanax horridus Miq.
  • Devilsclub
  • Araliaceae (Ginseng Family)
  • USDA Symbol: OPHO
  • USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
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North Dome, Yosemite, July 2007
Several erect stems, with most leaves at base, and star-like, pale bluish-purple flowers with greenish or white spots in an open, branched, but narrow cluster at the top.

The genus is named for E. Sweert, a 16th-century Dutch gardener and author.

  • Swertia perennis L.
  • Felwort, Star Gentian
  • Gentianaceae (Gentian Family)
  • USDA Symbol: SWPE
  • USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
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Giant Red Indian Paintbrush

Mt Dana, Yosemite, May 2008
An erect perennial, from 1 1/2-3 ft. tall, with stems either unbranched or somewhat branched above. The flower cluster of this leafy plant resembles a ragged, crimson or scarlet paintbrush, calyx and bracts beneath each flower brightly colored. Leaves are lance-shaped and the torch-like flower spike is made up of vibrant orange, red or pink bracts and sepals hiding the small, green flowers.

Most Indian paintbrushes are partial parasites on other plants, their roots establishing connections with roots of other species. For this reason, they usually cannot be transplanted, and are difficult to grow from seed.
  • Castilleja miniata Douglas ex Hook.
  • Giant red Indian paintbrush, Meadow paintbrush
  • Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family)
  • Synonym(s):
  • USDA Symbol: CAMI12
  • USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N)
Sourced from: --and-- Wikipedia

Gold Cobblestone Lichen

Mt Hoffman, Yosemite, August 2010
A symbiotic relationship of two living entities: photosynthetic green algae (cyanobacteria) and sheltering fungus. The fungus lives off of sunglight energy that is harvested by the algae and this combination allows for the two to survive in environments that neither could alone.

Lichen colonize bare rock faces and produce chemicals that slowly erode the surface. Over centuries, this process breaks rocks down into soil that can be used by plants. By measuring lichen size, scientists can determine the relative age of glacial moraines.

Lichen get nutrients by absorbing dust that falls on their surface and they have no way of excreting this material. This makes them very sensitive to air pollution and when exposed to high concentration of sulfer dioxide, they will die. Lichen diversity and abundance are being monitored to assess the impact of smog on Sierra ecosystems

  • Pleopsidium flavum
  • Bright yellow with pale brownish pits in the center of segments

Granite Gilia

Mt Dana, Yosemite National Park, August 2010
Open-branched shrub; stems woody at base

Leaves: alternate above, opposite below; palmately parted or divided, minutely spine-tipped; rigid, flat against stems; in clusters.

  • Linanthus pungens (Torr.) J.M. Porter & L.A. Johnson
  • Granite Gilia, Granite prickly phlox
  • Polemoniaceae (Phlox Family)
  • USDA Symbol: LIPU11
  • USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
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Harvest Brodiaea

Hetch Hetchy, Yosemite, May 2008
An umbel of several violet or blue-violet, funnel-shaped flowers at top of a leafless stalk with a few long, very narrow basal leaves that are usually withered by flowering time. Mounds of narrow leaves, 4-16 in. in height, arise in late winter to early spring and brown when the flower buds have swollen. The flowering stem is about the same height as the leaves, bearing a terminal umble of small, tubular, violet-pink flowers. The intensity of color and number of flowers varies within the species.

This plant begins to flower as fields dry out in the early summer. Several species of Brodiaea (pronounced bro-dee-ah), are similar. In Harvest Brodiaea (B. coronaria), from British Columbia to southern California, the scales between the stamens are concave on their inner side, longer than the stamens and lean toward them. One of the most handsome is Wally Basket, Grass Nut, or Ithuriels Spear (Triteleia laxa), which grows on heavy soils in grassland or brush from southern Oregon to southern California; it reaches a height of up to 28 (70 cm) and has many flowers in a large umbel, with 6 stamens and beneath the ovary a stalk 2-3 times its length.

  • Brodiaea elegans Hoover
  • Harvest brodiaea, Elegant cluster-lily
  • Liliaceae (Lily Family)
  • Synonym(s):
  • USDA Symbol: BREL
  • USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
Sourced from: --and-- Wikipedia


Dorney, UK, May 2010
Crataegus monogyna

Deciduous tree dense leaved and thorny with short trunk. Commonly used for stock proof hedging. New shoots and leaves are reddish. Distinctive white blossom with strong scent and red berries (haws) later. Height 10 - 15m. Age long lived - 250 years

Found on all soil types. Protects seedlings of other broadleaved trees particularly oak from predation and hence aids natural regeneration. Natural distribution throughout British Isles and Europe to 500m.

Flowers Leaves Fruit Ripen Fall

May-June Mar-April Jul-Aug Oct-Nov Nov

Seed is deeply dormant - treat as for Acer campestre. Approx 8000 germinable seeds per Kg. lso grown from cuttings. Grows rapidly for first 15 years or so. For hedges grow in seed beds for 2 years and then transplant into rows. Ready to plant into hedges at 4 years. Weeding improves growth significantly. Laying hedges to make them stockproof is an old country skill

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Hoary (Frosted) Buckwheat

Ansel Adams Wilderness, Garnet Lake, August 2011
Eriogonum incanum is a species of wild buckwheat known by the common name frosted buckwheat. It is native to the Sierra Nevada of California and extreme western Nevada. It is also known from Oregon

This is a dioecious perennial herb which forms mats up to 20 centimeters tall and 30 wide, sometimes quite a bit smaller. It has clusters of woolly, petioled leaves one to two centimeters long which form a gray-green or yellowish layer on the sandy soil or among rocks.

The plant bears dense, rounded clusters of flowers, sometimes on erect stalks, which are yellow, red, or both. Male plants produce staminate flowers 2 or 3 millimeters wide and female plants produce slightly larger pistillate flowers.

Sourced from: -- and -- Wikipedia


Emigrant Wilderness, Huckleberry Lake, July 2014
Numerous leafy, 4-sided stems with opposite leaves and, near top, pale pink to lavender, bilaterally symmetrical flowers in dense circles crowded into tight spikes.

Agastache, from the Greek agan (much) and stachys (ear of grain), refers to the flower clusters. The spikes, short corolla lobes, and protruding stamens are distinctive.

  • Agastache urticifolia (Benth.) Kuntze
  • Nettleleaf giant hyssop, Nettle-leaf Horsemint
  • Lamiaceae (Mint Family)
  • Synonym(s):
  • USDA Symbol: AGUR
  • USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
Sourced from: -- and -- Wikipedia

Jeffrey Shooting Star

Yosemite National Park, Lukens Lake Trail, June 2012
Dodecatheon jeffreyi is a species of flowering plant in the primrose family known by the common names Sierra shooting star, Jeffrey's shooting star, and tall mountain shooting star.

This wildflower is native to western North America from California to Alaska to Montana, where it grows in mountain meadows and streambanks. This is a thick-rooted perennial with long, slightly wrinkled leaves around the base. It erects slim, tall, hairy stems which are dark in color and are topped with inflorescences of 3 to 18 showy flowers. Each flower nods, with its pointed center aimed at the ground when fresh, and becomes more erect with age. It has four or five reflexed sepals in shades of pink, lavender, or white which lie back against the body of the flower. Each sepal base has a blotch of bright yellow. From the corolla mouth protrude large dark anthers surrounding a threadlike stigma. The flowers of this species were considered good luck by the Nlaka'pamux people, who used them as amulets and love charms.

Sourced from: -- and -- Wikipedia
Stacks Image 6921

Large-Leaved Lupine

Mt. Dana, Yosemite National Park August 2010
Blue-pod lupine or meadow lupine is a 3-5 ft., robust perennial with bold, rich-green, palmate leaves and stately spires of large, deep-blue, purple or reddish flowers. 1 or several mostly unbranched, stout, hollow stems with violet or blue-violet pea flowers in long dense racemes.

This somewhat succulent lupine is one of the tallest and lushest western species. It has been crossed with other lupines, particularly Tree Lupine (L. arboreus), for beautiful horticultural hybrids.

  • Lupinus polyphyllus Lindl.
  • Bigleaf lupine, Blue-pod lupine, Meadow lupine, Bog lupine
  • Fabaceae (Pea Family)
  • USDA Symbol: UP
  • USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
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Leichtlin's Mariposa Lily

Mt. Dana, Yosemite National Park August 2010
Calochortus leichtlinii is a species of flowering plant in the lily family known by the common names Leichtlin's Mariposa and smokey mariposa. It is native to the Sierra Nevada and Modoc Plateau of California and adjacent parts of Oregon and Nevada. It grows in coniferous forest and chaparral habitats. It is a perennial herb producing an erect, unbranching stem up to 60 centimeters tall. The basal leaf is 10 to 15 centimeters long and withers by flowering. The inflorescence is a loose cluster of 1 to 5 erect, bell-shaped flowers. Each flower has three petals 1 to 4 centimeters long which are white, pinkish, or dull blue in color and spotted with yellow and dark red or black at the bases. The fruit is a narrow capsule up to 6 centimeters long.

  • Calochortus leichtlinii Hook. f.
  • Smoky mariposa
  • Liliaceae (Lily Family)
  • USDA Symbol: CALE3
  • USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
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Stacks Image 6951

Lemmon's (Granite) Draba

Yosemite National Park, Lukens Lake Trail, June 2012
Draba lemmonii is a perennial plant in the Mustard Family (Brassicaceae) found in the high elevation United States Sierra Nevada range, commonly known as Lemmon's Draba.

  • Growth pattern: It is a hairy mat forming perennial growing to 6 inches (15 cm)
  • Habitat and range: It grows in crevices, talus, and rocky meadows of the subalpine forest and alpine zone of the United States Sierra Nevada range
  • Leaves and stems: Basal leaves are obovate, up to 1 inch (2.5 cm), and hairy on both sides
  • Inflorescence and fruit: The flower stalk has up to 30 small, yellow, 4 petalled flowers on top in July of August.[1]
Sourced from: -- and -- Wikipedia

Live Forever

Hetch Hetchy, Yosemite National Park, May 2008
An evergreen leaf succulent, closely related to the Mexican hens-and-chicks. One or few reddish stalks bearing red to yellow flowers in a flat-topped, branched, dense cluster and growing from a basal rosette of thick, succulent, grayish-green leaves. Rootstocks penetrate rock crevices and bear small, dense rosettes of broad, drab-green leaves. Borne from leaf axils, the 4-8 in. flower stalks bear crowded, candelabra-like clusters of bright-red to yellow flowers.

Many species of Dudleya in California, and a few in Arizona, may hybridize, adding to the difficulty of identification. They resemble Sedum, but the latter generally have flower stalks growing from the center of the rosette or the stem tip rather than from leaf axils, and their petals are not joined near the base.

  • Dudleya cymosa (Lem.) Britt. & Rose
  • Canyon live-forever, Canyon liveforever, Dudleya
  • Crassulaceae (Stonecrop Family)
  • USDA Symbol: DUCY
  • USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
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Map Lichen

Emigrant Wilderness, Upper Emigrant Lake, August 2012
Rhizocarpon geographicum (the map lichen) is a species of lichen, which grows on rocks in mountainous areas of low air pollution. Each lichen is a flat patch bordered by a black line of spores. These patches grow adjacent to each other, leading to the appearance of a map or a patchwork field.

Map lichen is a lichen widely used by climatologists in determining the relative age of deposits, e.g. moraine systems, thus revealing evidence of glacial advances. The process is termed lichenometry. Lichenometry is based on the assumption that the largest lichen growing on a rock is the oldest individual. If the growth rate is known, the maximum lichen size will give a minimum age for when this rock was deposited. Growth rates for different areas and species can be obtained by measuring maximum lichen sizes on substrates of known age, such as gravestones, historic or prehistoric rock buildings, or moraines of known age (e.g. those deposited during the Little Ice Age).

This lichen species is broadly distributed and may be found in most cold areas with exposed rock surfaces. The North American range includes the Sierra Nevada and northern Boreal forests of Canada, Greenland, Iceland Fennoscandia and Siberia. In the tropics it only occurs at high altitudes such as the Andes of Peru and Colombia. Further south the Map lichen is found broadly across Patagonia, in the Falkland Islands, the sub Antarctic islands and the Antarctic Peninsula.

In Britain it can be found commonly growing on hard siliceous rocks, especially in upland regions. Its range covers virtually all of Scotland, much of North West England, and other upland areas in much of the rest of England, Wales and Ireland too.

Outer space

In an experiment, this lichen species was placed in a capsule and launched into space. The capsule was opened, exposing the lichen to space conditions for 10 days before being brought back down to Earth, where it showed minimal changes or damage.

Sourced from: -- and -- Wikipedia

White Marsh Marigold

Yosemite National Park, Lukens Lake Trail, June 2012
Caltha leptosepala (White Marsh Marigold, Twinflowered Marsh Marigold, or Broadleaved Marsh Marigold) is a species of flowering plant in the buttercup family. It is native to western North America from Alaska to New Mexico, where it grows in wet mountain habitats in alpine and subalpine regions. There are two general wild types of this species, one native to the interior and one that grows along the Pacific coast and coastal mountains, but these are not always treated separately.

This is a perennial herb growing a mostly naked stem with leaves located basally. The leaves are up to 13 or 15 centimeters long and may have smooth, wrinkled, or toothed edges. The inflorescence bears one or more flowers. Each flower is 1 to 4 centimeters wide and lacks petals, having instead petallike sepals which are usually white or sometimes yellow. In the center are many long, flat stamens and fewer pistils.

Sourced from: -- and -- Wikipedia

Meadow Larkspur

Mt Dana, Yosemite, August 2010
Delphinium nuttallianum is a species of larkspur known by the common names twolobe larkspur and Nuttall's larkspur. It is widely distributed across western North America from California to Alberta. This wildflower has a white to pink erect stem usually not exceeding half a meter in height which may branch several times. Deeply lobed leaves are located mostly about the base of the plant. The inflorescence occupying the top end of the stem has few widely-spaced flowers on long pedicels. The sepals are long and curl backwards or fold upon themselves. They may be dark purple to light blue. The lower petals are the same color, while the upper are often white. The spur is one or two centimeters long.

  • Delphinium nuttallianum Pritz. ex Walp.
  • Delphinium, Two-lobe larkspur, Twolobe larkspur
  • Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)
  • USDA Symbol: DENU2
  • USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
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Meadow Penstonem

Mt Hoffman, Yosemite, August 2010
Penstemon (pronounced /ˈpɛnstɨmən/),[1] Beard-tongue, is a large genus of North American and East Asian plants traditionally placed in the Scrophulariaceae family. Due to new genetic research, it has now been placed in the vastly expanded family Plantaginaceae. Classical taxonomy[who?] maintains the traditional placement in Scrophulariaceae.

They have opposite leaves, partly tube-shaped, and two-lipped flowers and seed capsules. The most distinctive feature of the genus is the prominent staminode, an infertile stamen. The staminode takes a variety of forms in the different species; while typically a long straight filament extending to the mouth of the corolla, some are longer and extremely hairy, giving the general appearance of an open mouth with a fuzzy tongue protruding and inspiring the common name beardtongue.

Most penstemons are herbaceous perennials, the remainder being shrubs or subshrubs. Heights can range from 10 cm to as much as 3 meters.

The one Asiatic species previously treated in Penstemon is now placed in a separate genus Pennellianthus. This leaves Penstemon a mostly nearctic genus, with a few neotropical species. Although widespread across North America, and found in habitats ranging from open desert to moist forests, and up to the alpine zone, they are not typically common within their range.

  • Penstemon rydbergii var. oreocharis (Greene) N. Holmgren
  • Herbaceous penstemon
  • Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family)
  • USDA Symbol: PERYO
  • USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
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Stacks Image 7086

Mountain Dandelion

Ansel Adams Wilderness, Garnet Lake, August 2011
Agoseris retrorsa is a perennial herb forming a base of leaves about a number of erect, thick, wool-coated inflorescences up to half a meter in height. The narrow leaves are linear to lance-shaped, and spearlike with curving toothlike lobes along the edges.

The inflorescence bears a single flower head which is several centimeters wide when fully open. It is lined with woolly, pointed phyllaries which are green, often with reddish purple longitudinal streaks or stripes. The flower head contains many golden yellow ray florets, the outer ones usually darker in color.

Sourced from: -- and -- Wikipedia

Mountain Dogwood

Yosemite National Park, Highway 120, May 2009
Tree with dense, conical or rounded crown of often horizontal branches and with beautiful white flower clusters. This is the west coast edition of C. florida. It is a 15-40 ft., single- or multi-trunked tree or shrub with a spreading crown and large, showy, creamy white blossoms sometimes flushed with pink. Graceful, horizontal-tiered branching; orange to red fruits; and yellow-orange, fall foliage are other landscape attributes. Pacific flowering dogwood is deciduous.

Pacific Dogwood is one of the most handsome native ornamental trees on the Pacific Coast, with very showy flowers and fruit. The head of flowers with surrounding, petal-like bracts resembles a huge flower and is commonly so called. The flower is larger than that of the eastern Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida L.), usually having 6 bracts instead of 4. John James Audubon (1780-1851), the American ornithologist and artist, who painted this tree in his famous work Birds of America, named it for its collector, Thomas Nuttall (1786-1859), the British-American botanist and ornithologist.

The genus cornus is Latin for a horn.

  • Cornus nuttallii Audubon ex Torr. & Gray
  • Pacific dogwood, Pacific flowering dogwood, Mountain dogwood
  • Cornaceae (Dogwood Family)
  • USDA Symbol: CONU4
  • USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
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Mountain Gooseberry

Emigrant Wilderness, Huckleberry Lake, July 2014
Ribes montigenum is a species of currant known by the common names mountain gooseberry, alpine prickly currant, and gooseberry currant. It is native to western North America from British Columbia to California to New Mexico where it grows in high mountain habitat types in subalpine and alpine climates, such as forests and talus. It is a spreading shrub growing up to 1.5 meters tall, the branching stems covered in prickles and hairs and bearing 1 to 5 sharp spines at intervals.

The lightly hairy, glandular leaves are up to 4 centimeters long and are divided into about five deeply cut or toothed lobes. Each is borne on a petiole several centimeters in length. The inflorescence is a raceme of several flowers. Each flower has five sepals in shades of yellow-green or pale pink, orange, or yellow which spread into a corolla-like star. At the center are five smaller club-shaped red petals and purple-red stamens tipped with yellowish or cream anthers. The fruit is an acidic but tasty bright red to orange-red berry up to a centimeter long which is usually covered in soft bristles. It has only a small dried flower remnant at the end, compared with the long remnant found on wax currants (Ribes cereum).

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Mountain Heather

Garnet lake, Ansel Adams Wilderness, August 2011
Phyllodoce breweri is a species of flowering plant in the heath family known by the common names purple mountain heath and Brewer's mountain heather. It is native to California, where it can be found in mountain ranges including the southern Cascade Range, the San Bernardino Mountains, and the Sierra Nevada, its distribution extending into Nevada. It grows in rocky subalpine mountain habitat, such as slopes and meadows. It is a matlike shrub with many short stems lined densely with leathery evergreen needlelike leaves. The inflorescence is a cluster of several flowers toward the ends of the stems, with some flowers occurring below in leaf axils. The bright purple-pink flowers are cup-shaped as the petals are fused except for the very tips, which roll under. At the center of the flower is a yellow ovary and ten long, protruding stamens tipped with large anthers.

  • Phyllodoce breweri (Gray) Heller
  • Purple mountainheath, Purple mountain heath, Purple mountain heather, Brewer's mountain heath, Brewer's mountain heather
  • Ericaceae (Heath Family)
  • USDA Symbol: PHBR4
  • USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
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Mountain Jewelflower

Emigrant Wilderness, Huckleberry Lake, July 2014
A branched plant with heart-shaped or round leaves and racemes of flask-shaped, pale yellow or cream to dark brownish-purple flowers.

Mountain Jewelflower is one of the most widespread and variable species in this western genus. Heartleaf Jewelflower (S. cordatus) is very similar but grows east of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Range.

  • Streptanthus tortuosus Kellogg
  • Shieldplant, Mountain Jewelflower
  • Brassicaceae (Mustard Family)
  • Synonym(s):
  • USDA Symbol: STTO3
  • USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
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Mountain Larkspur

Mt Dana, Yosemite, August 2010
Delphinium glaucum is a species of larkspur known by the common names Sierra larkspur, mountain larkspur, and glaucous larkspur. This wildflower is native to western North America from Arizona to Alaska. It grows in moist mountainous environments, such as riverbanks and meadows. This plant sprouts one to several tall, stout, pale green erect stems which may approach three meters in height. The lobed leaves are generally found only at the base of the plant. The top of the stem is a large inflorescence which may itself be over a meter long. It usually contains over fifty widely spaced flowers, with each flower on a pedicel a few centimeters long. The sepals are flat and extend to the sides or point forward. The sepals and petals are dark blue to deep purple, although the top two petals may be lighter in color to almost white. They may be somewhat wrinkly. The spur is about two centimeters long.

  • Delphinium ramosum Rydb.
  • Mountain larkspur
  • Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)
  • USDA Symbol: DERA
  • USDA Native Status: Native to U.S
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Mountain Monkey Flower

Sonora Pass, Calif, August 2007
Mimulus (pronounced /ˈmɪmjuːləs/)[1] is a diverse plant genus, the monkey-flowers aka chimp-pansy and musk-flowers. The about 150 species are currently placed in the family Phrymaceae. The genus has traditionally been placed in Scrophulariaceae. The removal of Mimulus from that family has been supported by studies of chloroplast DNA first published in the mid-1990s[citation needed]. Multiple studies of chloroplast DNA and two regions of nuclear rDNA[2] suggest that the genera Phryma, Berendtiella, Hemichaena, Leucocarpus, Microcarpeae, Peplidium, Glossostigma, and Elacholoma are all derived from within Mimulus and would need to be rearranged.

It is recognized that there are two large groups of Mimulus species, with the largest group of species in western North America, and a second group with center of diversity in Australia. A few species also extend into eastern North America, eastern Asia and southern Africa. This enlarged group is a part of the newly redefined Phrymaceae.

  • Mimulus tilingii Regel
  • Tiling's monkeyflower
  • Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family)
  • USDA Symbol: MITI
  • USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
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Mountain Pennyroyal

Twenty Lakes Basin, Hoover Wilderness, California, July 2016
Alpine mountain balm or coyote mint is a variable species with many subspecies across its range. A grayish, aromatic plant with erect, bunched, leafy stems bearing opposite leaves and topped by small, whitish to pale purple or pink flowers in a dense head. In general, its stems form large mats about 1 ft. high. In bloom, these are covered with flower heads, ranging in color from near white to bright blue-purple. The paired leaves are highly fragrant.

Coyote Mint has many races in the West, varying in density of foliage hairs, breadth of heads, and relative length of bracts and calyx.

  • Monardella odoratissima Benth.
  • Alpine mountainbalm, Coyote mint, Mountain monardella, Mountain pennyroyal
  • Lamiaceae (Mint Family)
  • Synonym(s):
  • USDA Symbol: MOOD
  • USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Mountain Pride

Mt Hoffman, Yosemite, August 2010
Penstemon newberryi is a species of penstemon known by the common name mountain pride. It is native to the mountains of northern California, Oregon, and Nevada, where it grows in rocky habitat, often at high elevation, such as talus. It is a bushy, mat-forming subshrub growing up to 30 centimeters tall. The leaves are mostly basal on the plant, oblong or oval and toothed, measuring 1 to 4 centimeters in length, with a few smaller pairs along the stem. The glandular inflorescence bears showy magenta flowers 2 to over 3 centimeters in length. The flower is generally tubular or funnel-shaped and has a coating of short to long and curly hairs in the mouth and on the staminode.

  • Penstemon newberryi Gray
  • Mountain pride
  • Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family)
  • USDA Symbol: PENE3
  • USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
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Mountain Spiraea

Mt Hoffman, Yosemite, August 2010
Subalpine Spiraea is a low-statured, deciduous shrub, 2-3 ft. tall, with shiny, bright green leaves; reddish-purple bark; and flat-topped clusters of tiny, dark-pink to purple flowers that bloom June - August.

The Subalpine Spiraea is a member of the rose family (family Rosaceae) which includes about 2000 species of trees, shrubs, and herbs worldwide.

  • Spiraea splendens Baumann ex K. Koch
  • Rose Meadowsweet, Subalpine Spiraea
  • Rosaceae (Rose Family)
  • Synonym(s):
  • USDA Symbol: SPSP2
  • USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
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