Yellowstone Wildflowers - Figwort
PAINTBRUSH Castilleja linariaetolia Wyoming
paintbrush is a bright red, showy plant, but the red portion
is not the flower. The flower itself is tubular and yellow-green
in color, and not particularly attractive. Surrounding the flower
is a brightly colored leaflike bract. The leaves are long, linear
and cut into slender segments near the top. The botanical differences
between the numerous paintbrush species often are minute and
distinguishing them may be difficult. HABITAT/RANGE: Inhabits
dry to moist sagebrush slopes and juniper woodlands. Distributed
from Oregon to Montana, south to New Mexico and southern California.
Blooms June through July. FACTS/USES: The specific name, linariaefolia, means linaria-leaved, referring to the toadflax-like leaf.
In 1917, the Wyoming Legislature selected this species as the
|SULFUR PAINTBRUSH Castilleja sulphurea The stems arise
singly or in small clumps from a short ascending rootstock. The
inflorescence is a dense spike with pale to bright yellow ovate
bracts, which are mistaken for the flowers. But the flowers appear
above the bracts as a long tubular corolla projecting from an
outer tubelike sheath called a calyx. HABITAT/RANGE: Prefers moist
to diy soils of meadows, plains, foothills and rocky slopes into
the higher mountains. A strictly Rocky Mountain species, from
southern Alberta to New Mexico. Blooms late MaythroughJuly. FACTS/
USES: A special delight for young Indian children was to pull
the tubular flowers and suck out their sweet nectar. Most paintbrush
species have a wide variation in color. Sulfur paintbrush, however,
is one of the few species that is yellow with little variation.
TOADFLAX Unaria da/mate This large robust perennial
herb grows two to four feet high. The stem-woody at the base-and
leaves are grayish-green and glaucous. The opposite leaves are
stiff, broad, ovate and clasp the stem. Flowers are arranged in
terminal elongate racemes. They are bright yellow, but often purplish
tinged at the apex. Corollas are one to two inches, two-lipped
and lobed. The lower lip has formed an orange palate at the entrance
of the throat. HABITAT/RANGE: A native of the Mediterranean region,
Dalmatian toadflax has established itself in scattered regions
throughout North America and is spreading. It prefers disturbed
areas along roads, near dwellings and sagebrush flats. Blooms
July through September. FACTS/USES: Toadflax is very similar to
its close relation, butter and eggs. The difference is that toadflax
is larger with broader leaves that clasp the stem.
AND EGGS Unaria vulgaris This showy perennial herb
ascends one to three feet from creeping rhizomes and often grows
in patches displaying brilliant yellow flowers. Each flower, tipped
upward and arranged in a dense raceme, has a yellow corolla with
an upper two-lobed lip and a lower lip raised into an orange palate.
An awl-shaped spur projects below the corolla. The stems bear
simple, sessile, linear, pale-green leaves. HABITAT/RANGE: An
introduced weedy species from Eurasia, butter and eggs has become
established in disturbed pastures and roadsides throughout temperate
North America. A summer bloomer. FACTS/USES: The common name is
taken from the flowers' color combination, and the Latin genus
name is derived from linum, the genus of flax, because
the leaves resemble this species. It is believed that a tea made
from this plant is good for skin eruptions, jaundice and as a
MONKEY-FLOWER Mimulus guttatus This showy perennial
has bright yellow, tubular corollas, which are two-lipped and
five-lobed, with two ridges extending back from the lower lip
into the throat. The throat is spotted with red, and the flowers
are one to two inches long. The hollow, square stems bear opposite,
lance-shaped leaves and flowers, usually in pairs from the axils
of the upper leaves. This species is quite variable in form and
size, ranging from a few inches to several feet inheight. HABITAT/RANGE:
This cordilleran species of North America prefers moist to wet
seeps of mountain habitats. An early spring to late fall bloomer,
though it can bloom during winter if it is near hot springs. FACTS/USES:
The specific name means spotted or speckled. This plant can be
eaten raw as a salad additive, though it has a slightly bitter
MONKEY-FLOWER Mimulus lewisii Lewis' monkey-flower
is a showy, herbaceous perennial with erect stems ascending from
rhizomes. The leaves are glabrous to slightly hairy, lance-shaped,
and unevenly toothed. The pink-purple, irregular corollas are
two-lipped with two lobes above and three lobes below, while the
throat has two brightyellowpatches.HABITAT/RANGE:Thiscommonmoun-tain
wildflower grows in dense clumps along moist, wet streams, ravines
and seepage areas. Ranges from Alaska south to Utah and California.
Blooms late June through August. FACTS/USES: Both the common and
specific names pay tribute to Captain Meriwether Lewis, the explorerwho
first described this plant. The bright rose-pink flowers are attrac-tants
for pollination by insects and hummingbirds. As nectary guides
entice them into the funnel-shaped throat, anthers, projecting
from the roof, dust their backs with pollen.
PURPLE MONKEY-FLOWER Mimulus nanus This very small
annual grows only a few inches high. The reddish-purple flowers,
less than an inch long, appear almost stalkless. The corollas
are two-lipped and five-lobed, with yellow and purple marking
in the throat. The opposite, lanceolate leaves are covered with
glandular hairs, and the flowers are borne in leaf axils near
the top of the plant. It can become well-branched and developed
on good sites. HABITAT/RANGE: This plant prefers bare, open areas
with sliding or loose sandy soil. It also is associated with sagebrush
and dry pine forests. Its range is limited to central Washington,
south to northern California and as far east as Yellowstone National
Park. Blooms early spring and summer, while moisture is available.
FACTS/USES: The Latin generic name is derived from mimus, meaning mimic, and refers to the grin-ning pattern of the flower
that resembles the masks worn by mimes.
HEAD Pedicularis groenlandica This unusual and
distinctive purplish flower resembles the head of an elephant.
The broad upper lip (galea) of the irregular corolla suggests
an elephant's cranium, the prolonged and upward curving beak representing
the trunk and the lower corolla lip resembling the ears and lower
jaw. The "elephants' heads" are arranged on dense racemes.
The long leaves are mostly basal, narrow and pinnately divided,
then lobed and toothed, giving them a fernlike appearance. HABITAT/RANGE:
This showy, colorful flower usually grows in dense patches of
wet or boggy meadows, producing a field of purple. It is distributed
widely from Alaska to Labrador and south in the Western states
to New Mexico and California. Flowers June to August. FACTS/USES:
The specific name, groenlandica, means of Greenland, where
it first was discovered.
PENSTEMON Penstemon cyaneus Blue penstemon is
an erect, robust plant (up to three feettall), with conspicuous
blue-violet, bilaterally symmetrical flowers up to two inches
long, clustered along the stem. The leathery-like, smooth leaves
are narrowly lanceolate or ovate, stalkless and opposite. HABITAT/RANGE:
This tall, blue-flowered penstemon is a common species of foothills
and typically is found in sandy sagebrush plains and along roadsides,
but it has a limited range to eastern Idaho, Montana, Wyoming
and northern Colorado and northern Utah. Flowers sometime between
May and July. FACTS/USES: Cyaneus means blue. The penstemons are
some of the Rocky Mountains' most beautiful flowers. Blue penstemon
adapts easily to disturbed sites and is a roadside flower frequently
found in patches.
PENSTEMON Penstemon procerus This wildflower
also is called clustered penstemon because the corollas are densely
clustered in a whorl with open breaks between the whorls. The
dark blue or purplish, tubular corollas are small, less than a
half-inch long, and slightly two-lipped. The erect stems are four
to 20 inches tall with basal, opposite, lanceolate, cauline leaves.
HABITAT/RANGE: This plant prefers moist meadows of montane or
higher elevations. At alpine levels, the plant becomes dwarfed.
It is distributed widely from Alaska to Colorado, but mostly on
the eastern mountain ranges. Flowers mostly from early to midsummer.
FACTS/USES: The specific name, procerus, means tall. This
colorful wildflower often is found growing along mountain trails
in moist meadows. There are nearly 200 species of penstemons throughout
the West and differentiation is difficult.