06-26-13 Field Note

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06-26-13 Field Note

June 26, 2013

Rebecca Durham's Field Note detailed coil-beaked lousewort, Parnassian butterflies, and native roses.

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Seed maturity begins a quickening: numerous seeds hover at the cusp of ripeness. Seeds of lambstongue groundsel (Senecio integerrimus), Sandberg’s bluegrass (Poa secunda), and balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata) detach with gentle pressure, signaling readiness for collection.

Resembling tiny elephant heads, coil-beaked lousewort grows in the montane grassland, open forest, and sagebrush steppe (Pedicularis contorta, North Ridge).

The Asteraceae plant family contains one-sixth of ranch occurring species. Dichotomous keys split plants into tribes. Tribe species with milky sap and ray flowers only (termed ligulate) resemble dandelions. Involucral bracts, leaf morphology, and achenes distinguish species. One native ligulate flower, pale agoseris, grows at high elevations and displays wide bracts (Agoseris glauca, Baldy).

Rocky Mountain Parnassian larvae feed on stonecrop. Adults nectar on stonecrop and species in the Asteraceae. This week Parnassians enchant the south face of Baldy with a constant flutter of white wings (Parnassius smintheus, Baldy).

Purple-tinged bracts of wavy-leaf thistle portend the petal’s hue. (Cirsium undulatum, Whaley)

Resembling pearly everlasting more than pussytoes, the inflorescence of pearly pussytoes nears fist-sized proportions (Antennaria anaphaloides, Native).

Holding corollas with angular grace, roughened bracts assert their place. (Agastache urticifolia, Whaley)

When perfection finds its equal: will nature script a sequel? (Potentilla gracilis, Boondocks)