Scarlet Gilia (Skyrocket)
Synonym: Gilia aggregata
Family: Polemoniaceae - Phlox Family
Biennial or perennial herbs from taproots; 3.9” to 3.3' (1 to 10 dm) tall
Leaves: alternate and basal; simple; pinnatifid to sub-bipinnatifid; basal leaves 0.8” to 3.2” (2 to 8 cm) long
Flowers: 5 united lobed tubular scarlet petals with pointed flaring lobes; 5 lobed sepals; stamens usually 5; 1 pistil; flowers are 0.6” to 2” (1.5 to 5 cm) long
Pollinators: other species in this family are pollinated by insects (specifically bumblebees and beeflies) and hummingbirds
Blooms in Arches National Park: May, June, July, August, September, October
Habitat in Arches National Park: riparian, desert shrub and pinyon-juniper communities
Location seen: upper and lower Courthouse wash, Wolfe Ranch
Other: The genus name, “Ipomopsis”, is from the Greek “ipo” which means “to strike" and “opsis” which means "appearance", so put together means “striking appearance”. The genus name, “Gilia”, honors Filippo Luigi Gilii (1756-1821), a scientist and astronomer. The species name, “aggregata”, means “clustered” and refers to the close arrangement of flowers.
Did You Know?
Edward Abbey worked as a seasonal park ranger at Arches in the late 1950s. His 1968 memoir of this experience, "Desert Solitaire," has become a classic of desert literature.