Nature Notes

Vol. II August 6, 1924 No. 8


This year has been an Indian Paintbrush year. Never have the fields been so covered by these deep scarlet flowers and never has the coloring of individual flowers been so rich. Ranging from the deep crimson of an American Beauty rose to pale reds, pinks and pure white there are acre upon acre of these Indian Paintbrushes, standing so densely that it is absolutely impossible to walk without trampling down hundreds of them.

These are not the only wild flowers. Over one hundred different species are in bloom in the high meadows alone. Among those that are at the height of their glory now are the rich blue arctic lupine, the water loving red and yellow mimulus, the exquisite Cussicks speedwell, the blue gentian, the pale blue mountain flox and fields of purple asters.

Coming into prominence at present is the dainty Grass of Parnassus, the red and white heathers, the wild tiger lily, a host of saxafragas, the giant helebore, and a half dozen members of the lousewort family. The avalanche lilies, the columbine, the squaw-grass and many others are passing or gone but their place is taken by others quite and wonderful and the wildflowers show goes on until snow flies.

by Park Ranger Charles Landes

Much interest has been shown in the flower display on the porch of the Superintendent's office at Longmire. About thirty-five species of wild flowers are shown with their common and scientific names attached so the visitor may examine them at leisure.

A small group of dependent plants which live on decayed matter and are without leaves or green coloring matter seem to be of most interest because of their strangeness. These odd appearing plants are inhabitants of the deep forest shade and perhaps the best known is the Indian Pipe, the many-flowered one (Hypopitys hypopitys). This is quite common along the trails and is red to brown in color and several are usually found growing together.

Barbers pole or (Allotropa virgata) has a striped stem and along with Pine Sap (Pteropa andromeda) is occasionally found along the trails. Barbers pole is red and white striped and Pine Sap is often four feet tall with the stem red and sticky. The Cone plant (Hemotomes congestum) is rarest of all and is a mass of colorless flowers of globular shape at the top of the short stem. They do not project much above the surface of the ground so they are never prominent. A similar exhibit containing most of the high altitude flowers may be found at the Park Naturalist's office in Paradise Valley.


One day the Naturalist was riding up the road on a truck with some workmen when a marmot ran across the road in front of us as they often do. The driver explained to some of the men that it was an animal commonly called the mountain monkey. That was a new one on the Naturalist. We do have mountain monkeys in the Park at times but they are not marmots. Recently a new name for the Hoary Marmot or Whistler was heard. One of the packers with the mountaineers on their trip around the Wonderland Trail remarked that he had seen a "terrible lot of whistle-pigs" the day before. We will add whistle-pig to our list.


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