The season of greatest floral brilliance on the Mountain is past, yet many of our flowers bloom on, apparently unaware of winter's progress.
Here and there on the hillsides about Paradise Valley we find the Wild Helebore, its large leaves and tall stalks, festooned with clusters of greenish flowers, adding a distinctive note to the fading summer landscape. Gradually being torn apart by the winds are a few survivors of the Seed Pods of the Western Anemone and rarely a day goes by but that some visitor questions us regarding the identity of "those puffy things" that they see along the trails. Puffy things is a good description for these seed pods resemble small balls of cotton held upright upon their stout stems. These disintegrate with the wind, scattering the seed of the Anemone about the hills.
The Purple Aster is still with us and as we pass the numerous streams we see the bright red of the Mimulus or Monkey Flower growing among the rocks. Close by we usually find the Alaska Spirea, a delicate flower, which by the way is not a Spirea at all but a Lutkea, growing in closely matted beds. Of course, there is the Indian Paint Brush and with the Orange Paint Brush adds color that is welcome. The Fireweed is still the "mecca" of the bees who are busy gathering late summer nectar. There are many others--Rainier's flowers claim the meadows in some cases before the snows are entirely gone and remain until the deep drifts refuse to give way under the influence of the warm sun's rays in the fall.
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