Mountain Flower Identity

garnergardenJuly 6, 2014

Hi, my uncle is an avid hiker who lives in the eastern Sierras. He is also a photographer and one of his recent hikes he came across these pink flowers. He couldn't identify them, so he I'm seeing if anyone here might know what they are?

Here is a close up pic he took of them.

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Here's a wider shot to show how they grow. He said he found these at around 9,500 elevations, if that helps. Thanks.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 4:48AM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Hi GG,

Originally I was gonna tell you that the flowers look like an Armeria, but the foliage is all wrong! Then I googled "eastern sierra nevada mountain wildflowers" and found out what it REALLY is!

Check out the link below! (second pic down at the link) The person posting that pic doesn't give the genus/species, but from that I was able to figure out that it's some kind of a Cistanthe, based on the pics I found in searches, I suspect it could be C. umbellata, but don't know the species for sure! I found very few "usable" pics, and most of those were much lighter pink to white, but this is definitely the genus! Common name is Pussypaw!

And then! After wondering for four years now what a wildflower I saw on Mt. Evans was, I took a hint from myself and googled "mount evans wildflowers," and I FINALLY know what mine is too! Here are MY pics! Because of the flowers I always assumed this was some kind of a Saxifraga/saxifrage, but like in your pics, the foliage was wrong! Mine is Claytonia megarhiza, Alpine Spring Beauty! I love little alpine plants. Sure wish it was possible to grow them "down here!"

And THIS is where they're growing! I suspect we were at about 12,000-13,000 feet there!

And, if I may, I'm gonna piggyback on your thread to ask if anybody knows what this is! It's on the Ute Mountain Tribal Park on one of the ruins trails, and it was taken in May of this year. OK, so I just tried my new Wildflower ID System to try to figure it out! Googling "wildflowers" with "mesa verde" or "cortez" just got me mostly pretty mountain pictures, so I tried it with "southwest colorado" and that got me to something I'm pretty sure now that it is! (sorry for the illiterate sentence!) I believe it's a Townsendia, but can't for sure identify the species. (Possibly rothrockii or leptotis?) If anybody has seen this plant and has any other information, I'd love to hear it! Wish I had seen it with the flowers open, but I think I was a few days too early! Looked like it was gonna be really pretty!

Tell your uncle, High Five! I love to be looking for wildflowers when I'm hiking, and love it when other folks are interested in them too!


Here is a link that might be useful: Cistanthe - Pussypaw

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 8:00PM
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Thank you very much, Skybird! I have sent him a link to this post so he can see the info, I'm sure he appreciates it! He always has the most interesting adventures and wonderful photographs to share from them.

Mountain flowers are such rare beauties, for sure. Piggy back away! Hope someone is able to identify your mystery flower. Take care

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 4:22AM
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