Another Boulder Wildflower Bouquet

Spring peeping is quite rewarding now that more plants and seeds have returned from dormancy to establish their tiny gene survival platforms known as flowers. In my last post entitled Where Will All The Flowers Grow I promised to report on my ongoing wildflower sightings. Please check that entry for links to some great wildflower resources. This is the perfect time to grab your map and camera to go find spring.   

On April 13th I decided to check out Boulder’s Homestead and Towhee trails to capture some early bloomers. These two trails form a 2.2 mile loop with lots of water and warm south facing slopes making it an ideal place to confer with the flowers (and wildlife). I was rewarded with another wildflower bouquet to share. You can use my gps coordinates to search Google Maps to find the exact locations where I took these photos.   

The pasqueflower ( Anemone pulsatilla ) was so named because it blossoms around Eastertime/Passover. Pasque is the Old French spelling for “Easter,” and it is around this time of year that the plant blooms. Dakota Indians believed this buttercup‘s song encouraged other plants to awaken. It is also the South Dakota state flower. Patches of the flowers on their short, furry stems (that protect them from late spring snow) give an appearance of haze; for this reason the plant is also called prairie smoke. Other names are gosling flower, sandflower, windflower, wild crocus, and anemone. Beware of beautiful flowers. This one contains a poison called protoanemonin, and is an irritant when fresh; the crushed leaves were applied by Native Americans as a counter-irritant in cases of rheumatism and neuralgia. I captured this one on the Homestead Trail at 39.941364,-105.26664…    

Furry Pasqueflower


   Here’s another perspective from the same point on the Homestead Trail…    

Pasqueflowers Sunbathing on Homestead Trail


There is an abundance of Nuttall’s violets (Viola nuttallii Pursh) on these two trails. The genus name for violets is Viola, which is Latin for violet colored so this bright yellow flower is an oxymoron. For Nuttall’s violets, the only violet coloring is in the nectar guides – purple stripes on the bright yellow petals. Thomas Nuttall, for whom this violet was named was an explorer, botanist, ornithologist, and ecologist of the western United States in the early 1800’s. The flowers are on stems about the same length as the leaves, so the entire plant is about four inches tall. The leaves and flowers of Nuttall’s violet are edible, and are high in vitamins A and C.  These were spread over large sections of the Homestead and Towhee trails when I took this image at 39.939208, -105.262241..    

Yellow Violets


I found my first Sand Lily (Leucocrinum montanum) of the season on the warm south-facing slope of the Towhee trail at 39.946217, -105.268700. The generic name was compounded from the Greek leuco, “white”, and krinon, “lily”. Early in spring, the waxy-white flowers arise from a cluster of leaves that look much like a tuft of grass. Each plant has about a dozen grasslike leaves about six inches long that overtop the flowers, and are surrounded at the base by papery white sheaths. The fragrant white flowers are up to one and a half inches wide, and include a slender tube nearly four inches long. At the bottom of the tube are the ovaries and seed capsules which mature below ground protecting them from early spring snow and cold.  This one was at on the Towhee trail at 39.939134,-105.266608…    

Sand Lily


Salsify (Tragopogon dubius) brightens our open spaces with it’s cheerful spring sunflowers. The generic name is derived from two Greek words tragos meaning “goat” and pogon meaning “beard,” suggested by its prominent, feathery hairs when in seed. Later this season Salsify’s yellow symmetrical flower gives way to a huge, puffy silver/white seed head that resembles a giant dandelion, with a large white puff-ball of plumed seeds. Salsify’s roots are edible and for this reason it was introduced to America by early Europeans and has since spread widely. The genus was named by Linnaeus in 1753 and this species was first collected near the Adriatic Sea. Here is one I captured on the Homestead Trail at 39.938065,-105.266957…     



Lance-leaved chiming bells (Mertensia lanceolata) are in the Forget-Me-Not family and are also known as a prairie bluebells. Bell flowers such as this species have evolved to protect nectar and pollen from rain and wind and at the same time guide the insect pollinator in an efficient path to these rewards. I caught this purple beauty on the Towhee trail at 39.942861,-105.266383…    

Lance-leaved Chiming Bells


Biscuitroot (Lomatium cous) is a member of the parsley family. The name biscuit root comes from it’s starchy edible roots. These are or have been traditional Native American foods, eaten cooked or dried and ground into flour. Some Native Americans ground Lomatium into mush and shaped into cakes and stored for later use. Their flavor has been compared to celery, parsnip, or stale biscuits. I found this yellow mini-bouquet on the Towhee trail at 39.942959,-105.268078…    


7 Responses to “Another Boulder Wildflower Bouquet”

  1. Roslyn Kaiser Says:

    These pictures are wonderful and the accompanying comments make a spectacular show., Congratulations!

  2. What’s Behind NCAR Mesa? « Tales from the Trails Says:

    […] Tales from the Trails Observations from Boulder’s Hiking Trails « Another Boulder Wildflower Bouquet […]

  3. Ruckus on the Ridge « Tales from the Trails Says:

    […] from the cautious peep of the first Spring Beauty through the bold but short-lived Pasqueflower. Now that the winter snows are irrigating the foothills and the earth has warmed the time has […]

  4. Forthferalz Says:

    How are you sure the edibles are edible?

  5. richwolf Says:

    I’ve not tried them myself…but heck it says the’re edible on the internet (-;

  6. jual pulsa, distributor pulsa, grosir pulsa Says:

    jual pulsa, distributor pulsa, grosir pulsa…

    […]Another Boulder Wildflower Bouquet « Tales from the Trails[…]…

  7. Boulder’s Bloomin’ « Tales from the Trails Says:

    […] Erodium cicutarium (Filaree) Yellow Violet (Viola nuttallii) Oregon Grape (Mahonia repens) Pasqueflower (Anemone pulsatilla) Pasqueflower Closeup Spring Beauty (Claytonia rosea) […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: