Balsamroot – Sage Flats, Jackson Hole
Sage flats and slopes throughout Jackson Hole are approaching their peak spring bloom. You can’t miss the Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata
) with its brilliant bunches of yellow sunflowers spotted between green-gray Big Sage bushes (Artemesia tridentata var. vaseyana
). Blue spikes of Nuttall’s Larkspur
), brilliant white
Woodland Stars (Lithophragma spp
), and delicate yellow sprays of Desert Parslies (Lomatium ambiguum
, and L. simplex var. simplex
) abound. More occasional are the half-inch pale yellow flowers of Puccoon or Stoneseed
nestled atop sturdy 2-foot stems covered with linear leaves. Three kinds of native Yellow Violets (Viola nuttalii, V. praemorsa, V. vallicola) match introduced Dandelions in their
Valley Yellow Violet is one of three confusing yellow violets.
size and color. White mats of Hood’s Phlox (P. hoodii
) are still flowering on the dry slopes. Its taller, slightly pink, 6-8″ cousin Longleaf Phlox (Phlox longifolia
) is coming into its own along
Waterleaf – look under the leaves!
roadsides. In relatively moist spots, look for fuzzy heads of white hiding beneath the lobed leaves of Waterleaf (Hdyrophyllum captitatum
In especially warm locations, Lupine is already sending spires of blue pea-flowers above its palmate leaves. Wild Buckwheats (Eriogonum
spp) are forming heads and pinwheels of white to yellow blooms. Yet, as you go north in Grand Teton National Park, where the final patches of snow have just melted, you may still see the early spring flowers of Spring Beauty (Claytonia lanceolata
), dangling Yellowbells (Fritillaria pudica
), and dramatic pink Shooting Stars (Dodocatheon conjugens
). If you are lucky you may see a bumblebee clinging to the tip of the Shooting Star, The bee vibrates its wings to a specific frequency, thereby releasing pollen onto its belly in the act
Shooting Stars are “buzz” pollinated.
of “buzz-pollinating” the plant.
These are just a few pleasures of a drive with short explorations on foot.
Particularly good spots: Antelope Flats loop, Deadman’s Bar road, beginning of Pacfic Creek Road, and beginning of Bradley-Taggart Trail, to name a few.
Let us know where you are finding flowers!
Wildflowers on a sage slope overlooking the Grand Tetons May 2013