Friday, May 18, 2018

Photo Friday: Wildflowers, Alpine Edition

A month or so back I did a wildflower post focused on desert wildflowers, and promised to get to the alpine flowers in another post. Then I got distracted... so here is a collection of alpine flowers from the Washington Cascades and a few from the Sierra Nevada mountains of California.

These first 2 are more sub-alpine flowers, found in the forests.
I'm not actually sure what this is.
This is a saprophyte--it gets nutrients from the soil, not photosynthesis.  
This one grows in wet places, both above and below tree line, and in both mountain ranges.
Shooting star.
In fact, most of these flowers grow in both the Cascades and the Sierra, though some show variations between. This one, I think, is Cascades only. At least, I don't think I've seen it in the Sierra. Pasque flower.

The gone-to-seed stage.
 Believe it or not, this is the same flower, in bloom. I wish I had a picture of the in-between stage, because it looks totally different again. Sadly, none of those shots came out.

Assorted lilies and columbines can be found in both ranges. Columbine, despite looking fragile, mostly seems to grow in the shade of rocks on otherwise bare alpine slopes.
Either a tiger lily or a leopard lily. They grow below tree line.
Cascade columbines. The ones in the Sierra seem to be mostly a light, almost cream color. In the Rockies they are more apt to be 2-toned blue flowers.
Some kind of daisy (aster). These seemed to hang out right about treeline on last summer's Glacier Peak trip.

Lupine grow everywhere. Mountains, deserts, seashore. They also come in every size, from tiny things to giant bushes (to really giant flowers in Peru). These were modest, except in their profusion.
Lupine with Glacier Peak
Lupine up close. The leaves are a giveaway, though the flowers tell you it's in the pea family.
Sometimes an alpine meadow is a flower garden with a stunning backdrop.
Daisies, bistort, white and blue lupine, maybe some heather, and a photographer.
Indian paintbrush is another flower that grows everywhere, and in a number of colors, though most are shades of red.
This paintbrush has a penstemon growing with it, each probably offering shade to the other.
Alpine heather I see more in the Sierra, though I think it's everywhere.

The next couple really seem to grow only in the alpine, and in the less promising spots, at that.
Pussytoes sprout up where the granite is only barely turning to soil.
Phlox grows in small, low mats in similarly inhospitable spots. This one is covered with the morning dew still.
The Sierra isn't noted for flowers the way the Rocky Mountains are, but you can still get some amazing displays there. You just have to put yourself out there at the right time--and maybe get a bit lucky, too.

Hope you've enjoyed the eye candy!

©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2018
As always, please ask permission to use any photos or text. Link-backs appreciated!


  1. Really lovely, especially the ones with the mountains in the background.

  2. Fabulous.
    Esp the gone-to-seed pasque flower, which I think may be the one Anabel liked too - worth entering in a swanky photo contest!

    1. They sort of remind me of the Beatles at the shaggy stage...

  3. Beautiful! Made me smile to see these blossoms. Thank you for sharing.


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