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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Old Man of the Mountain - and his friends

We're excited that one of the new species we planting last summer, with the charismatic name of Old Man of the Mountain, is in bloom in the Berry Prairie!  This species naturally grows above tree line in alpine areas of the Rockies.  It is short and stout, with impressively hairy stems and very large, showy, yellow flowers.  By the name of it, this plant should be a crotchety ol' thing smoking a cigar, but look at how cheerful this plant looks.

Old Man of the Mountain (Tetraneuris grandiflora)

In addition to this flowering plant, we also have a few other new bloomers:

Waxleaf Penstemon (Penstemon nitidus)

Like most penstemons, the Waxleaf Penstemon is a beautiful plant that blooms in early summer.  This species has an electric blue flower with waxy, almost blue-tinted leaves.  Found in the Rockies and western Canada.

Golden Banner (Thermopsis montana)

This is a common plant around Laramie, displaying beautiful yellow flowers on stalks that can get to over 2 feet tall.  This is in the pea family, so you might recognize the shape and size of the flower as similar to the common garden pea.

Pacific Anemone (Anemone multifida Poir. var. multifida)

This anemone is blooming in the very back corner of the Berry Prairie.  The burgandy color you see near the flower are actually not petals, they're sepals (a different part of the plant)!  If the flower is pollinated, the seedheads are densely filled with wooly seeds that disperse on the wind.

Written by Brenna Marsicek, UW Biodiversity Institute

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