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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Winter Blossom

Can you believe that in the middle of February in Laramie, Wyoming - elevation 7,200', latitude 41 degrees N, and over 1,000 miles to the nearest ocean - we have a flower in bloom on the green roof?


It's true!  The Sharpleaf Twinpod (Physaria acutafolia) has one brave and lonesome flower on.  It's a rather homely looking flower isn't it?  But you might be a bit shabby looking too if you had to bare yourself to the cold world on February 18!

This sets the record for earliest flower found on the Berry Prairie since 2012 - previous record is from last year - the Devil's Gate Twinpod bloomed on March 23; prior to that in 2012, the Fewseed Draba bloomed on March 30. 

Any guesses as to why this plant would bloom so early?  Who's out to pollinate it this time of year?  What triggers such an early bloom?

Written by Brenna Marsicek, UW Biodiversity Institute

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