Another Great Spring for Wildflowers


The wet spring has produced another bumper crop of wildflowers in the foothills. Some of the showiest flowers I’ve seen this year are both in the evening-primrose family (Onegraceae) — not to be confused with the primrose family (Primulaceae). That is why there is a hyphen in evening-primrose — to indicate that it’s borrowing the name.

yellow stemless evening primrose

Yellow stemless evening-primrose photographed on Dinosaur Ridge.

Gaura coccinia

Scarlet gaura, in the evening-primrose family,  photographed at Apex Park.

 

Evening-primroses are flowers of fours — four petals, four sepals at the base of the petals, and a four lobed stigma that leads to a four lobed ovary, two times four equals eight stamens that produce pollen.

Gaura coccinea

scarlet gaura

They’re a little out of focus, but you can just see the yellow lobes of the stigma on the ends of the long, tube-like styles on this scarlet gaura.

 

yellow stemless evening primrose

Yellow stemless evening-primrose, with a star-like four-lobed stigma.

And you can see the long arms on the stigma at the top of the flower of this yellow evening-primrose.

I realize that I’ve been more technical than most of you really care about. What’s important is that you get out and enjoy the flower show.

About coloradogeography

Amy Law is a science geek. She feels about science the way some people feel about music, or art, or sports – a total and complete emotional connection. She thinks in science. For Amy, there’s nothing better than helping people see the beauty of science as she does. She loves to untangle a complicated subject into its parts, explaining it so that anybody can understand what’s happening. Let her show you her world...
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