Saturday, August 29, 2009

Yellowstone wildflowers

I've been away from the blogosphere for a few weeks on vacation. We journeyed to Yellowstone, with its wealth of geologic and wildlife wonders, and to Grand Teton. It's an amazing part of the country, well worth visiting if you can.

In spite of significant numbers of tourists (us included!), the wilderness feeling of the place is constant. Look at the gnarled root of the Utah juniper above as it grows over the rock below it.

I hadn't expected to see so many wildflowers this late in August, but Yellowstone averages 8000 feet in elevation and has a very short summer, so they flower later here. This is alpine goldenrod (Solidago multiradiata.)

We and the Obamas were at Old Faithful at the same time, and although we missed them at lunch, their presence was clearly evident in the crowds, helicopters and traffic delays that day!

Aster sibiricus.

Blue-pod lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus.)

Potentilla fruiticosa.

These potentilla were at Mamoth Hot Springs near Minerva's Terrace. Notice the white, extremely alkaline soil in which they are growing.

Considering the inhospitable conditions in some areas, it's surprising how much plant life thrives at Yellowstone. Above, the West Thumb Geyser Basin.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium.)

Campanula rotundiflora.

Cute little mystery plant! Ideas, anyone?

Scenes like this are everywhere: visit northern Wyoming!


  1. What a nice tour of Wyoming. I haven't been since I was a kid, but you've got me considering a road trip. I didn't notice all the plant life when I was there before. Hopefully the animals are as abundant now as they were back then. Gorgeous picture of the water there at the end.

  2. Thanks for sending your link for the Bloggers' Celebration of National Parks, Jane. I actually read this when you first posted it; I remember your commenting that the Obamas were there at the same time. I like your focus on the wildflowers at Yellowstone. I don't generally think of the flora but the fauna and geological wonders of Yellowstone, so it was nice to get a look at the plant life for a change.


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