Tuesday, September 14, 2010


It seems to me the logical thing to do is to continue my likes to do! So here we go into another field: Flowers, Botany that is, getting more sophisticated? We move up to the mountains June 1st to get away from the huge metropolitan mash called Phoenix and the HEAT. An unknown benefit are the open spaces of the Juniper Forest and . . . Wild Flowers!

The most prolific in size is the Sunflower. The 2nd year we were here was a Sunflower year (must have been enough rain). Every meadow in the forest was filled with 6 to 8 foot high plants with 4 to 5 inch blossoms. Here are several in front of the Cottage. The roof is 81/2' high. They are like treesIn the photo below, through the patio, the Juniper forest can be seen. There are many open spaces (meadows) where the wild flowers are abundant. The Coyote chase Rabbit daily, but most of their diet are the berries of wild flowers and bushes, some melon like fruits and of course the many rodents other than Rabbit that live in the forest. This foraging must be sufficient, cause every time we see one, it looks very healthy.

Common Sunflower, Kansas sunflower, mirasol, annual sunflower. Helianthus annuus. Sunflower Family (Compositae) Height: To 9'. Flowers: Bright yellow ray flowers, maroon disk flowers: to 5" wide. Leaves: Dull green, stiff hairs; lower leaves are broadly trangular to heart shaped; irrgularly toothed; to 12" long. Blooms: May-October. Elevation:100' to 7,000'. Comments: Annual; state flower of Kansas. Frost sensitive. Flowers are heliotropic (face the sun). Seeds eaten by birds, rodents and humans. Native Americans use seeds to make purple and black dye; yellow dye is made from the flowers. Eight species of Helianthus in Arizona.

The next most prolific wild flower is a member of the Phlox family, Verbena. By prolific what is meant, when the temperature, wind, cloud cover, rain and frost conditions are just right for individual species, only then are they in that category . . . prolific.

MEXICAN VERVAIN, Sweet William (See Comment below), Verbena ciliata. Height:To 1 1/2' with sprawling stems. Flowers: Lavender to purple, small: to 1/8" wide, on a broad spike. Leaves: Dark green, lance shaped, 3-lobed, jagged toothed, to 3" long. Blooms: May-Sept. Elevation: 1,00' to 7,500'. Habitat: Roadsides, disturbed ground, and dry river bottoms. Comments: Plant is quite hairy. Nineteen species of Verbena (ver-BEE-nah)  in Arizona, many hybridize, making identification difficult. Photos taken July 2007 at Juniper Ridge RV Resort.

Next I will go on with a rare wild flower: SEGO LILY, star tulip, butterfly tulip, butterfly lily, mariposa lily. Calochortus nuttallii Lily family (Liliaceae) Height: To 20". Flowers: Tuliplike, with 3 creamy white to lavender petals; yellow petal base marked with a crescent-shped purple band; dense, slender hairs near base of petals to 2" wide, to 5 flowers per stalk. Leaves: Grayish green, narrow, grasslike; margins rolled upward, to 4" long. Blooms: May -July. Elevation: 5,000' to 8,000'. Habitat: Dry mesas, open pine forests, and hillsides. Comments: State flower of Utah. Bulbous root once used for food by natives and Mormons. Photo taken June 2008 Juniper Ridge RV Resort.

MEXICAN HAT, Upright prairie coneflower, yellow coneflower.  Ratibida columnaris, Sunflower Family (Compositae) Height: to 3', Flowers: Drooping rays, yellow with reddish brown or all reddish brown to 1 1/2" long; disks are purplish grown and tubular, covering a cone-shaped column to 1 1/2" long; terminal flowerhead to 3" wide. Leaves: Green, narrow, pinnately cleft into 5, 7 or 9 narrow segments; to 6" long. Blooms: June-October. Elevation: 5,000' to 8,500'. Habitat: Roadsides, fields, and open clearing in pine forests. Perenial herb, two species in AZ. Ref: "Epple and Epple." Photos taken September 8, 2007, #475 Juniper Ridge RV Resort.

I think this is enough for this Post . . . get'em too long, nobody wants to read 'em.


  1. Bruce, great job on your "What I Like to Do" series. The genealogy is always interesting...but really like the pix of the flowers, etc. and the commentary. Great stuff! Thanks for sharing it.

  2. Received this Email 9/15/10:Learned something new from this entry!! We have lots of Verbena in Georgia - probably different from your Arizona species. However, I didn't know that Sweet William was verbena because our Verbena here looks different.
    I did a little research and viola', it was a mistake in the reference book I was using. ("Plants of Arizona<Epple and Epple). Sweet William is Dianthus barbatus which does not do well in the White Mountains.