Sunday, March 26, 2017

Visiting Colorado--The Foothills in March

I've been out in Larimer County Parks, checking out sites for spring wildflower walks. I took lots of pictures to get a head start identifying the common plants on those trails. I thought my walks to be "early spring drab" ... then I reviewed my slides.


Carter Lake, Larimer County, Colorado
The trail beckons
south end of Sundance Trail, Carter Lake

Pines and rocks along Carter Lake.

Carter Lake, Larimer County, Colorado

The cups among the dry grasses are seed heads of gumweed, Grindelia squarrosa, a late summer flower.

Dry gumweed among the grasses

Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) pine cone (upper left) and lichens on the rocks.

The foothills grasslands in March. The campground on the southeast shore of Carter Lake is just over the crest of the hill. The yuccas (Yucca glauca) turn green early, though the one in the front right doesn't look very healthy.

I went west from Carter Lake to Pinewood Reservoir.

There are handsome hillsides:

Pinewood Reservoir, Larimer County, Colorado

Pinewood Reservoir, Larimer County, Colorado

Oh, but look at Pinewood Reservoir itself!

Pinewood Reservoir, Larimer County, Colorado

Prairie sagewort, also called silky wormwood, Artemisia frigida was green and growing. The diameter is a just about that of a ballpoint pen.

Artemisia frigida

Attractive seed pods along the rocks. Penstemons (also called beardtongue, Penstemon sp.) I think.

Pinewood Reservoir, Larimer County, Colorado

A rock splashed red with lichens, not blood.

Rock with rust-colored lichens

A cattail patch (Typha sp.), no new growth visible yet.

Typha, cattail

And one last look back at Pinewood Reservoir

Wow! Get out and look around! It won't be long before greens dominate.

Comments and corrections welcome.

Kathy Keeler, A Wandering Botanist


  1. Quick and informative read. It would nice to hear about more than just the forb species that around surrounding the lakes. Expanding to include grasses such as Bromus, Pascopyron, Koleria, Festuca, and shrubs such as Cercocarpus montanus, Chrysothamnus, and Purshia would also be valuable to those interested in the flora of the area.

  2. Yes. So many plants, so little time! I started with conspicuous and easily identified. I have blogged about a few shrubs and grasses, buffalograss, three-leaf sumac, red osier dogwood as entire blog posts, others in posts about particular areas. Thanks for the comment, I hope to get to all those.