Sunday, June 20, 2021

Spring Wildflowers in Boulder

It was planned an easy morning hike: park the car at Chataqua Park in Boulder, Colorado, and walk southward, uphill. But the Front Range had a much wetter than normal May (2021), so the plants were lush and flowering vigorously. It turned into a spectacular wildflower walk:

Looking up at the Flatirons

the Flatirons, Boulder, CO

It was a day of beckoning green meadows

Boulder, CO

There were penstemons (also called larkspurs, genus Penstemon, plantain family, Plantaginaceae)  flowering everywhere

Boulder, CO
Hillside with penstemons

The penstemons were not just on the hillside, but under the pines, here mixed with mouse ear chickweed (Cerastium, carnation family Caryophyllaceae). Boulder County has seven species of penstemon, in colors from white to purple, sometimes all of the colors in one population of one species.

penstemon and chickweed, Boulder, CO

A rose in the grass. I didn't mean to botanize this trip, I was just doing a morning walk. So I didn't stop to identify the plants more than to genus: rose, genus Rosa.  There are five rose species with pink flowers growing wild in Boulder County.

a rose in the grass

A field of yellow flowers, taken with my little camera's maximum magnification. There are certainly dandelions (Taraxacum officiale) and salsifies (Tragopon species) but also arnica (Arnica species). (All three are in the sunflower family, Asteraceae.) At least some of the white flowers in the photo are yarrow (Achillea millefolium, also sunflower family.)

field of yellow flowers

Beside the trail, a geranium in full flower (genus Geranium, geranium family, Geraniaceae, probably Richardson's geranium Geranium richardsonii but there are 3 other species of geranium in the county).

wild geraniums

Looking southeast toward the city of Boulder
view from Chataqua Park, Boulder
view from Chataqua Park, Boulder

And, one more view of the Flatirons ahead

Flatirons, Boulder, CO

Comments and corrections welcome

To read more about some of these plants, see my blogs on

dandelion link

yellow salsify link

wild geraniums link

yarrow species complex and healing herb

Kathy Keeler, A Wandering Botanist
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