I first saw sunbright as little groups of succulent leaves near the plants I was studying, in a rocky grassland in the City of Boulder Open Space.
They were fameflowers, also called flameflowers, genus Phemeranthus, small succulents, native to North America.
|Great Plains fameflower,|
|Great Plains fameflower Phemeranthus calycinus|
The name Phemeranthus is a combination of the Greek words ephemerus, "lasting for one day," and anthus, "flower". These bright flowers open only for a few hours of a single day, like 1:30 to 4 pm. They tend to grow in dense populations, so if a pollinator that spots one flower, will likely find others to visit. Some species of Phemeranthus will set seed from self-pollination, which seems a good back up for making seeds if the flower is so briefly open. However they do it, generally they produce numerous seed pods.
|sunbright or prairie fameflower|
|sunbright, Phemeranthus, Boulder County|
Thinking this a very pretty plant, this spring I bought three plants of Great Plains fameflower, also called rock-pink fameflower, Phemeranthus calycinum. My resident rabbit immediately ate one but the others, better hidden perhaps, survived to flower. Those are the photos with flowers. I have photographed sunbright's flowers, but the pictures were badly out of focus (tiny flower nowhere near the leaves high on a slim thread in a windy prairie--difficult!)Here are the leaves of Great Plains fameflower, much larger than sunbright.