The Alpine Strategy: The Alpine is Blooming

Alpine Strategy: The Alpine Is Blooming

The heavy winter snow and early spring rain may have engendered a banner year for alpine flowers. Our Conservation Team has been out documenting these species as part of the Alpine Strategy and is looking forward to a colorful summer. Weโ€™re not out of the woods yet, thoughโ€“alpine plants need summer monsoons to thrive and especially to produce seed. With the current forecast clear and sunny, this bloom may not last long. (Read more in this article from The Tribune: Wildflower ‘super blooms’ poised for Colorado.)

In June our Conservation Team and colleagues from Denver Botanic Gardens embarked on an expedition to the alpine zone of the Tarryall Mountains. With many species blooming, including Lehmannโ€™s Rockjasmine (Androsace lehmanniana), Arctic Alpine Forget-Me-Not (๐˜Œ๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ค๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ถ๐˜ฎ ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜จ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ถ๐˜ฎ), Alpine Lily (๐˜Ž๐˜ข๐˜จ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ข), and Alpine Primrose (๐˜—๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ฎ๐˜ถ๐˜ญ๐˜ข ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜จ๐˜ถ๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ง๐˜ฐ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ข), the team collected some of the first herbarium vouchers in the area, which are an important metric of biodiversity. Our goal is to gain a better understanding of this unique alpine system as part of the Alpine Strategy. We plan to return at the end of July to capture the later-blooming species, and again at the season for seed collection.

Betty Ford Alpine Gardens Conservation Intern, keying out Alpine Phlox
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Emma, Conservation Intern, keying out Alpine Phlox (Phlox condensata)

Betty Ford Alpine Gardens - Rocky Mountain Blue Columbine
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Rocky Mountain Blue Columbine (Aquilegia saximontana), an endemic relative of our state flower that is ranked G3, or Vulnerable, by NatureServe with only 20-40 populations in the wild. It was amazing to see this rare plant thriving in the Tarryalls, usually nestled against the granite outcroppings.

Betty Ford Alpine Gardens - White Globeflower
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White Globeflower (Trollius albiflorus)

Betty Ford Alpine Gardens - Blue Kittentails
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Alpine Kittentails (Synthyris alpina)

Betty Ford Alpine Gardens - Dwarf Clover and Alpine Parsley
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Dwarf Clover (Trifolium nanum) and Alpineparsley (Oreoxis alpina)

Betty Ford Alpine Gardens - Tweedy's Bluebell
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Tweedyโ€™s Bluebell (Mertensia tweedyi)

Betty Ford Alpine Gardens - Old Man of the Mountain
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Old Man of the Mountain (Hymenoxys grandiflora)

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