Lithospermum incisum

Lithospermum incisum

Oh…my….goodness. I was just looking back at my posts from last spring, and I am stunned to see just how much earlier plants are blooming in the north part of Monument Valley Park in Colorado Springs this year. I’m surprised because some plants bloomed earlier than usual LAST year…and they’re blooming even earlier this year. In fact, I could have restarted this thread a month ago and had plenty to post about. (Whereas last year in mid-April, I was saying how it was really too early to be posting about blooms other than the trees.) I’m a bit behind, so I’m going to summarize what’s been going on and won’t add pictures of everything in this one.

So here is what has been happening this amazing year.MAP – Here is the helpful map of the north part of the park. I use the areas I’ve labeled on the map to organize my posts. (Fox den area, turn-around point, playing field, etc.)

March 12, 2012 – Ok, nothing really blooming (okay – trees were blooming, as those of us with allergies could tell!), but the first plants were sending up new leaves, including smooth brome and alfalfa (both alien).

March 26, 2012 – First conspicuous flowers! The little mystery Prunus spp. (I am so going to identify this plant this year) is first to bloom again. Last year, I first saw these on Apr 7 (and that was actually earlier than previous years).

Snowberries (Symphoricarpos occidentalis) leafing out (Native)
Wild onions (Allium textile) also leafing out (Native)
Bouncingbet (Saponaria officinalis), one of our noxious weeds in the park, leafing out (Alien)

Apr 5, 2012 – American plums (Prunus americana) blooming at the north end of the Boddington playing field as well as at turn-around point (last year these bloomed Apr 14) (Native)

Apr 9, 2012 – Golden currants (Ribes aureum)starting bloom along northwest corner of path west of Boddington playing field. Others in the park are not far behind (Apr 17 was when the first of these bloomed last year). (Native)
– The little mystery prunus that bloomed on March 12 is now finishing up!
American plums all now seem to be blooming. (Native)

Apr 16, 2012 – First chokecherries (Padus virginiana) are in bloom on the hill just south of the Fontanero parking lot. Last year the first chokecherries bloomed….wait for it…May 9. Wow. These guys are really early. (Native)
Three-leaf sumacs (Rhus aromatica) are blooming on the same hill as well as across (west) from the triangle. They also bloomed on May 9 last year. (Native)

Apr 19, 2012 – Sandlilies (Leucocrinum montanum) blooming in triangle and on north end of wildflower meadow field! I never even saw these last year. This year, the blooms did not last for very long and were gone within a week. (Native)
Lilacs (mostly Syringa vulgaris) starting to bloom all over north end of park. I’m not sure when they started last year, but I did note that they were blooming May 23. (Alien)
Siberian peashrub (Caragana arborescens) and wolfberry (Lycium barbarum) blooming just south of Geologic Column. I have these down as blooming on May 27 last year. (Alien)

Apr 23, 2012 – Mystery prunus now has teeny little fruit! Starting to wonder if these might be apricots.
Chiming bells (Mertensia lanceolata) blooming just west of Boddington playing field, towards south end. I first noticed these blooming May 19 last year. (Native)
Honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.) blooming in many places – near turn-around point, along east path, etc. Last year, these started blooming May 9. (Alien)

Apr 27, 2012 – The Astragalus shortianus is blooming in the wildflower meadow now. Last year, I thought it wasn’t going to bloom, but if finally made a wimpy bloom appearance June 2. (Native)

Apr 30, 2012 – The first wild onions (Allium textile) are blooming in the triangle. Last year, these took until May 30 to bloom. They had buds for a really really long time before opening. (Native)
Fringed puccoon (Lithospermum incisum) is suddenly blooming in many places! It’s near the fox den (never noticed it here before), up in the triangle, and just west of the triangle. This was another one that didn’t show up until May 27 last year. (Native)
Chokecherries (Padus virginiana) are still blooming everywhere, though the earliest ones are now way past peak. (Native)
Honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.) and lilacs (Syringa spp.) are now blooming everywhere. (Alien)
American plums (Prunus americana) are done and now have cute little tiny, shiny green fruit. (Native)
Evening primroses blooming in the triangle (Oenothera spp.). I’m not sure which species as there are several in the park. This doesn’t quite look like O. caespitosa, but we’ll see some of that soon too. Last year, I didn’t see any Oenothera blooming until June 13. (Native)

May 3, 2012 – Lots more evening primrose all over the north end of the park now (Oenothera spp.). (Native)

May 7, 2012 – Wild onions (Allium textile) are blooming EVERYWHERE in the north end of the park. I never realized there were so many of them! East path, mid path, west path, fox den, meadow, triangle, ditch, etc. (Native)
Cowboys’ delight, or scarlet globemallow (Sphaeralcea coccinea) is suddenly blooming in several places. This had a very light bloom appearance last year in mid-June. This year it’s along west path, also just west of the stone walls on the south end of the middle path, by the stone drainage ditch. (Native)
– Some chokecherries (Padus virginiana) now have tiny little fruit. Others are still in bloom..just past peak. (Native)
– First western spiderwort (Tradescantia occidentalis) blooming by the ditch!This is where the first ones bloomed last year as well…on June 2. (Native)