Oenothera spp.

Oenothera spp.

Some moisture in April and early May has led to some nice blooms in the park this spring (hooray!). The super cold temps during that same period has also delayed some of the flowering as well. Hence, compared to last year’s exceptionally warm and early spring, we’re seeing things bloom several weeks later. It’s never the same bloom year twice in the park!

So, here is some of what’s going on plant-wise now in the park….

MAP – Here is the helpful map of the north part of the park. I use the areas I’ve labeled on the map to identify where plants appear in the park. (Fox den area, turn-around point, playing field, etc.)

Wild onion (Allium textile) – This little plant is having a banner year in the park – appearing almost everywhere in the northern portion. You’ll see it in the Fox Den Area, the Wildflower Meadow Area, as well as the Drainage Ditch near the parking lot. (Native)

Allium textile

Allium textile

Evening primrose (Oenothera spp.) – If you want to see this plant in bloom, visit the park before noon and swing by the Drainage Ditch, the Wildflower Meadow, the Triangle, and the Fox Den area. The flowers open in the evening and start to fade in the afternoon heat the next day. They fade from white to pink! I now have a handful of these growing in my garden. (Native)

Oenothera caespitosa

Oenothera caespitosa

Western spiderwort (Tradescantia occidentalis) – Earlier this week there was just one plant blooming; three days later, there are at least a dozen in the Stone Drainage Ditch area. While not yet blooming, the ones in the Wildflower Meadow will probably not wait too much longer, so it’s worth looking there as well. (Native)

Tradescantia occidentalis

Tradescantia occidentalis

Scarlet gaura (Gaura coccinea) – This sweet little plant is easily over looked. Make your way to the western end of the Stone Drainage Ditch and you’ll see its diminutive pink and whitish flowers. (Native)

Gaura coccinea

Gaura coccinea

Redstem filaree (Erodium cicutarium) – This quite noticable actually IN the ditch at the Stone Drainage Ditch. (Alien – CO Noxious Weed List C)

Erodium circutarium (courtesy easterncoloradowildflowers.com)

Erodium circutarium (courtesy easterncoloradowildflowers.com)

Fringed puccoon (Lithospermum incisum) – One of my favorites, this plant’s bright yellow blooms (that, as you can see, are hard to photograph without appearing washed out) don’t last long, so catch them while you can in the Fox Den Area, the Wildflower Meadow, and the Triangle. (Native)

Lithospermum incisum

Lithospermum incisum

Lithospermum incisum

Lithospermum incisum

Early vetch (Astragalus shortianus?) – This one always catches me by surprise. There used to be just one that bloomed in the Wildflower Meadow, but the past few years there have been two! The hot pink blooms (also hard to photograph!) are a real eyecatcher, and, sadly, they probably peaked about a week ago and are nearly finished now. (Native)

Astragalus shortianus

Astragalus shortianus

Salsify (Tragopogon dubius) – A beautiful weed, this plant may show up in your home garden (it certainly does in mine!). When it goes to seed, the seedhead looks like that of a dandelion, except that it can be the size of a baseball. Look for those seedheads coming soon all over the north part of the park, and more specifically in the Wildflower Meadow. (Alien)

Tragopogon dubius

Tragopogon dubius

Chokecherry (Padus virginiana) – These large flowering shrubs with “sausage-shaped” white flower clusters are pretty much finishing up, but you can still see a few flowers if you look close. They probably peaked about a week ago. (Native)

Padus virginiana

Padus virginiana

Padus virginiana

Padus virginiana

Common Lilac (Syringa vulgaris) – On the other hand, these large flowering shrubs with “sausage-shaped” purple flower clusters are peaking now! You’ll notice them mostly along the Middle Path, but they have been planted all over the park. I’m stunned to notice I’ve never taken any photos of the lilacs! I’ll remedy that soon….but I’ll trust you to find them on your own until then. (Alien/Introduced)

Enjoy your walk in the park!

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