Monday, July 13, 2009

 

Sunflowers

It's been a while since I discussed the flowers growing in the meadow across from our RedRock RV Park (Island Park, Idaho). The most ubiquitous and obvious flower now blooming is the Little Sunflower also known as Rocky Mountain dwarf sunflower (Helianthella uniflora). This has replaced the Mule's Ear's as the dominant flower in the meadow across the street. Each plant has a single flower with brilliant yellow/orange ray petals on a hairy stem containing opposite lance shaped leaves. Its bright yellow head faces the sun and tracks it across the sky each day (heliotropic), giving a different brightness of the meadow each time you view it during the day. I'll include a few photos here to give you a sense of the beauty and sense of summertime it creates for us at the park.

A single bloom from the Little Sunflower.

A bouquet of Little Sunflower facing the sun across from the RV Park.

Looking at the back of the Little Sunflowers as they track the sun.

A field of Little Sunflowers across from RedRock RV Park.

Occasionally you find mixed in with the Little Sunflowers the Silky Lupine and Sticky Geraniums. These combination of colors are extremely pleasant to me (at least in nature).

Lupine is often mixed in among the Little Sunflower.

The insects are loving the thick and lush growth. Butterflies are to be found all around. If you look closely you'll see the Circumpolar Bluet (a damselfly) landing on the leaves. Plenty of other insects flit about (including a few of those pesky mosquitos).

Circumpolar Bluet lands on the Little Sunflower leaves in the meadow.

One of the most common butterflies here is the Callippe Fritillary. You'll find many of these flittering around the flowers almost anytime of the day.

Callippe Fritillary Butterfly on Little Sunflower

The lovely Common Harbell (Campanula rotundifolia) has gained a second wind. All of them had disappeared in the last few weeks, but I noticed they are popping up all over again. I'm not sure if this is from seeds formed this season or if they are just a form of late bloomers? Whatever the reason, they are a welcome addition to the potpourri of flowers in the meadow.

Common Harebell are back again in the meadow.

Also found in the meadow is a single large specimen of the White Campion (Lychnis alba) plant. This grows to about 2 feet with multiple blooms on many stems. Behind the flower is a calyx that forms a long, striped tube with granular hairs. This is an introduced flower (from Europe) and is often found by the roadside in disturbed soils. The flowers open at night and have a pleasant fragrance for attracting flying insects. In the meadow across the street it stands out among the Little Sunflower as a very white abberation.

White Campion or Bachelor's Buttons growing in the meadow across from the RV Park.

White Campion (entire plant) in meadow grasses.

Well, this is just a few of the plants that you'll find wandering through the meadow across from our RV Park. Next time we will look further into the forest from the meadow to see what surprises are growing there. Come see us and enjoy this little bit of heaven for yourself at RedRock RV Park in Island Park Idaho. We are only about 25 miles from Yellowstone National Park too!

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