Early Risers

We are having a nice slow warm up here in my part of Wyoming. Even so, the speed with which the wildflowers begin to bloom always catches me by surprise. Many of our early spring native wildflowers only need a few days above the mid fifties Fahrenheit to start their green up, and then a few more days of sunshine and they are blooming. Our “wildflower” season at low elevations is brief, so I am always keenly aware that this beauty is fleeting.

Wax currant, Ribes cereum, is a small native, fruit bearing shrub. The fruit is a good food source for birds, and is edible for humans.
Phlox is one of the first plants to flower in the spring. Our native phlox is a cushion plant barely reaching two inches tall on drier sites.
The paintbrush is just beginning to bloom. It usually grows tucked into a perennial grass or sagebrush, having a semi-parasitic relationship with the host plant.
Paintbrush, Castilleja spp., come in a wide range of colors, painting the sage brush steppe with pale yellows, mild salmons, and fiery reds.
There are well over one hundred species of Astragalus native to Wyoming. This little guy has one inch flowers waving over the top of this cushion plant.

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