Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Wildflowers of Zion National Park

Zion National Park, located in southwest Utah, has some very pretty and interesting flowers found in places that I, at least, did not expect. The flowers that I am showing in this blog were all found near the east entrance of the park, quite high on the canyon, just west of the tunnel. Fortunately there are several turnouts or wide spots in the highway so one can stop out of the way of traffic. At this point you are high in the canyon with mostly slick rock around. There is little in the way of dirt and so flowers are not expected. I believe all these photos were taken in April over several years.

The flower shown below is desert primrose, found where there was a small patch of dirt.

The next flower is a shooting long star, I think. I have had some trouble identifying it. By the way, I strongly recommend Plants of Zion National Park, by Ruth Ashton Nelson for help in identifying Zion plants and flowers.

The photograph below is of a plant called wallflower.

I am afraid that I have been unable to identify the flower in the photo below. It is very pretty, and I did not find many of them. If anyone knows what it is, I would appreciate being enlightened.

The plant below is desert phlox.

The next photos are of Zion's Sweet Pea. This plant needs a little dirt and some way to collect a little water. As you can see it is growing on a ledge with some dirt on it and, because it is a ledge, it will collect some water. It is a favorite of mine.

My favorite Zion wildflower is the Slick Rock Paint Brush. This plant grows in the cracks in the slick rock where it can get a toe hold in a little bit of dirt. They are really striking to see clinging to the canyon wall as you are driving along. Below are several photos of this opportunistic flower.

I strongly recommend an expedition to Zion's in April. It's a magical time in the park.