May 27, 2009
It's amazing how the wildflowers change from one week to the next, and one area to the next even in close proximity. The sand lilies are hanging on in the cooler protected areas but have gone from most of the prairie. In their place are hundreds of evening primrose (Oenothera caespitosa) that bloom as the sun sets, their brilliant white color easy to spot in the green and brown. Chickweed and chokecherry are also blooming in the canyons, as is the first of the yarrow. Deathcamas and vetches are visible, including groundplum milkvetch with its obvious round fruits. Delicate purple-blossomed waterleaf plants were a surprise, especially on the south-facing slopes. A few onions were growing in a section of the bulldozer track; I think they were pink onions, which are more prevalent farther east in tallgrass prairie. The bluebunch wheatgrass, thickspike wheatgrass, and ryegrass are green and growing, though unfortunately surrounded by a bumper crop of cheatgrass.