Low larkspur (Delphinium bicolor)

Larkspur Strikes Again !!!

Kinda’ puts the whole “Canadian wolves are a threat to our ‘livelihood'” argument into perspective:

30 cows die in S. Idaho after eating larkspurIdaho Statesman via Associated Press

Perhaps they will spend millions of tax-payer’s dollars to commission a federal agency to crop-dust our public lands with herbicide such that this “threat” to the Livestock custom and culture can be eradicated.

Larkspur

Landscape covered in threatening, monstrous larkspur (of the deep, dark night) Photograph © Katie Fite 2008

'Larkspur Rebellion'

Elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, pronghorn, upland game birds, small nongame birds, and small mammals all eat Low larkspur. However, for reasons not entirely known, its alkaloid methyllycaconitine can cause motor paralysis in cattle (and humans) – leading to death from asphyxiation. Much effort has been spent trying to breed the vulnerability out of cattle – or at least get them to stop eating it. (Sourced Info via Idaho Native Plant Society)

Visit AGRO’s ‘Cattle Losses’ page to learn the proportion of cattle killed by predators versus the number killed by respiratory, digestive, poison, and other problems.

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Investigation Launched Into Grizzly Bear Mauling of Botanist Outside Yellowstone National Park

This story gives more info on the dead botanist Erwin Frank Evert-

Story from National Parks Traveler. By Kurt Repanshek

Evert recently wrote Vascular Plants of the Greater Yellowstone Area. He knew the Yellowstone country well. His death certainly is a loss.

Big-head clover (Trifolium macrocephalum) II

It’s that season (again) ! Bighead clover in Artemisia rigida sites (click for larger picture).

Bighead Clover

Photograph © Katie Fite, WWP 2010

Photograph © Katie Fite, WWP 2010

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East Fork Salmon River Watershed wildflowers

A lot of neat wildflowers happening right now

Bitterroot blooms © Brian Ertz 2009

Bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva) © Brian Ertz 2009

Pediocactus © Brian Ertz 2009

Pediocactus © Brian Ertz 2009

fad © Brian Ertz 2009

Paintbrush (Castilleja spp.) © Brian Ertz 2009

Lupine © Brian Ertz 2009

Lupine (Lupinus argenteus) © Brian Ertz 2009

Yellowbells (Fritillaria pudica)

Yellowbells (Fritillaria pudica) © Brian Ertz, WWP

Yellowbells (Fritillaria pudica) © Brian Ertz, WWP

Fritillaria pudica are among the first flowers to bloom in sagebrush country following the receding snow.

Indigenous peoples used to eat their starchy bulbs.

They’re blooming now ~ this photo was taken yesterday north of Fish Creek Reservoir.  With the moisture remaining following the fresh recession of snow – sagebrush country all over the West is vibrant with unique plant-life – and if you can pry yourself out of bed early enough, take the time to check out sage-grouse strutting their stuff.

Stalk-leaved Monkeyflower (Mimulus patulus)

Mimulus patulus - "Stalk-leaved Monkeyflower"

"Stalk-leaved Monkeyflower"
Mimulus patulus
Asotin Wildlife Area
© Dr. Don Johnson (Click to enlarge)

Mimulus patulus Occurence & Habitat

Springs and seeps are unique habitats that occur where subterranean water emerges from an aquifer. In the semi-arid and arid west, these unique sources of water are particularly important ‘oasis’ habitats for wildlife, especially during drought and heat.  Their relatively consistent temperatures and chemistry provides for  “hotspots” of biological diversity – many of the more fragile plants and wildlife found in these habitats require very specific conditions and will not persist with the greater water temperature, chemistry, and flow fluctuations that occur downstream.  Generally in the west, from a distance you may identify springs and seeps by the presence of an aspen clone or other green, lush vegetative expressions on the slopes of an otherwise tan, dry hillside.  Up close you’ll find a microclimate of mosses and unique plant-life.  If you’re lucky, you may happen-upon a wet-spot blanketed by butterflies attracted to its mineral-waters and gathering energy in the sun.

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