Wednesday, June 26, 2013

6/25 Colorado Alpine Wildflowers

This has taken me quite a while to identify these flowers, but here are some photos I took of on top of Monarch Pass, east of Gunnison, Colorado, at over 12,000 feet.  These are very short, cushion-type plants that live in clumps because it protects them from the wind and cold:

The first is Moss Campion, which comes in several colors.  These were white and purple.

This next is called Diapensia or Cushion Plant. It looks a lot like Moss Campion, but the petals are more rounded and cupped.
Next are two yellow flowers.  The first is Alpine Buttercup and the second is Western Wallflower:

This one has me stumped.  I am going to go to a bookstore tomorrow and find a better wildflower book.  If anyone knows what this one is, I would appreciate knowing.  The petals are purple and white, and clumped into clusters.  Height is about 6-7".

And finally, here is some Lupine I found in the Lakeview Campground at 8,500 feet.  It is much taller since it does not have to fight the wind:

At least this is a good start at learning plant names.  I will be adding more as I photograph and identify them.


  1. I am a Colorado botanist and found your blog by accident. You seem to be sincere about learning the plants, so I would like to say that your first two photos above are not both moss campion - only the pink one. The white flowered photo is alpine sandwort and is a mat plant also found in the same fellfield communities as moss campion. The one you call alpine buttercup is actually alpine avens and is in the Rose family, not the Buttercup family. The picture you wanted identified is Trifolium diversifolium, an alpine clover in the pea family. A book you might find helpful is Snowmass Village, Wild at Heart. This can be purchased through the Colorado Native Plant Society, which is also a very good source for many other reliable books on plant ID. Good luck and have fun!

  2. Oh, I forgot to address the photo you thought was Diapensia - that photo is also alpine sandwort (Arenaria obtusiloba or Minuartia obtusiloba - both synonymps for the same plant). Diapensia is a genus that is found in only a few north eastern states of the U.S. and also in Canada, Alaska, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

  3. Sorry, that is "synonyms" not "synonymps"