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Wild Flowers of the Sierra (1958) by Douglass H. Hubbard


the high country

Some of the most beautiful scenery in the Sierra is at the crest of the range. Here near timberline are species which know only a few short weeks of sunshine. In late summer when the flowers of the foothills and meadows have bloomed and faded, the hanging gardens of the high country bring a touch of color and a saying that there is springtime all summer in the Sierra.


On the east side of the Sierra, Sulphur Flowers and Indian Paint Brush brighten a promontory. Minarets in distance.
On the east side of the Sierra, Sulphur Flowers and Indian Paint
Brush brighten a promontory. Minarets in distance.
White Heather, Cassiope mertensiana
WHITE HEATHER
Cassiope mertensiana
The bell-shaped white flowers of
this beautiful alpine plant grow on
stems up to 12" high. Rocky ridges
and under ledges near timberline.
Elephant's Head, Pedicuiaris groenlandica
ELEPHANT’S HEAD
Pedicuiaris groenlandica

The “trunks” of the Elephant’s
Head grow to 1/2" on stems 6 to
14" high. In wet meadows of the
high Sierra, northward to B. C.
Mountain Laurel, Kalmia polifolia
MOUNTAIN LAUREL
Kalmia polifolia

This diminutive shrub is 1 to 2 ft.
high with flowers to 3/4" wide.
Found on edges of wet meadows
or swamps, 7,000 to 12,000 ft.
Western Wall Flowers and Whitebark Pines in foreground,
Gaylor Lakes near Tioga Pass in background.
Close to timberline Western Wall Flowers and Whitebark Pines overlook
Gaylor Lakes near Tioga Pass in Yosemite National Park.
Mountain Buttercup, Ranunculus eschscholtzii
MOUNTAIN BUTTERCUP
Ranunculus eschscholtzii

A bright perennial with erect stems 4 to 6"
high. Flowers to 3/4" across. Grows in
gravelly streamlets on cool slopes. July-
August.
Douglas Phlox, Phlox diffusa
DOUGLAS PHLOX
Phlox diffusa

Grows in low mat 3 to 10" across. Flowers may be white,
lavender or lilac, terminal on short (3 to 4") branchlets.
On gravelly slopes and summits.
Purple Aster, Mountain Daisy, Erigeron salsuginosus
PURPLE ASTER,
MOUNTAIN DAISY
Erigeron salsuginosus

Usually a single flower up to 1 3/4" across on a
stem to 1% ft. high. Over much of the West,
6,200 to 10,000 ft. July-August.
Alpine Columbine, Aquilegia pubescens
ALPINE COLUMBINE
Aquilegia pubescens

The showy Columbine is one of the most beautiful
of western flowers. Stems 9 to 18" high, flowers
nodding, with slender spurs to 1" long.
Alpine Dandelion, Hulsea algida
ALPINE DANDELION
Hulsea algida

The high country from 11,000 to 14,000 ft.
is the home of the Alpine Dandelion. Stems
2" to 7" high. Leaves and stems sticky,
with soft hairs.
Shrubby Cinquefoil, Potentilla fruticosa
SHRUBBY CINQUEFOIL
Potentilla fruticosa

Many branches 1 to 4 ft. high bear flowers
up to 1" across. Grows at or near timberline
8,000 to 12,000 ft., Sierra north to sub-arctic.
Fireweeda, Epilobium angustifolium
FIREWEED
Epilobium angustifolium

Named because it often comes up in
moist burned-over places, Fireweed has
erect stems 2 to 6 ft. high with flowers to
1" across.
Blue Gentian, Gentiana sp.
BLUE GENTIAN
Gentiana sp.

Several species occur in moist or boggy
places throughout the west.
Steer's Head, Dicentra uniflora
STEER’S HEAD
Dicentra uniflora

Leafless stems 1 to 3" high with 1 or 2 flowers up
to 5/8" long with tips of outer petals recurved
1/4". Rocky slopes 6,000 to 12,000 ft.
Stick-seed, Sierra Forget-me-not, Hackelia velutina
STICK-SEED,
SIERRA FORGET-ME-NOT
Hackelia velutina

Erect, velvety stems 1 to 2 ft. high with flowers
blue or pink about 1/2" across. Name
“Stick-Seed” from prickly fruits. June-July.

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Online Library: Title Author California Geology History Indians Muir Mountaineering Nature Management

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