This post simply celebrates the Summer of the Wildflower. We’ve been living in the Keys for 20+ years and there are very few annuals, perennials, or wildflowers there, so I’m the first to admit that we might be more susceptible to wildflower charms than the usual tourist to Canada & Alaska. But I really think that the wildflowers have been extraordinary, and we have both been bowled over by them throughout our trip. I remember wildflower season in Virginia peaking in early summer & then tapering off to just a few here & there by summers’ end. But nearly everywhere in Alaska that your eye falls there are blooms, and they have continued to wow us all season. Even on the tundra on the tiniest of plants there have been blooms, and non-blooming plants are often just as interesting in their form or function. I’ve identified plants where I could, and please feel free to shout out if you know what the unnamed ones are.
[This post is dedicated to my mother-in-law Chris, who suffers through the long, long winters of Wisconsin!]
Bees in the Lupine
Fireweed – Chamerion angustifolium
Okay, I snuck this one in because it’s from Wyoming, but still gorgeous.
Dwarf Dogwood – Cornus canadensis – in spring
Dwarf Dogwood in fall
Fireweed and bee
Fireweed – it’s everywhere in Alaska!
Ground Cone – Boschniakia hookeri. This is a parasitic plant: it taps into the roots of salal bushes and steals nutrients. It does actually flower, although these appear to be finished.
Mountain or Low-Bush Cranberry
River Beauty – Chamerion latifolium
A willow rose. This isn’t actually a flower: a parasitic fly lays an egg in the growing tip of a willow tree branch in spring. The presence of the parasite causes the leaves to grow in this rosette shape. The fly larva stays in the tip of the branch, protected from the cold weather by the willow, and it hatches in spring.
Twinflower – Linnaea borealis
Watermelon berry. Tasty, but filled with tiny seeds.