Flowers, Banff National Park
Ok, I don't mean elusive as in hard to find. These flowers are everywhere in Alberta--I guess that is why it is the provincial flower. But dangnammit, these things are hard to photograph. I thought that this shot provided the perfect light to capture the pink colors of the Alberta Rose. No such luck. Completely washed out--looks like an albino flower. In real life these flowers are a brilliant pink. Not at all sure why they don't cooperate with a camera. Maybe they are some sort of poltergeist flower that is unphotographical.
The interesting aspect of this flower is the fact that the white petals that you clearly see are not petals at all but sepals. The anemone is a rhizome which means that it is a cousin of ginger.
What is a sepal? Try: http://glossary.gardenweb.com/glossary/sepal.html
Very common just about everywhere you look in the entire province of Alberta. Found in mountains, forests, along roadsides--just about everywhere. Some claim that a few rose hips of the flower contain as much vitamin C as an orange. I didn't try any myself.
What is a rose hip? Try: www.everyrose.com/everyrose/lore.lasso#Hips
Also known as "ba$tard toadflax" which is reason enough to like this pretty little perennial. Another reason to like the plant is the fact that it is semi-parasitic--meaning that it attaches itself to other plant roots and sucks the juices right out of them.
Fifty or a hundred feet in altitude can make quite a difference. These anemone have not yet bloomed. They apparently think that the weather stinks--and they are correct as we fought sleet, snow and 36F temps while climbing the trail.
This flower is adapted to very harsh climates. The flowerhead is closed up very tightly in a hairy pod until it is ready to flower for just a few days. While the leaves and roots of many wildflowers are brewed in teas, the anemones are especially irritatiing and it is useful medicinally for such things as killing fleas and lice.
Every inch of the forest is teeming with life. Spots that are inhospitable for trees and shrubs (ie. boulders and rocks) are blanketed with moss and lichen. All part of the intricate food chain that supports so many varying plants and animals.
In my book, this is the prettiest of the Rocky Mountain wildflowers. In early July paintbrush is abundant along the trails and roadways.
Did you know that there is speculation that hummingbirds and paintbrush evolved together. Hummingbirds are especially attracted to red flowers and the paintbrush has flowers with long tubes with plenty of nector--seemingly tailor-made for the long bills of the hummingbird.
Not 100% sure about this one. Any help?
Update: Thanks to madamex. I can now define this flower as Elephant's Head.
Not a wildflower to mess about with or add to your tea leaves. Extremely poisonous containing a substance known as locoine which is also present in that noxious plant known as locoweed.
Not a wildflower at all, but a tiny little shrub. The bell like flowers are only five millimeters across. Excellent at surviving in harsh climates also found in the Yukon and Northwest Territories.
Likes rocky slopes. The flowers constantly face the sun. The plants are self-polinating as tiny seeds are dispersed as the stalks blow in the wind.