Rocky Mountain Calochortus

Jane McGary
Wed, 06 Jul 2016 09:23:57 PDT
On a recent trip to Colorado and the Beartooth and Bighorn ranges in 
Wyoming, we saw Calochortus in several places. I'm having trouble 
deciding whether these were Calochortus gunnisonii or Calochortus 
nuttallii, or one species in one site and the other elsewhere. Both 
species are reported to occur where we were, and both are quite 
variable. Can anyone advise me about distinguishing characteristics? I 
have photos, but they're not detailed enough to distinguish, e.g., the 
shape of the hairs. All the flowers we saw were mostly white, except for 
one pale pink individual among white ones. I suspect all were C. 
nuttallii but would like help to confirm this.

Other geophytes are uncommon in this region. We saw 3 Allium species, 
Veratrum californicum, and Lloydia serotina. Most of our plant-hunting 
was aimed at alpines such as Kelseya uniflora (success) and Aquilegia 
jonesii (almost entirely a failure owing to an earlier than usual 
flowering). We did stumble upon the tiny, rare orchid Cypripedium 
fasciculatum, though.


Jane McGary

Portland, Oregon, USA

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