Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Last gasp for alpine flowers

I was up on Pikes Peak the other day and took a few photos of the remaining alpine flowers. Fall is a very short season up there, and the plants are quickly turning brown. Below is a spring beauty. The low-growing, leathery plant has a huge tap root. Like many alpine plants, it turns red toward the end of the season, possibly to absorb more heat from infrared light. Another favorite, which I didn't see last year, but spotted in droves this year, is Arctic Gentian. When this little white, speckled flower blooms at the end of August, it means frost and snow are near. Most flowers are dead and brown by the time its petals open.
Makes me wonder when we'll see the first real snow on the peak. Maybe very soon.

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