Not so long ago, I was on the south-end of the Wind River Canyon photographing wildflowers for my website HogbatsPhotography.com. It was a warm June morning with not a single cloud in the Wyoming-blue sky. In just over an hour I had images of 11 different species of wildflowers; the 12th, the Primrose, had wilted in the morning sun. As I was making my way down the hillside with camera in-hand, my right foot slipped on the soft ground. Since my right hand was occupied, I caught my slip/slide with my left hand----save the expensive camera!
My left hand had landed on a small (hand sized) Yucca plant! Native Americans used the sharp tips as sewing needles!! I hollered some four-letter word and looked at my palm; it was covered with tiny, red pearls of blood; about nine or ten! Apparently, I had received Mother Nature's acupuncture. After slapping my hand to my yellow shirt, I looked at my palm and there was no more blood; I was surprised. The rest of the way down was difficult but uneventful. It's also called the soapweed, because with the roots you can make soap; a useful plant, and sharp!!! The image on the left is a large Yucca (Yucca glauca) in bloom. Deer just love the flowers.
This is a photograph from that same morning of the famous Wyoming Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja linariifolia). It's kind of a semi-parasitic wildflower, because it cannot survive without the sagebrush and it's extensive root system.
A lady once asked me why she couldn't buy seeds for the Indian Paintbrush flowers for her garden; she didn't like the answer. Another woman told me she dug up paintbrush flowers and planted them in her garden; she wanted to know why they died; she didn't like the answer any more than the first dummy did.
This is the Sego Lily (Calochortus nuttallii) which is about the size of those small oranges; they are a real standout in the springtime. The bulbs are edible; please don't eat them....there aren't that many around.
This is the state flower of Utah and is also called the Mormon Lily.
The Sego Lily is a beautiful wildflower in the Wyoming countryside.
This is one of my favorite Wyoming wildflowers, because it blooms in my front yard early in the spring. It's name is the Mouse-ear Chickweed (Cerastium arvense). The flowers are about the size of a thumbnail. This image was taken right after a mountain rainstorm.
*If you click on any image it will open full-size in my website!
This weird looking thing grows down by the creek that runs through our property, here in the Wind River Canyon. It took forever to figure out what they are, because it wasn't what we thought they were!
It's the Smooth Horsetail (Equisetum laevigatum). Believe it or not, teabags of this is available from Amazon. The Horsetail has medicinal qualities and has been used since ancient times for things like hair-growth and arthritis, but be cautious, it can have some real nasty side effects from what I've researched. It was also used for scrubbing pans!
This bizarre plant is the seedpods of a most unremarkable, small yellow wildflower. I always thought it looked like it came from Mars! Even with three books it was impossible to identify without the use of searches, and searches, and searches.
This is called the Alpine Bladderpod (Lesquerella alpina). It's weird and it's out here in Wyoming....
These beautiful wildflowers bloom on a hillside next to the creek not far from my cabin. They are maybe ten inches tall and bloom early in the springtime. These massive blossoms are the False Solomon's Seal (Maianthemum racemosum). They are "false" because they don't have the medicinal qualities of it's cousin.
They bloom on a hillside and it's challenging to photograph them; it requires some cheesy gymnastics....and not far from those are....
These wildflowers grow not far from the above plants, but they stick to the more shaded and damp areas; they are the Star False Solomon's Seal (Maianthemum stellataum). The "star" part I get....They are few and far between and hard to find in the Wind River Canyon.
Putting together an album of wildflowers for my website is more of a challenge than you'd think. First is the photography itself, which takes some walking, climbing and maybe some bleeding! To be honest, this is the part I like best of all. All that fresh air and hiking is good for your mind and soul.
Second, identification can take many, many hours of research; I still don't know what some flowers are after years of wondering. And most books have lousy photos or are difficult to find something in particular you're looking for. A Kindle book on "Wyoming Wildflowers" is a jumbled mess, but still a good read; sort of.
The real kicker is timing; there is always something blooming in the Wind River Canyon and Wyoming----you just have to be in the correct place at the right time. Most of these wildflowers don't bloom for very long, and some are food for wildlife: Deer just love the Yucca flowers; and no, I haven't tried them for myself. If my timing is wrong, then I'll have wait till next year! And to be perfectly honest with you, some wildflowers in the canyon I've never seen blooming; I know they're there but have never seen them for myself----right place, right time.
I am going to try and write a blog about some more Wyoming wildflowers photographed in the Wind River Canyon----if I can get the timing correct. One of my favorites is the Monkey flower, and it's blooming right now down by the creek.
My sage advice....get up....get out....and go for a hike in beautiful Wyoming; and stop to smell the Wild Roses, which are still blooming right now!
All the nature stories in the Wind River Canyon Blog and the photographs therein, and all content of my website, including wildlife videos, are produced and directed by Michael John Balog and all rights are reserved.
Please visit my website HogbatsPhotography.com for photographs of hummingbirds, bighorn sheep, bluebirds, orioles, and many, many more of the wild animals that live in the magical Wind River Canyon.
Thank you for reading my work.