Botanical Slide Shows
Slide Shows
List of slide shows





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This page is home to a number of slide shows about native plants of Colorado. The shows feature photographs of plants found from the plains of eastern Colorado to the low deserts of western Colorado and from the foothills to the high tundra of the mountains.

For more photographs and descriptive material about Colorado flora, see

Eastern Colorado Flora and Four Corners Flora.

If you have questions about the slide shows or would like to contribute photographs for another slide show, contact the Webmaster. It would be especially nice to have slide shows of grasses, lichen, plants of one genus, galls of various plants, plants of a particular season, or plants of a particular area (a mesa, pond, meadow, etc.).

Please Note: All photographs are copyright by the photographers and none can be reproduced in any form without the expressed consent of the photographers. We appreciate the generosity of the photographers who made their photographs available to the Colorado Native Plant Society web site. For permission to use photographs, email the Colorado Native Plant Society Webmaster. Unless otherwise indicated, photographs on this CoNPS web site are by Al Schneider, www.swcoloradowildflowers.com, and may not be used for any purpose without his expressed permission. Email him.

Photographs are nearly full-screen. Depending on your Internet speed, it may take a few seconds for the photos to open on your computer.

Nomenclature follows the 2001 editions of Colorado Flora: Eastern Slope and Colorado Flora: Western Slope by William Weber and Ronald Wittmann.

SLIDE SHOWS

Click on a slide show title below to view photos.

Click here for the key to descriptive information about the photographs.

"Rare and Endemic Flora of the Four Corners"

Photographs by Steve O'Kane, Associate Professor of Botany, University of Northern Iowa, and Co-Editor and a lead field botanist for a
Flora of the Four Corners Area, the San Juan Basin Flora Project, to be published soon. 

"Colorado Physaria"

Photographs by Steve O'Kane, Associate Professor of Botany, University of Northern Iowa, and Co-Editor and a lead field botanist for a
Flora of the Four Corners Area, the San Juan Basin Flora Project, to be published in 2008.
Steve's photographs show all the Physaria found in Colorado.

"Colorado Botrychium"

Photographs by Scott Smith, Colorado plant enthusiast and plumber with the United States Antarctic program. Text by Scott Smith and Al Schneider.

"Colorado Orchids"

Photographs by Scott Smith, Colorado plant enthusiast and plumber with the United States Antarctic program. Text by Scott Smith and Al Schneider.

"Colorado Plants of Charles Christopher Parry"

NEW MATERIAL about Colorado Blue Spruce and Engelmann Spruce added March, 2007.

Photographs and descriptions by Al Schneider, Colorado Native Plant Society Webmaster and author of the web site, Southwest Colorado Wildflowers.

"Alpine Wildflowers in the Metro-Denver Chapter Area"

Photographs by Loraine Yeatts, field botanist and taxonomist with the Denver Botanic Gardens, Kathryn Kalmbach Herbarium.

"Mountain Wildflowers in the Metro-Denver Chapter Area"

Photographs by Loraine Yeatts, field botanist and taxonomist with the
Denver Botanic Gardens, Kathryn Kalmbach Herbarium.

"Foothills and Plains Wildflowers in the Metro-Denver Chapter Area"  

Photographs by Loraine Yeatts, field botanist and taxonomist with the
Denver Botanic Gardens, Kathryn Kalmbach Herbarium.

"Semi-desert Wildflowers in the Southwest Chapter Area, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument"

Photographs and descriptions by Al Schneider, Colorado Native Plant Society Webmaster and author of the web site, Southwest Colorado Wildflowers.

"Flora of the Upper San Juan River Basin"  

Photographs by Steve O'Kane, Associate Professor of Botany, University of Northern Iowa, and Co-Editor and a lead field botanist for a
Flora of the Four Corners Area, the San Juan Basin Flora Project, to be published soon.

Key to descriptions of photographs

The descriptive information accompanying many of the full-sized pictures in the slide shows includes the plant name, its vegetation zone, habitat, date of bloom, and the photographer's personal observations about the plant.

Scientific names are those given in the 2001 editions of Colorado Flora: Eastern Slope and Colorado Flora: Western Slope by William Weber and Ronald Wittmann.  

Following the scientific name (in parenthesis) is the most often used common name.  Not all plants pictured are given a common name. 

The scientific family name follows with the common family name in parentheses.

What is a scientific name?  What is a common name?  To be accepted, a scientific name and the description given of the plant must be recorded in a publication.  The name is actually attached to the first plant specimen collected and that specimen exists in a herbarium.  Scientific names are in Latin and/or Greek and are the same throughout the world.  A scientific names changes when new published research shows that a plant was misclassified.

Common names on the other hand have no original specimen to which they are attached, do not have an author or date, vary from person to person, region to region, and country to country, and are so subjective that they are best used only when one is talking to oneself or to a close botanical friend  --  or when one wants to start an argument.

Vegetation zones, habitats, and date of blooming follow the plant names.

Vegetation Zones:

Alpine: Above 11,500 feet (tree line).  Characterized by tundra: land of thin soil, rocks, a very short growing season, and frost any day of the year.  Annually 30-55 inches of moisture, most from snow (200 to 400 inches per winter). Magnificent carpets of dwarfed flowering plants in June, July, and August.

Subalpine: From 10,000 to 11,500 feet.  Characterized by thick Spruce/Fir forests.  Aspens grow at lower elevations in this zone.  Annually about 25-40 inches of moisture, most from snow (about 250-350 inches).  Lush wildflower growth mid-June through August.

Montane: From 8,000 to 10,000 feet.  Open Aspen forests, sometimes with heavy undergrowth of shrubs (Snowberry, Currants, Elderberry).  Colorado Blue Spruce in moist areas.  At lower elevations some large stands of Ponderosa Pine with scattered Douglas Fir on north facing slopes.  Annually about 18-30 inches of moisture, 1/2 to 3/4 from snow.  Moderate to lush wildflower growth from June-August.

Foothills (including Mesas): From 6,500 to 8,000 feet. Pinyon Pine, Juniper, and Oak forests, often quite thick.  Pockets of Douglas Firs.  Ponderosa Pines at higher elevations.  Numerous shrubs: Serviceberry, Mountain Mahogany, Snowberry.  Annually about 14-25 inches of moisture, about half from snow.  Moderate to very good wildflower growth in May and June, highly dependent on winter and spring rains.

Plains: From 3,500 to about 6,500 feet covering the eastern third of Colorado. The plains are, where undisturbed by agriculture, a mixed grass prairie.  Sandy hills may have shrubs such as Sagebrush and Rabbitbrush mixed with cacti and yucca. Cottonwoods, willows, and Box Elder are found along streams.  Percentage of days with sunshine is very high and humidity is quite low.  Annual precipitation is less than 20 inches with about a quarter of that from snow.  Wildflowers in undisturbed areas can be very good from March through June.

Desert and Semi-desert (including Canyons): Typically from 4,000 to 6,500 feet.   Arid.  Annually 5-14 inches of moisture, 1/4 or less from snow.  Desert and semi-desert areas are characterized by open, sandy, gravelly flats with scattered shrubs (Saltbush, Sagebrush) and Cottonwoods along washes.  Higher semi-desert canyons have Pinyon Pine, Juniper, and Oak with some thick patches of Yucca, Sagebrush, Mountain Mahogany, and other shrubs.  Wildflower growth is best from March to June but is highly dependent on winter moisture.

Habitats:

Some plants bloom only in special, very limited habitats; others tolerate a variety of growing conditions.  The following thirteen categories describe the habitats of Colorado:

Tundra:  Land above tree line characterized by a short growing season, intense sun and wind, thin soils, very high snow fall and high rain fall, and low growing sedges, grasses, dwarf shrubs, and herbs.

Scree: Fields (often extensive) of small, loose, slab rock.  Common below tree line and very common above tree line. Pockets of endemicwildflowers where soils accumulate.

Woodlands: Areas forested with Spruce, Fir, Pine, Aspen, Oak, Juniper, Douglas Fir.

Wetlands: Wet meadows, fens, seeps, etc.

Streamsides: Moist areas along streams.

Openings: Small to large clearings in various vegetation zones.  The openings are caused by soil conditions, fire, wild animals, or man .

Meadows: Grass, shrub, and wildflower-filled large open areas with few, if any, trees.

Rocks: Areas of large rock in canyons or mountains.

Canyons: Deep and long depressions with walls of cliffs and slopes.  Pinyon Pine, Juniper, and Sagebrush are common.

Shrublands/Grasslands: Arid lands characterized by shrubs, grasses, and a lack of trees.

Prairies: Low elevation, gently rising and falling lands of grasses, wildflowers, and few trees. 

Disturbed areas: Roadsides, mined areas, timbered lands.

Semi-deserts: Shrublands, grasslands, Pinyon-Juniper woodlands, or sand and gravel relatively barren lands.

Variations in the growth patterns and number of plants in a particular vegetation zone and habitat are brought about by a number of factors:


A) Plant growth is significantly affected by seasonal variables such as precipitation, sunshine, and wind and by local variables such as soil composition, soil moisture, altitude, slope, and direction of slope of the land.  Thus a sandy, shady, moist, north facing hillside after good spring rains promotes the growth of quite different plants from those on a rocky, sunny, dry, south facing hillside after a dry spring.  These differences are, of course, apparent not just in Colorado but everywhere in the world.  

B) Disturbance by animals (especially by human beings) produces significant changes in the appearance of plants or even the existence of plants.  

C) Altitude variations produce differences in plant growth because of significant differences in temperature, wind, moisture, soil conditions, solar radiation, snow pack, etc.  Since altitude in Colorado varies from about 3,500 feet to over 14,000 feet, it is altitude, of all the natural factors, that produces the most profound impact on plants and thus is the basis of the vegetation zones

Date of Blooming: For the purpose of the photograph descriptions the seasons are as follows: "Spring"=March, April, May.  "Summer"= June, July, August.  "Fall"=September,

 

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