Plant Identification Resource

Nick

Spiral out.
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Aug 9, 2007
Messages
12,887
Anyone know of any good online resources for identifying plants and trees in the Utah/Colorado Plateau region? I'm specifically looking for desert plants at the moment but it's tough to narrow down results to our area.

Or perhaps it would be fun to post pics here and see if anyone can ID the plant? Hmmm...
 

Nick

Spiral out.
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Aug 9, 2007
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12,887
Anyone know what flower this is? It was growing near the top of Bald Mountain at about 11,800 feet.

bald-mountain-md-4.jpg
 

nonameiwant

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Jan 25, 2012
Messages
151
Not quite sure, but it seems as if it could be in the phlox family (maybe just alpine phlox). This is just from me looking a bit in my book (still new to learning flowers) and comparing with pictures online.

I can try and ask my biology professor next week too (he's a botanist by trade).
 

Nick

Spiral out.
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Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
12,887
Need help with another plant ID. Calling @xjblue!

I hiked to Buffalo Peak today and encountered an almost surreal field of these yellow flowers. They weren't quite blooming yet and the snow yesterday seemed to have taken a toll, but the numbers were wild. I tried figuring it out on my own and I think it might be Arrowleaf Balsam Root(Edit: it's not). Anyone know for sure?

IMG_4829.jpg


IMG_4766.jpg


IMG_4769.jpg
 

slc_dan

Desert Rat-Weekend Warrior
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Jun 7, 2012
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I first saw them just up behind the U one wet spring. Loved them enough to look them up when I got home.
 

xjblue

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Sep 6, 2012
Messages
299
Nick,
Yellow and sunflower family you get all kinds that are so similar there is a name for just studying that family, That is a crazy thick patch of veg, Mules Ear seems right to me too, they open up in to nice flowers.

The purple flowers photo above I'm going to go with Moss campion, Silene acaulis, Pink family, which I first finally photographed near the Pfeifferhorn last summer (I should do a report here one of these days).


I love the SW Colorado Wildflowers site mentioned above, several neighboring states sites can be helpful too. Here is a list of online sites and resources I frequent while trying to identify flowers which I try to keep updated over on the Expedition Utah forum (let me know of any dead links), includes those already mentioned.

Arches NP wildflower guide online
http://www.nps.gov/archive/arch/flowers/flowerhome.htm
Capitol Reef Wildflower PDF [also a great book]
http://www.xmission.com/~nelsonb/capitol_reef_web3.pdf
Desert Plants Of Utah PDF, Utah State University, Berniece A. Andersen
http://www.ut.nrcs.usda.gov/despub.pdf
Digital Atlas of the Vascular Plants of Utah
http://earth.gis.usu.edu/plants/
Montana Plant Life
http://montana.plant-life.org/index.html
Natures Medicine Chest (edibility and medicinal uses)
http://livingwithbasics.com/naturesmedicinechest/nmc_index.html
Northern Arizona Flora
http://www.nazflora.org/index.html
Southwest Environmental Information Network (SEInet)
http://swbiodiversity.org/seinet/index.php
S.W. Colorado Wildflowers (nice resource, as many species are endimic to both states)
http://www.swcoloradowildflowers.com/index.htm
USFS Wildflower viewing areas w/ maps. Intermountain Region
http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/viewing/region.php?sort=forest&arearegion=Intermountain
USU Range Plants, Alphabetical list Index by Common Names
http://extension.usu.edu/rangeplants/htm/alphabetical-index-by-common-name
Utah DNR partial list of rare Utah plants
http://dwrcdc.nr.utah.gov/rsgis2/Search/SearchSelection.asp?Group=PLANT&Species=PLANT
Utah Native Plant Society
http://www.unps.org/index.html
Utah Rare Plant Guide
http://www.utahrareplants.org/rpg_species.html
Utah State Noxious Weeds List
http://plants.usda.gov/java/noxious?rptType=State&statefips=49
Utah Valley University, Herbarium: searchable Online Specimen Catalog
http://herbarium.uvu.edu/virtual/
Utah Wildflowers; B Nelson
http://www.xmission.com/~nelsonb/wildflower.htm#family
Wasatch Bloomers; Wasatch Front Wildflowers
http://www.wasatchaudubon.org/flowers/index.htm
Weeds and Wildflowers of Utah index
http://www.rootcellar.us/wildflowers/contentt.htm
Wild Utah Plants index (great detailed photos of wildflowers)
http://www.wildutah.us/index_plant.html
Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants
https://keys2liberty.wordpress.com/

Oh and one I need to add that I use often is the USDA Plants profiles
http://plants.usda.gov/java/
If you think you know or might guess at a family or genus, use the common and scientific name search in the upper left corner and browse through the genus found under that family. Or in a google search with "USDA"
 

andyjaggy

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Dec 2, 2013
Messages
925
I don't have a picture but last summer I saw what looked like some sort of wild rubarb/celery mix in the high Wasatch mountains around a really wet spring type area above Silver Lake. I have been trying to figure out what it was every since. Anyone have any ideas?
 

xjblue

Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2012
Messages
299
I have been calling them arrowleaf balsam roots, I am corrected. that's a pretty incredible display there isn't it. :)

Just slight differences in when they bloom and where they grow between Balsamroot, Mules Ear, Heartleaf Arnica and others can be helpful towards identification, other features take longer to learn to tell apart or require closer inspection.

Mules Ear
I've found them in meadows higher in the canyons, later in to summer, have shiny leaves iirc


Arnica
several species hard to tell apart, I've found them along forest shaded trails mid canyon earlier in summer


Balsamroot
three species in Utah, usually rougher around the edges looking and I see them most regularly bloom in the spring around the foothills.
 

xjblue

Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2012
Messages
299
This is not an online resource but I can highly recommend these as a great way to learn more.
Wildflower Festivals

Cedar Breaks Wildflower Festival: Ninth Annual, will begin on July 5 and continue through July 20, 2014.
http://www.nps.gov/cebr/wildflower-festival.htm

Wasatch Wildflower Festival: July 25-27 2014
http://cottonwoodcanyons.org/events/wasatch-wildflower-festival/

Crested Butte Wildflower Festival, Colorado, July 7th – 13th, additional events starting June 20 and going through August 16!
https://www.crestedbuttewildflowerfestival.com/

I attended the Wasatch Festival a couple years ago, went on several walks with the volunteer guides at Alta then a longer hike on my own from the base to the ridge tops. An impressive display of flowers from nearly the full season from Spring onward, many of which bloom throughout Utah or have desert relatives. Not just wildflowers, the guides were good with other Flora as well, and pointing out some not in bloom at the time.
 

SirDonB

So what's next?
Joined
May 21, 2014
Messages
116
Can someone help me identify this tree?







I am considering trimming one to make a walking stick with, but I want to know more info on it first to see if it would be a good canidate or not. I have an aboundance of them in my area, but never new what they were called.

Thanks for any help.
 

xjblue

Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2012
Messages
299
Looks like Smooth Sumac, if so it is related to Poison Ivy so might want to avoid as it can be irritating if you have become sensitive to the later, the berries are said to be a tasty lemonade like addition to your drinking water but I have not verified that, the leaves turn fall colors and the berries will often stay on the stalk through the winter. As seen here on Mt Olympus in March this year



Also before flowering with berries left over from the previous year, May 2012
 

SirDonB

So what's next?
Joined
May 21, 2014
Messages
116
Guess that means I have been lucky so far then, growing up as a kid I would cut them down to make varoius weapons or other items I needed at the time out of and have yet to have any kind of reaction to it. Then again, I dont normally get poision Ivy either, however, I have gotten it a time or 2, so who knows. I am just very weird and somewhere off the "normal" scale of things when it comes to anything medically related.
 

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