If you’ll be up in Ash Canyon soon, here are two flowers to be on the lookout for.
Look for Blue Flax growing along The Postal Route trail. The plant is wispy, only a couple feet tall, and can easily blend in with the grass. The flowers are are only about an inch across, but the striking blue color will catch your eye.
Linum lewisii (Linum perenne var. lewisii), known as Lewis flax, blue flax or prairie flax, is a perennial flowering plant in the family Linaceae, native to western North America from Alaska south to Baja California, and from the Pacific Coast east to the Mississippi River. It grows on ridges and dry slopes, from sea level in the north up to 3000 m altitude in the south of the species’ range.
It is a slender herbaceous plant growing to 90 cm tall, with spirally arranged narrow lanceolate leaves 1–2 cm long. The flowers are pale blue or lavender to white, 1.5–3 cm diameter, with five petals.
While the Blue Flax is harder to spot, you won’t miss the Bush Lupine. The bushy plant and plentiful purple flowers really stand out among the other plants along the trail. You’ll find Bush Lupine growing along just about every trail right now.
Lupinus excubitus is a species of lupine known as the grape soda lupine. Its common name refers to its sweet scent, which is said to be very reminiscent of grape soda. This species and its variants are found in the southwestern United States, especially in California, and in far northern Mexico. The plant is a small shrub with gray-green foliage. The fan-shaped leaves are each made up of 7 to 10 narrow leaflets. The raceme inflorescence is a tall stalk of rich purple flowers, each with a bright yellow spot. The occasional variant has white flowers. The fruit is a silky legume pod up to 5 centimeters in length containing mottled brown seeds.