Minuartia austromontana

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Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27
Minuartia austromontana

Now here's an odd Caryophyllaceae... Minuartia austromontana.
I always enjoy seeing it though it's hardly the showiest in its family or even in its genus, as this species usually lacks petals, or if they are present, they tend to be rudimentary and shorter than the pointed sepals (Moss & Packer). Nonetheless, it forms an elegant and understated little chartreuse cushion that is probably overlooked much more often than it's noticed.
It's quite common here in some areas, and favours dry alpine ridges, blooming in early to mid-July in the areas where I tend to see it. According again to Moss & Packer, it occurs from Alberta south to Wyoming and Utah, and across into NE Oregon... and also into BC according to other sources.

http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=250060625
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=MIAU3

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Lori wrote:

 Nonetheless, it forms an elegant and understated little chartreuse cushion that is probably overlooked much more often than it's noticed.

Well, that specimen certainly wouldn't go unnoticed by me!  Individual flowers look to be sedum like, although their arrangement is different. 

What is the plant it grows "under" in the second photo?

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

Pretty tiny plant!

Minuartia species are not uncommon in Norway but as you say Lori, they are often overlooked. I have no pictures of any at all!

I therefore borrow this picture (fair use provision) from the site mentioned underneath:

http://svalbardflora.net/index.php?id=221

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

RickR wrote:

Lori wrote:

Nonetheless, it forms an elegant and understated little chartreuse cushion that is probably overlooked much more often than it's noticed.

Well, that specimen certainly wouldn't go unnoticed by me!  Individual flowers look to be sedum like, although their arrangement is different.  

What is the plant it grows "under" in the second photo?

Another reason they probably only attract the attention of plant nuts is because they are quite small - the little cushions are usually only a couple of inches across where I see them.  The other plant you refer to seems to be a Hedysarum, H. boreale I think.

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Weiser
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-04

Cute little alpine!

From the High Desert Steppe
of the Great Basin and the Eastern
Escarpment of the Sierra Nevada Range
Located in Reno/Sparks,NV  zone 6-7
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sierrarainshadow/
John P Weiser

Boland
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Title: Member
Joined: 2009-09-25

Of all my travels in the Rockies, I've never seen that Minuartia Lori!  Here is one I did see for the first time this past July, M. nuttalii

Todd Boland
St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada
Zone 5b
1800 mm precipitation per year

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Again, it (M. austromontana) seems especially common in dry scree but is widespread in the alpine scree areas where we hike.
Just out of curiosity, what areas do you tend to hike in, Todd?

M. nutallii seems like a pleasant little plant; I'll have to watch for it.  The only other Minuartia I've managed to ID so far with any confidence is M. obtusiloba!

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Boland
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Title: Member
Joined: 2009-09-25

Lori, I spend most of my hiking time just north of Waterton Lakes, south of Beauvais Lake Prov. Park and west of Twin Butte.  It is the closest mountains to my brothers summer house in Hill Springs.  BTW, there was lots of M. rubella in this area as well.

I 'discovered' a new spot last October that I hope to visit this summer...if I can refind it!  I think it was near Mount Livingstone.  I was driving north on 22X from Pincher Creek area then took a range road (mostly gravel) west that followed along a river.  It passed through a narrow, steep gorge then passed a couple of prov. parks., one which has a narrow sluice-like river.  I then took a gravel road east that went up and up until I crested way above the tree-line.  There was a parking lot at the top with two trails which lead to communication towers.  Those trails promised some great alpines.  I hope I can refind it!  From here, the road descended down to 22X.  I tried google maps but nothing looks familiar.  I did use a road map which I have at home somewhere......hmmmm

Todd Boland
St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada
Zone 5b
1800 mm precipitation per year

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

I imagine that explains the differences in the plants we see then! 
I am not familiar at all with the area you mention... we visited Waterton N.P. last year (and once long ago that I scarcely remember), but we plan on going again at the beginning of the alpine hiking season, based on the terrific trip last fall!  

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

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