Besseya wyomingensis?

Submitted by Lori S. on Sun, 11/20/2011 - 14:49

I saw this plant on a rocky ridge on our early September foray into the northeastern prairie-montane corner of Waterton N.P.. I think it's Besseya wyomingensis, but have never seen it in the wild before (and have only my rather poorly-grown Besseya alpina to compare with). What do you think? I think the stem shows where stem leaves were attached but have dried and fallen off.


Submitted by Mark McD on Sun, 11/20/2011 - 17:44

Tough to say with certainty in the dried state.  Was thjere any seed or where the pods all empty by this time?

But this brings to mind how useful it would be to show plants in seed, or their winter rest disposition, we always tend to photograph plants only in flower.  On FaceBook, the Denver Botanic Garden does a weekly "plant challenge" which can be fun, and a recent one showed leaves of what I knew had to be a Globularia... but it was in the seed state, with dry balls atop short stems.  I searched high and low for a photograph of Globularia late in the season, finally found just one photo (out of thousands of the plant in bloom).  I was close, could only find a photo of Globularia cordifolia with seed heads; the real identity was G. stygia... a species I wasn't familiar with... but the genus ID was unmistakable.

If I were to guess about your ID, I'd say it seems very likely; has the same general plant structure.  I did find one site that shows the stem of Besseya wyomingensis in early seed set, with still-green capsules:

Submitted by Lori S. on Sun, 11/20/2011 - 22:58

I didn't actually check it for seed but from the look of it, I thought the seed had probably been dispersed.
Thanks for the efforts, Mark.  I thought perhaps someone might know just at a glance.