|Yellow Umbrellaplant beginning to flower ©SB|
And yet, these orange-red flowers were fairly common on hillsides in the West Block of Grasslands National Park...
But what were they?
It took a while to decipher the secret of my mystery flowers, with a few dead ends and wrong guesses along the way.
But finally, I realized that this was the Yellow Umbrellaplant, a woody perennial that grows on eroded banks and Prairie badlands.
I remembered that story this year when I visited Grasslands National Park again, and noticed the Yellow Umbrellaplant (Eriogonum flavum) in several stages of flowering. A search of my photo files found more.
These furry dry-land Prairie Wildflowers are at first firm fists of ant-sized yellow-green buds. These open to create umbel-like clusters of frothy pink-tinged yellow flowers, which in turn droop and darken to become very beautiful — and to my eyes, very different but equally tiny — flowers as they age.
|Yellow Umbrellaplant flowers, a little further along. ©SB|
|Yellow Umbrellaplant: frilly yellow flowers open, a reddish tinge begins |
(Note bugs for scale) ©SB
|Yellow Umbrellaplant as the flowers begin to age, droop and darken ©SB|
|Yellow Umbrellaplant in in its mystery coral tube phase - |
very little yellow or familiar flower shape remain ©SB
(For a related prairie wildflower, see the Branched Umbrellaplant.)
Prairie Wildflower: Yellow Umbrellaplant (Eriogonum flavum)
Location: Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan, Canada, and buttes near Val Marie, Saskatchewan.
Photo Dates: 1 & 2: June 25, 2013; 3 & 4: June 24, 2015; 5: July 27, 2011.