Tag Archives: pygmy gentian

Perkins Peak Late August

Grabbing the chance of fine weather, a friend and I took the atv up towards Perkins Peak late August.The above picture is the view from my house.  WAAY less snow up there this year.  It is about 3,000m high (well over 9,000′): the reason access is easy is that there used to be gold mines up there and the stony roads are still usable. The burns of 2017 have supported a wealth of flowers – remarkably late due to our cool, wet summer.Heart leaved arnica and fireweed both thrive after a fire, all the more dramatic agains the blackened tree environment.Paintbrush.  Not so well represented this year.Aster foliacious is mixed with paintbrush and yarrow.I have never seen so much showy aster.  It is prolific around home, too, this year, but nothing like up here.This picture is pretty much all one tree.  It is a white bark pine, probably hundreds of years old.  It somehow got a toehold in the ground, but the only way it could grow was in the shelter of itself.So now we were above the treeline.  This is mountain or dwarf fireweed, cousin to the species that thrives lower down.Yellow agoseris was common.as was silvery groundsel.Most people go to the highest point of this mountain complex, as did the person in the link above.  One of the mines is just over the right-hand ridge.But my friend and I went to the south mine.Lots of mountain sorrel, an alpine campion.and the ubiquitous and amazing alpine harebells.The road goes past an intriguing water seep full of alpine monkey flowers.The plant behind it is the red-stemmed saxifrage, now mostly in seed.Arnica mollisAnd one of many attendant butterflies.Partridge foot clung to the edge of the wet area.After the seep, we entered what could only be described as a Martian landscape.The small dome of whitish rock on the left is the tailings from the mine. Martian dog.So it was all the more surprising to find a small streak of green just past the mine.  In it were native dandelions (the green parts below the flower point up instead of down like they do in the common introduced species familiar to everyone.)And then I found a moonwort, a small kind of fern.  I have seen this only once before so it was pretty exciting.But most exciting of all was a minute blue blossom.  I could not confirm the species until I looked it up at home.  But it was indeed a moss  gentian, something I’d heard of but never seen.  What a treat!Its other name is pygmy gentian.  It is tiny, tiny!Because of the wet summer I was wondering if I would be able to get into the alpine this year, but this day was not only beautiful., the rare plant find made my summer.