Annkelliott posted today’s Botany Photo of the Day in our Flickr Pool last weekend. Ann was also kind enough to provide a brief account of her encounter with the plant, which we have included as the first part of this entry. (Original Image)
"It was a real treat yesterday," Ann writes from Calgary, "to have the chance to go on the Ptarmigan Cirque Trail in Kananaskis, Rocky Mountains! The trail is quite steep, leading up to alpine meadows and amazing views over deep valleys, scree slopes, and jagged, barren mountain peaks. We saw different plants up there, of course; ones that we don’t get in the city. The lovely yellow Glacier Lily, seen above, is just one of them. Today, I am letting my body recover before setting out on a day of botanizing tomorrow, returning to a lovely property near Millarville, southwest of the city. We are so lucky being allowed to go back again, to record more of the plants, birds, insects, animals and fungi, etc."
Erythronium, a genus included in the lily family (Liliaceae), consists of between 20 and 30 bulbous perennial species, most of which are native to the temperate regions of North America. In spring, the plants—which enjoy the well-drained, humus-rich soil of woodland and montane meadows—put forth showy pendant flowers. The plant featured in today’s photo, Erythronium grandiflorum, generally grows only one flower, though some specimens have been found equipped with inflorescences that support as many as five blossoms. The flowers bear
5 6 (21/07/2009) upwardly curved tepals that range from vivid yellow to creamy white in colour, and they produce a pollen that ranges from bright yellow to rich red in hue. Though they do serve as garden ornamentals, the plants tend to frustrate the gardener that attempts to cultivate them outside of their native conditions. Historically, the plant’s bulbs served as a staple crop for several of North America’s First Nations tribes.