Ipomopsis aggregata

I’ll sneak in one more photograph from my Pacific Northwest travels before we return to a more global selection of plants.

Scarlet gilia was featured once before on BPotD. I can now confirm that the crushed foliage does indeed smell skunky, with an overtone of tar. The smell isn’t entirely pleasant, but it’s worth making the acquaintance when spotting the plant in a new location.

The genus Ipomopsis is distributed almost entirely in western North America. One species, Ipomopsis rubra, is found throughout most of the eastern USA and another single species is native to southern South America, Ipomopsis gossypifera. This latter disjunct species is considered to be “a particularly obvious case of amphitropical dispersal from North America to South America” by Porter et al., 2009, Phylogenetic Systematics of Ipomopsis (Polemoniaceae): Relationships and Divergence Times Estimated from Chloroplast and Nuclear DNA sequences (PDF). In other words, a long-distance dispersal occurred from North America to South America. This likely occurred via the sticky mucilaginous coating surrounding the seeds being attached to a bird during migration. Ipomopsis gossypifera‘s nearest relative is Ipomopsis pumila.

Ipomopsis aggregata

10 responses to “Ipomopsis aggregata”

  1. Mary Butterfield

    Beautiful – brings back memories of many sightings in the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho – especially along the highway to Galena Pass. The colour is perfection.

  2. Tom Wheeler

    Thanks! One of my favourite flowers. Nothing like the sight of it in flower in summer-dried grass. I have seen a population of scarlet,orange,pink & white individuals beyond Anarchist Mtn. in the Bridesville area. I also have seenyears ago, on the Old Princeton-Hedley Road, a scarlet skyrocket with a congested inflorescence-possibly fasciated. Thanks to Alana Mascali, an employee of UBC Botanical Garden a long time ago, I have a slide of this plant.

  3. Quin

    also along mid-to-late season dry country roads throughout the mid elevation Sierras and Cascades, colonizing in drifts and nodding in the dusty breezes in the yellow pine forests – ahh, the pleasant surprise of it. ‘skunkiness’ seems to run in members of this family…….

  4. Cyndy Henderson

    It’s so amazing how this bloom resembles the Fuchsia Triphylla – Gartenmeister !!

  5. Geoff

    Beautiful photo. Those colours are magnificent. Thanks!

  6. MsWinterfinch

    Thanks! This photo has inspired me for next year’s wild flower “river” garden!

  7. linda miller

    The red is so vibrant. Great composition.

  8. Mary Ann, in Toronto

    Beautiful photo. Lovely background, too — the blurred patches of colour and impression of motion, behind the stillness of the flower.

  9. Troy Mullens

    Beautiful photo and great colors.
    We see Ipomopsis aggregata ssp. formosissima here in Texas. it’s a favorite.
    Thanks for sharing this photo.
    Troy and Martha

  10. Tracey

    Saw these flowers along the roadside while our bus was bumping its way up the Costa Rican mountainside. Very striking and beautiful scarlet orange flowers that begged for a closer look!

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