The Rybergia grandiflora, or Alpine Sunflower can be seen growing throughout the treeless Alpine Tundra Ecosystem. This is a great blooming year for these flowers, as it usually takes 15-20 years for the roots to gather enough energy to bloom. Come out and discover the unique ecosystem of the tundra at your Rocky Mountain National Park! - ch
photo taken by Ranger KP
The shades of blue of the Willdenow’s Spikemoss
Selaginella willdenowii (Selaginellales - Selaginellaceae) is a species of spikemoss. Although sometimes these plants are commonly called Peacock ferns, they are not true ferns but fern-like plants or fern-allies.
It is a scrambling terrestrial plant with blue-green fronds that exhibit amazing iridescence when young, appearing to change color from different shades of blue, green and purple, depending on the light and angle, and turn pink, red and purple when exposed over time to bright sunlight. The blue leaves gradually turn to green with age or exposure to more direct light.
Transmission electron microscopy studies confirm the presence of a layered lamellar structure of the upper cuticle of iridescent leaves as being responsible for the blue iridescence. A recent research on this topic do not support the idea that iridescence in plants acts to enhance light capture of photosynthetically important wavelengths, because the reflectance of light in the range 600–700 nm is very similar for both iridescent and non-iridescent leaves.
However, it has been hypothesized some other adaptive advantages that leaf iridescence may offer, such as a visual defense against herbivores, a mechanism to protect shade-adapted plants against sun-flecks and other potentially damaging sudden high light levels, and a polarization filter enhancing orientation of photosynthetic apparatus within the cell.
Native to Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, this species has now been naturalized in many countries after been introduced as a garden ornamental.
Photo credit: ©Driss & Marrionn | Locality: Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia
Sadleria cyatheoides (Polypodiales - Blechnaceae), better known as ʻAmaʻu, is a species of fern endemic to the Hawaiian Islands.
This plant can appear as a large, low-growing fern with a creeping rhizome or as a tree fern with an upright, trunk-like rhizome. The new leaves are a distinctive flame-like red to orange color.
The young leaves and the starchy core of the trunk (a traditional Hawaiian famine food) are edible if cooked. This species had many traditional uses among early Hawaiians
Photo credit: ©David Eickhoff
Family: Scrophulariaceae (Figwort)
Species: L. repens
Common Name: Pale Toadflax
Habitat: This plant usually grows in dry., bare, grassy places. It was found growing on waste rubble in a brick making facility.Nearby species included Linaria vulgaris and Sisymbrium officinale.
Collector: Ewan Cole
(Source: Pale Toadflax )