Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 07/01/2015

Photo taken on June 21, 2015

See also...


Waterton Lakes National Park
Indian Paintbrush
Happy Canada Day
southern Alberta
near Canada-US border
Genus: Castilleja
Crandell Lake Trail
21 June 2015
Family: Orobanchaceae
orange/red bracts
flower is tiny
C. miniata or C. hispida

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Brightening up the forest

Brightening up the forest
HAPPY CANADA DAY (1 July 2015) to all Canadians!

Just for my own record, this is my "main" photo for today, i.e. the last one uploaded.

A quick question:: is anyone else experiencing problems with Windows Live Mail? Yesterday evening and this morning, I have been trying to send a photo or two via Live Mail and the e-mails get stuck in my Outbox. I clear the Outbox and try again, but same thing happens. I have some important photos to send, so this is a real pain! Any help would be greatly appreciated!

I'm sure everyone loves to see Paintbrush when out on a hike or stroll. The colours vary so much, including almost white, pale pink, greenish, yellowish, salmon, orange and bright red. This plant seemed to glow in the sunlight and looked so pretty against the green of the forest. I say "plant" instead of flower, as the tiny, green parts that protrude are the actual flowers and the orange-red parts are the colourful bracts. Taken along the Crandell Lake Trail on 21 June 2015.

"Castilleja, commonly known as Indian paintbrush or prairie-fire, is a genus of about 200 species of annual and perennial herbaceous plants native to the west of the Americas from Alaska south to the Andes, northern Asia, and one species as far west as the Kola Peninsula in northwestern Russia. These plants are classified in the broomrape family, Orobanchaceae (following major rearrangements of the order Lamiales starting around 2001; sources which do not follow these reclassifications may place them in the Scrophulariaceae). They are hemiparasitic on the roots of grasses and forbs. The generic name honors Spanish botanist Domingo Castillejo." From Wikipedia.

I was so lucky to be invited to join friends Sandy and Heide on a three-day trip to Waterton Lakes National Park, from 19-21 (inclusive) June 2015. We met up with other members of the Alberta Native Plant Council for their annual Botany Alberta weekend. Most people who attended stayed at the Crooked Creek Campground, a 5.6 km drive east of the Waterton Park Gate on Highway 5, but my friends and I stayed at the Crandell Mountain Lodge on the edge of Waterton town. The ANPC people had a list of species that they hoped to find, and they were very successful.

Our stay down south overlapped the annual Waterton Wildflower Festival, but we came across very few people on our various drives and hikes. I was expecting everywhere to be packed. Needless to say, I was extremely fortunate to spend three days with people who are specialists and very knowledgeable about plants, and many other things. This meant that I got to see many wildflower species, including several that were new to me, such as the gorgeous Mariposa Lily. It was one of the flowers that was on my Wish List - and there were hundreds of them to be seen! I had also never seen the spectacular Bear Grass and I was so thrilled that there were still several plants in bloom. Absolutely made my day!

Our two main hikes of the weekend were the Bertha Lake Trail as far as the Bertha Falls (on 20 June), and the Crandell Lake Trail (on 21 June). Makes me smile when a described "short, easy hike" in a book or on the Internet turns into a full day of exploration along the trail, taking hours to reach the destination, though returning to the cars in a much shorter time. Our walks/hikes are very slow-paced with endless stops to look at/for plants and to take photos. This makes it possible for me to go along.

Crandell Lake from the Crandell Campground trailhead:
Return distance 4.0 km (2.4 miles), elevation gain 150 metres (492'), hiking time 1.5 hours (we took all day!).

Bertha Falls from the townsite trailhead:
Return distance 5.6 km (3.4 miles), elevation gain 150 metres (492'), hiking time 1.5 hours (again, we took all day). For me, this hike felt much further than it was!

The wind made photographing plants a real challenge, including the beautiful Mariposa Lilies in the meadow along the Hay Barn road. Trying to catch a quick shot when a flower is blowing in and out of the viewfinder is not easy! Unfortunately, I'm no longer able to get down and take macro shots (my lens needs to be about 4" away from the subject), so my photos have to be telemacro.

I've been trying to find an online list of plant species in Waterton Park, but have so far been out of luck. I do have the book, "Wildflowers of Waterton Park" by Jacinthe Lavoie and Ian Wilson, which has an Index of Plant names, but I was hoping to find a list that I could print out.

It's going to take me ages to type descriptions for the various photos I'll slowly be posting, and I will no doubt keep adding new bits and pieces over time. There is just so much information I want to add, but my descriptions are already way too long. Also, my photos of quite a few of the plants will be posted for the use of ANPC members and are, unfortunately, really poor images. Need them added to my Waterton Lakes album, so please bear with me : ) Luckily, you don't even need to look at them.