The Amen of nature is always a flower.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. -
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. -
Check this page on a regular basis to see what's new and in bloom in Lambert Park for 2020!
31 August 2020
Summer is not over, and there are still new surprises in Lambert Park! The Redroot Buckwheat is starting to bloom! This beautiful plant starts out as spindly sage-green stems that finally burst into flower, starting white, and then turning a soft pink! This unique late bloomer is native to Utah, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico. Its roots were used to treat poisoning and diarrhea by the Navajo. It is also is a food plant for the Spalding Dotted-Blue butterfly as well as the Desert Green or Comstock's Hairstreak butterfly.
The Russian Olive is past its flowering stage. There is a pretty specimen in Lambert Park on the road paralleling High Bench Trail. It spreads so easily in our climate that its planting has been discouraged. The fruit (not a real olive) is edible, but not particularly tasty!
24 August 2020
Rabbit Brush is also known as gray rabbitbrush, or chamisa. This perennial shrub is a member of the Aster family along with sagebrush. Flowers bloom from August to October as other plants are fading, providing vivid color and a pollen source for insects late in the summer. If you travel to central and southern Utah many fields are ablaze with color! The shrubs reproduce via an abundance of small, wind-dispersed seeds and can also sprout from the base. Native Americans reportedly used Rabbit Brush as a yellow dye, to make a medicinal tea, and for chewing gum.
The Russian Thistle is an invader brought to the United States about 1873 by Ukrainian immigrants to South Dakota. It was accidentally introduced as a contaminant in flax seeds and quickly spread throughout the west. Although it is generally not beneficial to livestock, it was credited for saving cattle during the Great Depression. It is the inspiration behind the great cowboy song, Tumbling Tumbleweeds, which you can hear by clicking this link!
3 August 2020
Native to northern Europe; Common Burdock is one of nature’s original “velcros.” Its burs cling readily to fur and clothing and are difficult to remove. After the flower head dries, the hooked bracts will attach to humans and animals in order to transport the entire seedhead.
The Wild Carrot is in bloom! Don't think about eating it, however, as the root is woody and bitter. One of its other common names is Queen Anne's Lace. This pretty import from Eurasia has been considered beneficial when grown next to other crops, and has also been classified as a noxious weed in some states. In either case, it is very similar to the deadly hemlock parsley, so it's just as well to avoid eating it!
The Western Ragweed is flowering and will soon release billions of pollen spores into the air, peaking around Labor Day. This is one of the major banes of 10 to 20 percent of the population that sufferers from allergies. This plant is native to North America, and we in turn have shared it with the rest of the world! It is now naturalized in parts of Europe, Asia, Australia, and South America.
Fern-Leaf Yarrow has a good reputation as an anti-inflammatory and antiseptic and is widely used in herbal medicine. This perennial wild edible tastes bitter. Legend has it that Yarrow was named after Achilles, the Greek mythical figure who used it to stop the bleeding wounds of his soldiers.
24 July 2020
Hoary Tansyaster is common and broadly distributed throughout western North America, ranging from southern British Columbia south to Baja California and east to western North Dakota, western Texas, and Chihuahua, Mexico. It grows in a wide variety of community types throughout the western US and is most common in open, dry habitats. Plants are found in semi-arid grasslands, shrublands, woodlands, and pine forests and are common in gravelly or sandy soils along streams and in washes.
The Zuni would rub the plant on their abdomens to be used as an emetic (something to cause vomiting).
Hairy Golden Aster thrives in the foothills and mountains, as well as vacant lots, farmyards and along roadsides. It also thrives in Lambert Park! It needs little water and can bloom for three or four months! To add to its allure, it also has a marvelous spicy-sharp aroma!
The Canada Goldenrod is much taller than its cousin, Velvety Goldenrod, and is thriving along a bridge on the lower part of Rodeo Up trail.
11 July 2020
White Sweet Clover is very similar in appearance to Yellow Sweet Clover. As a matter of fact, some authorities regard them as the same species with differently colored flowers. Others consider White Sweet Clover a separate species. White Sweet Clover has a tendency to bloom about 2-4 weeks later than Yellow Sweet Clover, and its foliage is more greyish green, rather than plain green.
It's Chicory time! The roadsides are lined with this beautiful blue bloom, and the park has a large number of chicory growing in it, as well! It is a European native plant that is welcome here, and is even used for forage for livestock!
The Common Sunflower originated in North American and was taken back to Europe by early explorers. In addition to it's colorful beauty, it was prized for its oil as well as its seeds!
The Tree of Heaven is so fast growing and invasive that some people prefer to call it a "tree of hell." It has been planted in the United States as an ornamental from China. It grows to 50 feet tall and sends suckers out all around it. Our poppies at Lambert Ruin are surrounded by these trees. The foundation of the ruin is also now filling up with them. It would be a good service project to clean out the trees inside the homestead! Break the leaves in half and take a scent of this foul-smelling tree!
7 July 2020
Just when you think it is too hot and dry for flowers in the park, new drought tolerant flowers start popping up! The Prairie Coneflower looks somewhat like a sombrero and is also called Messianic hat! It is a native to North America that does well despite our often dry conditions!
Another beautiful bloom is the Showy Goldeneye! This colorful plant in the sunflower family will bloom for many weeks. It tends to grow in thick clusters and provides eye-popping color along roadsides and in Lambert Park, as well!
If you go up to the top of Spring trail, you'll be treated to the Yellow Monkeyflower in bloom right in the middle of the Stream. These flowers are native to western North America and are generally found along or in stream beds! We are fortunate to have a few monkey flowers along Grove Creek, and for those who don't mind a steeper hike, a number of them are at the diversion in Box Elder Canyon!
Prickly Lettuce is a native of Eurasia that has been naturalized around the world. It is a close relative of garden lettuce and can be eaten, despite the fact that it is somewhat bitter (and prickly). It has been used medicinally over the years, including as a sedative!
3 July 2020
Wand Mullein is a cousin of Common Mullein, but doesn't look as much like a fire poker! It is long and tall with a few blooms at the top. Like its relative, it has a beautiful yellow flower at the top. It is not nearly as plentiful in Lambert Park as its common cousin, but is found specifically at the top of the Rodeo path and around the perimeter of the arena.
Is there anything more beautiful than an amber wave of grain? When it looks like classic wheat in Lambert Park, it is probably Rye, which is very similar! When you catch it in the morning with the light reflecting on the field it is especially spectacular!
19 June 2020
Alfalfa came from southwestern Asia around 1736. It is a popular feed for livestock as well as wildlife. It is very nutritious, having more protein per acre than most other crops! It also provides important coverage for nesting waterfowls and other birds!
Musk Thistle is one of the most beautiful noxious weeds in the state! It is also called Nodding Thistle for the flower head that tends to nod to one side. This Eurasian invader grows well in disturbed areas and can supplant native species.
The Velvety Goldenrod is a bright splash of color found on the top of Spring trail, as well as "Dog" Trails and other areas.
The Common Mullein draws attention to itself with it's tall spike of yellow flowers. This invader from Europe and Asia has many medicinal purposes, including a tea made that helps with incontinence. It's large fuzzy leaves can also serve as nature's toilet paper for campers who are caught unprepared!
The Russian Olive is just past its flowering stage. It spreads so easily in our climate that its planting has been discouraged. The fruit (not a real olive) is edible, but not particularly tasty!
10 June 2020
The Elderberry Tree seems out of sync with its blooming neighbors, flowering an entire month later than the other fruit trees in Lambert Park! The distinctive spreading white-yellow blooms appear almost flat on top! Its fruit can be made into wine, syrup, jams and pies, but some people enjoy dipping a bunch of the flowers (held by the stem) into some batter and deep fat frying them! As with so many of these fruits, it is best not to eat the seeds!
In New Mexico and Colorado Yarrow is known as plumajillo (Spanish for little feather). The leaves are soft and feather, with tiny leaves on them. The plant has been used medicinally to stanch bleeding which use gave it an additional name: herbal militaris. Whatever it's name, this plant with showy white flowers is a real addition to our landscape in Lambert Park!
In early summer the prolific six inch circles of grass in Lambert Park don't show much promise, but the Rock Goldenrod is now starting to bloom, portending a another profusion of yellow color across the park! This North American native has the scientific name of Petradoria Pumila! Petra from 'rock' and doria from 'gold.'
Showy Milkweed is just that--showy! It's blooms don't last long, but are beautifully star-shaped and eye-catching! It is a native plant with thick stems, which the Native Americans used in basketry and rope. It is toxic to humans and livestock, but not to Monarch butterflies, who especially love it's nectar and protection. The nectar makes the butterflies taste bad to other animals, and the plant provides a host for butterfly eggs and larva.
Silvery Lupine is one of the most common lupines in the Wasatch. It can be toxic to plants and animals if eaten. What it lacks in ingest-ability it makes up in beauty! It was named after the wolf (lupinus in Latin), as it was erroneously thought to degrade the soil.
1 June 2020
Unlike the poppies at Lambert Ruin, the California Poppy is a native of North America, specifically the Pacific Slopes. It is the state flower of California and was called Copa de Oro by the Spanish settlers, as its beautiful golden-orange color looks like a cup of gold! They are hard to find in and around Lambert Park today, but there are a few growing just east of the Box Elder water tanks.
Firecracker Penstemon is one of the outstandingly beautiful wildflowers of Utah. The bright scarlet flowers occur in profusion, with individual plants bearing up to thirty flowering stalks. Though specimen plants can be very showy, massed plantings are most effective. Hummingbirds will stake territories over these firecracker patches and risk all to defend their prime nectar source. The plants flower synchronously, but bloom time is long, up to six weeks, as flowers further up the stalk continue to open.
There are so many kinds of peas in Lambert Park! Utah Sweetvetch is about a foot tall and very showy right now. While not technically in Lambert park, it is found on the southern part of Corkscrew trail! Unlike many forms of vetch, this one is palatable to livestock and wild animals, forming an important part of the sage grouse habitat!
Western Hawksbeard , is another member of the sunflower family that is also native to the United States. It's leaves are slightly and toothed. and it's bright yellow rays are a splash of sunshine in the prairie!
Spreading Dogbane is a beautiful little pink bell-shaped flower on woody stems, surrounded by lush, large leaves. If you break open a stem, a milk-white sap is released. It is toxic to humans as well as livestock and dogs! Thus, the name!
The Dog Rose, a native of Europe is found along roadsides in the United States. It was planted widely in victory gardens here after World War II. The fruit is noted for its high level of vitamin C, and is used to make syrup, tea, and marmalade.
Utah Thistle, a variation of New Mexican Thistle, is a beautiful thistle, but this native plant is considered to be non non-weedy! Like many thistles, it is very attractive to bees and other insects. The make a great spot to observe tiny creatures around us!
Curlycup Gumweed is a native plant that is easy to identify for the stickiness of the upper portion of the plant, as well as the curly bracts below the flower head. It has been used in traditional applications, such as treatment for poison ivy and bronchial asthsma.
28 May 2020
Our state flower is in bloom, but won't last long. See the Sego Lilies along the southern part of Poppy Trail in Lambert Park! It was chosen as the state flower not just for its beauty, but because of the bulb being used by indigenous people as well as pioneers as a food source.
This Tamarisk Tree, could be the beginning of an invasion in Lambert Park if not removed! The Tamarisk comes from Europe or the eastern Mediterranean, and has adapted so well to our western landscape, that it has displaced native species. It is a fire hazard and consumes more water along creek beds than native species. This infant tree along Spring Trail is in bloom now with tiny white/yellow flowers.
26 May 2020
Houndstongue is an accidental import from Europe that is considered an invasive weed in Utah. Despite its traditional use to cure just about everything from madness to baldness, it has fallen out of favor, perhaps due to inconclusive medicinal use of any kind. In addition, it forms a bur-like fruit that is really hard to get out of your dog's fur in should they run through a patch of it in the fall!
The Yellow Roses are in bloom alongside the Lambert Ruin! Another ornamental flourishing in the park, the yellow roses of Lambert Ruin may have been planted by the Lamberts themselves!
The Tapertip Onion are two of the many varieties of western onions, all of which are edible, though some are extremely potent and unpalatable (the other being the Twincrest Onion).
The Narrowleaf Willow had many uses for Native Americans; the branches were used as flexible poles and building materials, the smaller twigs were used to make baskets, the bark was made into cord and string, and the bark and leaves had several medicinal uses. The Zuni people take an infusion of the bark for coughs and sore throats.
19 May 2020
Blue flax, is a native to western North America, and adds a brilliant shade of blue to our meadows! When roasted, flax seeds have a pleasant nutty taste, and are very nutritious. However, the raw seeds contain cyanide which is destroyed during the cooking process. It is also used medicinally and has an oil similar to linseed oil!
Sweet Yellow Clover, although a Eurasian import, has found a place in our landscape. Livestock can tolerate it, and bees love it! Clover honey from nearby hives is a light colored, mild flavored honey purported to be rich in zinc, copper, magnesium, potassium, and manganese, as well as high levels of B vitamins, vitamin C, polyphenolic antioxidants, hydrogen peroxide, and calcium. It sounds like the perfect cure for whatever ails you!
Dalmatian Toadflax, a flower introduced from Europe as an ornamental has become an aggressive invasive weed in the west. It comes from the Dalmatia region of Croatia (just like the dogs)! It is all over Lambert Park, and looks so pretty when it is in bloom!
Bindweed, is not even remotely related to the morning glory, despite the fact that many of us know it by that name. It is a native of Europe, and grows vine-like over ground and vegetation, making it hard to eradicate. It's success has been the bane of many a gardener, trying to eradicate it from their yard!
One of our rare orange flowers is in bloom--the Scarlet Globemallow, which in other regions tends to actually be red! The Blackfeet Indians applied a paste made from this plant to burns, scalds and external sores as a soothing agents.
15 May 2020
The Common Poppies are starting to bloom at the Lambert Ruin! Despite it's name, there is nothing "common" about this flower! It's robust showiness is in stark contrast to the subtlety of the native flowers in the park. The poppy has been a symbol of remembrance of military veterans since the 1915 publishing of the poem describing the beautiful contrast of the poppies growing on the military battlefield in Flanders Fields.
Yellow Salsify or Goatsbeard is the queen of the dandelion family, with it's green crown-like spikes around the bloom. It is often called goat's beard after it's beautiful large seed head, twice the size of the dandelion! You can make a lot of wishes on it when you blow it apart!
The Spreading Fleabane is another plant that was used medicinally by Native Americans. The Navajo used it to aid in childbirth, as lotion, for eyewash, and also snakebite and headache! If you walk at 7am in the morning you will think it is a closed purple flower. But, by 9am it is wide open and white with a yellow center!
The Red-Twig or Western Dogwood grows especially well along river banks, as it does right here in Lambert Park at Grove Spring. While the red twigs add color to the landscape, the clusters of white flowers and white berries also add beauty to the landscape, as well as food for wildlife!
Small Leaf Pussytoes have tightly packed flower heads resembling the paws of a cat. They are also just as soft!
11 May 2020
Wild Onions right here in Lambert Park! The Twincrest Onion is one of the many varieties of western onions, all of which are edible, though some are extremely potent and unpalatable. In the early days of the West, Indians saved at least one exploration party from scurvy by alerting the ill explorers to the curative properties of the wild onion! The Twincrest Onion is a favorite treat for black bears, elk and prairie dogs!
Sticky Geranium can be found along the northern part of High Bench trail. This native of the Northwestern United States got its name because its stem, leaves and flower stalks are covered with sticky hairs.
Count the petals on the flowers of the Tumble Mustard. If it has four, you might suspect its a mustard! There is also a similar-looking purple mustard in the park. In the winter the remains of the mustard turn into tumbleweeds!
7 May 2020
It is exciting to find a Tufted Evening Primrose in bloom, as each blossom only lasts one day! The white flower turns pink as it dies. This pretty white flower with four heart-shaped leaves is supposed to only blossom in late afternoon or evening, as it is pollinated by night-flying insects, but we found this one in the morning.
Whitetop is classified as an invasive weed in Utah. It came over from Asia and easily crowded out beneficial, native species that provide habitat for animals. It grows especially well under cheat grass in burn areas!
5 May 2020
Blue Scorpion Grass or Strict Forget-Me-Not can be found throughout the northern United States and southern Canada. It is also the state flower of Alaska! It is just a bit ironic that such a big state has such a tiny state flower!
Danger, Danger! The native Death Camas is in bloom! Don't even think about eating a plant with the word 'death' in its name! Every part of the plant, from the bulbs to the stems, to the leaves and flowers is poisonous to humans as well as livestock! Just look at it and enjoy!
The Siberian Elm still has the distinctive papery translucent fruits that bloom in early spring. The papery fruits called 'samaras' are reportedly not only edible, but delicious!
False Solomon's Seal is sometimes called Solomon's Plume. It is distinguished by tiny white flowers with gigantic leaves out of proportion to the blooms!
Spotted Stickseed is also known as the Spotted Forget-Me-Not (another forget-me-not!). It is native to the northwestern part of the United States, but has been introduced elsewhere in the country.
Meadow Salsify and its related flowers sometimes are called Jack-Go-To-Bed-At-Noon because they follow the sun in the morning and close up their flowers in the afternoon. They are a native of Europe but can now be found over much of the United States.
The Chokecherry Trees are plentiful along High Bench and Rodeo Down Trails. The fruit will become edible, but is very tart! The seeds are poisonous, so spit them out if you eat the berries. Birds love them, and so might you! The berries turn red, then black, and are sweetest later in the season!
There is a stand of St. Lucie Cherries growing just west (downhill) of the south water tower in Lambert Park. They are also known as Rock or Mahleb Cherries. They are ornamental natives from Europe, Asia and Africa that are cultivated for a spice obtained from the cherry pits. Birds especially love the fruit and are big seed dispersers!
The Black Hawthorn is plentiful along Rodeo Down, Spring, and the west side of High Bench trails. Beware of the "thorn." It is 1 1/2 inches long and very sharp! The berries (called haws) are not ripe yet, but when ripe they are edible! The seeds contain cyanide (like apple seeds), so it is best to spit them out!
29 April 2020
Corn Gromwell, a soft and delicate little white flower has nothing to do with corn, but has recently graduated from invasive weed to a plant with healthy possibilities. Farmers in its native Scotland are growing it for its high concentration of omega 3-fatty acids! It does better than fish oils in this regard! A real boon for vegans around the world!
There are various apple tress that are not native to the park starting to bloom. remnants of Alpine's past.
Gambel Oak or Scrub Oak is widespread at low elevations (4,000 to 8,000 feet) throughout central and southern Utah. It is a predominate tree on dry foothills and canyon walls Gambel oak has strong vegetative reproduction capabilities. In most of its range, gambel oak regeneration depends more on sprouting than establishment from seed. The acorns of Gambel oak are edible after the tannic acid is removed (be careful!). American Indians used acorns to thicken soup and make mush.
The open spaces in and around Alpine not only have junipers and firs, but also a number of curl-leaf Mountain Mahogany trees. These trees are highly drought tolerant and grow in harsh, rocky, dry soils. They are very slow-growing, but can be as old as 1,350 years. The wood is so dense that it requires a microscope to count the rings in the trunk. The wood is not suitable for lumber, but burns for a very long time because of the density. Native Americans used the crushed up dried or slightly burned bark as a dressing for burns.
The poor Box Elder tree! Despite being natives of North America, they are almost considered invasive and are frequently called “trash trees!” They grow fast, but are short lived, rarely reaching 100 years of age! They have a soft wood that splits easily in wind and snow. Often they grow from multiple trunks, looking more like a large shrub than a tree!
April 28, 2020
The Desert Indian Paintbrush is a deceptive plant. It's leafy red bracts are not the flowers, but rather they surround a greenish white flower at the very tip. They are very pretty parasites! The roots drill into the roots of surrounding plants, stealing their resources!
The Golden Currant Bush is in it's glory! It's bright yellow flowers will later give way to golden, then orange, then red, very tasty berries!
Its scalloped leaves change to deep maroon in the fall.
Our purple plant of the day is Browse Milkvetch! While it is not good browse for cattle, this pretty plant provides a beautiful carpet of purple for hikers to enjoy!
The Common Pear is a small to medium sized tree with a broad crown, a straight trunk and arching branches. Its leaves are oval with a pointed tip and fine teeth along their edges. Its flowers have five white petals and purple anthers. They are borne in clusters that open with the leaves in early spring.
The fruits are pears with a classic pear shape, widest toward the tip and narrow toward the stalk. Obviously not native to the park - a remnant of an orchard. Let's see how its fruit matures as the season progresses!
The lemonade trees are starting to bud out! Aromatic Sumac is the most common shrub in Lambert Park. The seeds have a lemony flavor that some hikers like to add to their water bottles. The seeds will turn deep red in summer, but for now, enjoy them in their yellow finery.
April 22, 2020
Western Stoneseed is native to the Canada and the western United States. The Navajo, Dakota and Shoshone tribes used tea made from the roots of this flower as a method of birth control.
Lambstongue Groundsel or Ragwort was used by settlers and ranchers to determine range “readiness.” When it was in flower, the range was believed to be sufficiently developed for grazing to begin.
Oregon Grape originated in the northwest and is the state flower of Oregon. We're glad it made all the way to Utah, as it's waxy holly-shaped leaves, and bright yellow flowers add a lushness to our landscape. Find it on Spring and Rodeo Up paths in Lambert Park.
The Bush Pea is a beautiful purple flower, but don't let your livestock eat it! Many members of the Lathyrus family are toxic to animals, especially horses!
April 20, 2020
It has been a dry, cold spring and the blooms are a little late this year. Here are some of the new arrivals. Long-leaf phlox is native to central and western America. It does well in dry, sandy soils. It's hard to classify by color, as it varies from white to pink to purple.
Arrowleaf Balsamroot is a hearty plant that was used by native American tribes for food and medicine. It is bitter and pine-tasting. Today we can enjoy it chiefly for it's vibrant spring colors!
Curveseed butterwort is an invader from Eurasia. Like other members of the buttercup family, it is poisonous. In addition to a pretty star-shaped flower, it grows clusters of hard, spine fruits (burs).
And, of course, our annual favorite, the dandelion, is starting to bloom again in the park (and also probably in your yard). A native of Eurasia, the dandelion has been in North American since the early 17th century when the colonists brought it over for medicine and food.
April 8, 2020
The Redstem Filaree, also called Stork's Bill is originally from the Mediterranean, but was already widely distributed in the west when it was observed by John C. Fremont in 1844. Although it can be an aggressive invader of open areas, it can also serve as good spring forage for cattle, sheep, desert tortoise, and other wildlife.
We'd rather not celebrate the blooming of the dreaded Myrtle Spurge, as it is one plant we would like to completely eradicate from Lambert Park! This succulent, brought over as an ornamental plant from Southeastern Europe and Asia Minor, is extremely drought resistant and thrives in the west. It pushes out native plants and its milky sap is a dangerous irritant to human skin and eyes! Purge it from your yards, but use gloves and plastic bags!
April 6, 2020
Things are starting to bloom in Lambert Park - albeit slowly.
The Glacier Lily, or Yellow Avalanche Lily is a delicate, but hearty spring flower. It often blooms in the snow. The bulbs of the glacier lily are a preferred food for bears. The mule deer also like the folliage. There is a lovely patch of glacier lilies at the intersection of the Rodeo Up and Spring trails.
Utah Milkvetch, a native Utah plant, is also found in portions of Idaho and Nevada. It is also called Ladyslipper and Locoweed, the later for its propensity to be harmful to livestock. Some species contain significant amounts of alkaloids and/or toxic metals like selenium. Don't eat it!
April 2, 2020
Spring is starting - even with the cold start. The Shortstyle Bluebell is a wonderful bright blue flower unique to the western states, specifically Utah,but also parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Nevada. You can find it on Rodeo Up, Spring, and the northern end of High Bench trails. Special thanks to Ethan Lynch for this beautiful photo.