June 12, 2017

Plant Life Near the Grand Canyon

overlook

Who visits the Grand Canyon and notices the plants?

Ahem...guilty!

Last summer, we took a road trip out west for a family reunion, and stopped at notable landmarks along the way. When we were waiting to meet up with cousins to view the Grand Canyon, I photographed a few of the plants outside the visitor center.

Honestly, I find native plant life fascinating wherever I go. (I'm assuming most gardeners, naturalists, and plant enthusiasts do?) Many of the plants were marked with informative markers, which was helpful.

pink cloud
Fallugia paradoxa

My favorite plant of the lot was Apache Plume (Fallugia paradoxa), which I posted about back in July 2016. Others included:

wax currant
Ribes cereum

Wax Currant (Ribes cereum), with tiny maple-shaped leaves and red berries, traditionally used in jams, jellies, and pemmican.

white fir
Abies concolor

White Fir (Abies concolor), a large, lovely specimen with flat, curved needles and upright 3-5 inch cones.

yarrow
Achillea millefolium

Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), caged and apparently delicious to the local wildlife.

cactus squirrel

Speaking of wildlife, a very brave squirrel put life and limb in danger to gnaw on a patch of cacti.

cactus
Opuntia polyacantha

No denying: It did look delicious.

utah juniper
Juniperus osteosperma

Utah Juniper (Juniperus osteosperma), with edible berries, bark for bedding, and wood for fuel and building.

golden rabbitbrush
Chrysothamnus nauseosa

Golden Rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus nauseosa), traditionally used for woven baskets.

pinion pine
Pinus edulis

The stately Pinyon Pine (Pinus edulis), a great source of wood for building materials and fires, nuts for eating, and sap for waterproofed baskets.

Several other plants weren't marked, so please correct me if I've misidentified them:

utah agave

Utah Agave (Agave utahensis)

camphorweed

Camphorweed (Heterotheca subaxillaris)

artemesia

Sand Sagebrush (Artemisia filifolia)

banana yucca

Banana Yucca (Yucca baccata)

The scenery at the Grand Canyon was, of course, amazing. Apparently, a previous visitor lost his/her hat over it...

ooops

See the hat on the ledge?

I could describe the geology that created the Grand Canyon, itself, but I'll leave that to the National Park Service. Here are a few parting views out over the canyon...

grand canyon 1

grand canyon 2

grand canyon 3

grand canyon 4

grand canyon 5

47 comments:

  1. Isn't the Grand Canyon marvelous?! I just love that place and all the plants around it. Birds too. Did you get to see the Condors? I am not surprised to see someones hat on a ledge. The wind can come up quite surprisingly. I enjoyed stopping at the rest stops around the canyon because there always seemed to be a new plant or two. Some in bloom. This post brought back some fond memories of our trip.

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    1. Yes! Every bit as spectacular as expected, and then some. It's hard to fathom the distances and the heights. I felt like I was looking at a huge painting--it didn't seem real. I thought I had been to the Grand Canyon as a kid, but my parents said it was Bryce Canyon, so this was my first time. We did see condors and other birds, too.

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  2. Thanks, Beth, great to find this post this morning! Helps with my withdrawal symptoms. I'm having a hard time settling in to home life after my long road trip :-(

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    1. You are welcome! Glad you're back home safely. I know how those adjustment periods can be. Sometimes I'm so happy to be home; other times I long to be back on the trip.

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  3. Oh my, the Grand Canyon always takes my breath away in pictures although I've never been there in person. Thanks for sharing the interesting plant life. Who knew that stinky yarrow would be found to be delicious by wildlife?

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    1. It actually seemed like a giant picture to me when I was there. It's hard to describe, but it's unbelievable that it's real when it stretches out in front of you. Yes, I was just guessing about the protections of the Yarrow against wildlife, but I can't imagine another reason why they would cage it.

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  4. Brings back lots of memories for me too. Can't believe the guts of that squirrel!

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    1. I know! That squirrel was crazy! I got a series of photos, but this is the only one that really shows the little guy's acrobatics. We watched him/her for a few minutes--in awe of his skill!

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  5. Is there a more amazing place on earth?? I love Junipers....they must have old souls.....

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    1. Oh yes, I agree about the Junipers. The Grand Canyon area is pretty special--for so many reasons!

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  6. Wow! You got some great photos. I've only been once, it looks just the way I remember it. Must have been a great trip.

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    1. Thanks, Marian! Yes, it was a great trip, thanks. We saw so many amazing things along the way. The only problem is that it all happened too fast, and yet I missed my own garden while I was gone. ;-)

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  7. Absolutely fantastic. Squirrels. Who'd a thought it. On the other hand..

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    1. Thanks--yes, it was a fun trip. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that squirrel contorting itself to eat the cactus flower and fruit.

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  8. Excellent photos Beth . . .
    Certainly an exceptional beauty, the Grand Canyon
    its terrain, plantings, colors, markings, structure . . .
    Reminds me . . . it deserves another visit from me . . ,

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    1. Thank you, Lynne. Yes, it's a one-of-a-kind place. I wouldn't mind traveling back there, myself...

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  9. Although my son and his family live in Arizona, I've not yet visited the Grand Canyon, Beth. But when I do, I know I will be taking plant pictures. Well, I AM a gardener. Lovely photos. P. x

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    1. Indeed! The plants capture our attention first. ;-) Thanks, Pam. I hope you have a chance to see the Grand Canyon soon.

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  10. Guilty as charged as well - I notice nothing but plants, even when something far more spectacular is staring me in the face. I'd make a terrible witness... Great photos as always.

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    1. Thank you, Sarah. It's good to know others have a similar fixation with plants--no matter where we roam. ;-)

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  11. Hi Beth, Grand Canyon has always been posted by a lot of people, and still is one of my dream place to see. I've seen lots of pictures but everytime i see one, it seems like it is always the first time. And certainly you showed a different drama of the rocks, even complemented by the life surrounding it. I even wonder why the hat seemed to be plastered there, good placement by the wind.

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    1. Yes, the Grand Canyon is worth seeing if you have the chance. The formations are stunning. I think it would be neat to see it in the morning or late day, when the light hits from oblique angles. Seeing the hat was fun. Poor guy who lost it!

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  12. What a great post! I also notice plants everywhere I go. Birds of Paradise on the Costa del Sol in Spain, Freesia and chamomile in the Greek Isles on my honeymoon, wild fennel along the roadside in northern California! I've never been to the Grand Canyon; your pictures are stunning and make me want to go! Thanks for sharing them. I had to laugh at the caged in Yarrow--I've had trouble with creatures eating it here, too! Haha!

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    1. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one! ;-) Thanks for your kind comments--the scenery was amazing ... and so were the plants! I haven't tried to grow Yarrow, but after seeing the caging, I'm thinking a garden full of rabbits isn't the best place for it. ;-)

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  13. Beautiful place! And thank you for sharing!

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    1. Yes, it's amazing, and you're welcome. It's definitely worth a visit if you're ever traveling nearby.

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  14. That's so neat to see and notice the plants there. I am always fascinated by plants. There was only one that I recognized and it was the yarrow. That squirrel! Wow! It was very agile and determined!

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    1. Hi Tina: Yes, the plants and the views were both incredible. We were in awe of the squirrel's acrobatics. I'm thinking he'd had loads of practice over the years, but still!

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  15. Great photos.

    Those plants are pretty (though many are pokey too) :P

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    1. Thanks, Aaron. Yes, plants in these conditions have to be pretty tough, don't they? Plant adaptations are fascinating.

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  16. Great shots of lovely southwestern plants. Apache plume always melts me--it's a plant I haven't grown, but do see here in Austin. Gorgeous panoramic shots of a magnificent hole in the ground! Btw, I always notice plants wherever I travel too. Plant geeks rule!

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    1. Ha! I agree: Plant geeks rule! Oh gosh, I'm with you regarding Apache Plume. I wasn't familiar with it until we took this trip. I may have seen it in the past, but the timing was different or I was distracted. But this time it really caught my interest. Thanks for your kind words. :)

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  17. How gorgeous! It's one place I would like to go visit sometime! It's funny, I did the same thing when we went outside of Las Vegas to visit some of the rock formations. I was all about the plants! It's amazing how much plant life one can find in deserts.

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    1. Hi Indie: Yes, you must visit the Grand Canyon and the "four corners" area if you have a chance. Fascinating history and incredible scenery everywhere you look. Monument Valley is out of this world! And, yes, the plants!

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  18. You know, I have never been to the Grand Canyon. Seems like something every American should do. Like you I really like the Apache Plume, at first I thought it was Prairie Smoke.

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    1. I couldn't have said it better--it's something every American should see if they have a chance. Re: Apache Plume, I thought of Prairie Smoke right away, too. They're both in the Rose family. Very similar seed heads, obviously, although the flowers are very different. It's one of those tactile plants--because the seed heads are very soft and fluffy.

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  19. Spectacular! It's been years since I've been to the Grand Canyon, it's on my bucket list to take the youngest kiddos there. Love that you included all the uses for their native plants. I love how they are used by wildlife and humans alike. Your shot of the squirrel on the cacti is a great capture. I had no idea they would go for that plant! We have a native cacti, prickly pear, in Georgia which I've been wanted to plant in our garden and now I wonder if the squirrels will eat it too.

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    1. It's a wonderful place. I thought I had been there as a kid, but Mom said we'd been to Bryce Canyon. So, I'm glad the hubby and I were able to see it together. It would be a great trip for a family, too. The squirrel was brave or stupid or just plain hungry. ;-) We have two native species of Prickly Pear cacti, too. I think Opuntia humifusa is native to most of the eastern U.S., and O. fragilis to most of the west. They cross paths here in the upper Midwest. I don't have a very good spot for them in the garden, but they're fun to find in the wild. :)

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  20. The photo of the squirrel in the cactus is priceless! I knew they were little daredevils, but this guy really fits the description. We visited the Grand Canyon several years ago when my daughter still lived in Arizona. One of the most awe-inspiring vistas I've ever seen!

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    1. Thanks, Rose. I tried to get more shots of him from different angles, but this is the only one that worked out. The Grand Canyon seemed like a painting sprawled out in front of me--it didn't seem real. I remember one time when we were flying over it, the light was oblique and the ribbons of color were incredible. The pilot announced it, and then dipped the wings on one side and then the other so we could get a really good view. Seeing the Grand Canyon is a priceless experience...and then so are the plants. ;-)

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  21. I love the photo of the squirrel. I also like how you noticed the hat.
    I have the Grand Canyon on our to travel and explore list.

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    1. Thanks, Carla! It's always interesting what you discover in new places. The squirrel was fun--crazy little guy! And my imagination ran wild thinking about how the hat landed in that spot. The Grand Canyon would be a great destination for a family trip. :)

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  22. Wow. On my bucket list. How wonderful to be able to visit there. I enjoy learning about different native plants but I am not any where knowledgeable enough to identify them outside of my own yard... Michelle

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  23. My favorite place on earth....and no I never really looked that closely at the plant life details preferring the big picture....we hope to take my hubby there in fall for his first visit and a long overdue one for me....so I will certainly notice more plant life now!

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  24. Beautiful views I'd like to see myself...some day.

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  25. My parents when here to cerebrate there 25th wedding Av, you have noted some amazing plants...
    Amanda xx

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  26. sigh ... another one for the bucket list. I look at plants too wherever I go, but those rocky views are amazing!

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