Friday, August 9, 2013

The (Alien) Flowers of Rucker Canyon, Arizona

We went for a hike in Rucker Canyon today, which is about 3 hours southeast of Tucson.  It's in the Chiricahua mountains. 

My husband casually mentioned to me that it's a "sky island", as if I know what that is.  Longstoryshort, it's a mountain range that is surrounded by desert.  (I just read that to him to confirm, and he grunted, so I don't think that's what it is.  You'll have to look it up on your own.)

Anyway, we're in the middle of monsoon season so water was running through the creek and the landscape was lush and green. 
There were also a lot of small, very vibrant flowers all over the place. 
I've written a little about my flower obsession before, in my blog entitled: Crepe Paper Flowers 
My husband is ridiculously knowledgeable about the plants in the Sonoran Desert and Southern Arizona, so we were both really surprised that he didn't know what kind of flowers these were. 
So, despite a day of hiking, cleaning, packing, driving, unpacking, and even doing some laundry, we decided to look them up!
That's right, you're reading about the lives of two really insane, flower-obsessed, party animals.   
But seriously, CHECK OUT THESE FLOWERS! They're insane! They look like alien-out-of-this-world flowers. 

(Captions are below each photo)
 This flower is called a Golden Columbine.  I've never seen anything like it before.  My husband had to check out some pretty hardcore databases just to find the name. 
Here's another angle.
They're like two-sided flowers!
From up above.
 A Red Columbine (related to the yellow flower, above)
This is the Yellow Columbine's less flamboyant, yet still very bold, cousin. 
They make me imagine pterodactyls diving. 

 Top view of the Red Columbine.
This angle makes me think of x-wing fighters from Star Wars. 
Red Columbine, view from below. 
Yes, that's me in the background.  Hi.  I tried to crop myself out, but my computer disagreed with me, and I'm the most impatient person in the world.  My husband says I look grumpy in this photo, but I can assure you, I was just concentrating. 

Also, shortly after I took this photo, I robbed a bank.
Look for me on TV!
 This is a Scarlet Cinquefoil. 
It's not as showy as the alien flowers, but they were such a lovely, deep, dark red, that I was constantly drawn to them.    
This is called a Prickly Poppy.
I got excited because I thought it had something to do with prickly pears (cactus fruit), but it turns out; their stems are prickly.
Oh. Okay, that makes sense too.   
We don't know what kind, specifically, but depending on the lighting, they also appeared to be a very light lavender. 

 A Wheeler's Thistle. Side view.
 Wheeler's Thistle. Top View.

This is called an Alpine False Springparsley
If you look closely, you can see a few gnats on this guy. 
This one took my husband over an hour to find. I tried to let him give up, but he said it was haunting him. It's called:
::drum roll please::
A Cardinal Catchfly 
Not bad for day's hike, right?  
There were maybe four more flowers that weren't included in this blog because of technical difficulties.  I may post them to my
Casa On And Off The Rez Facebook Page, if everyone doesn't get too tired of seeing more flowers. 

Seriously, I could post about them daily.

I'd like to thank my husband, Ryan for patiently looking up each and every flower for me.  He also identified poison ivy and (hopefully) helped me avoid it.  If that's not a catch, I don't know what is. 

Thanks for reading! 

1 comment:

  1. I can't decide which flower I like best. Thank you for sharing these pictures Gabby.