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Discussion in 'Plants and Biodiversity Stumpers' started by Joe Keller, Dec 31, 2005.
A Collinsia, but which one. Given the forum probably not one I know but will take a guess anyway. How about Collinsia rattanii ssp glandulosa or sticky blue-eyed mary. Great name. :) The collinsia (parviflora) along with draba verna are some of the first plants to bloom here near Spokane.
Well, that obviously was not much of a challenge for you Harry. I am only certain that it is Collinsia parviflora. As to which subspecies, you probably know better than I. I took the photo at about 2900 metres in the Kootenay Pass just south of Stagleap Park. The flowers are about 5mm in length and about 2mm wide. It is a very steep slope facing south in a heavy avalanche area. There is lots of water in the spring from snow melt and Bighorn sheep (http://kootenay-lake.ca/mammals/bighorn/) wander around browsing. On the day I took the photograph I picked up 12 woodticks . Other plants in the immediate vincinity include Dodecatheon pulchellum, Erythronium grandiflorum, Suksdorfia ranunculifolia, Draba sp., Cheilanthes gracillima, Woodsia alpina, and Cryptogramma acrostichoides. And since you are so astute at identification, perhaps you can help me further identify this Mertensia I photographed on the same day, same location. Thanks, Joe
Actually I thought it was Collinsia rattanii subspecies glandulosa. The reason I thought that was first because C. parviflora is common here, and being so didn't expect it to come up in the stumpers forum :), and second because of the glandular hairs on the inflorescence. As far as that goes, what I'm taking to be glandular hairs might be aphids or something similar(much too small for aphids or any insect I know of on second though, perhaps ice crystals forming on the hairs though) and then you might be right with C. parviflora. But I've never seen them infest C. parviflora so my guess is still glandular hairs. If you have access to 'The Flora of the Pacific NW' by Cronquist and Hitchcock you might be able to note the differences in the description. I could be wrong though. I have never seen your particular species first hand.
One of my floras 'The Flora of Southeastern Washington and Adjacent Idaho' by Harold St. John , had the Blue Lips as a common name for C. parviflora which seemed apropos, :) but I've never seen it called that anywhere else.
And the I think the above picture is probably Mertensia oblongifolia. There is another similar species, M. longiflora but it has no basal leaves to speak of. Also M. oblongiflolia is hirsutellous (small fine hairy) on both sides of the leaves, while M. longiflora has the pubescence on just the uppper surface of the leaf. I think I can make out just barely in the photograph the pubescence on both sides of the leaf. Also the the lobes of the corolla in M. oblongifolia are shorter than in M. longiflora as your picture depicts. Also the altitude makes M. oblongifolia more apt to be the plant in question. In actuality, the similarities between the two species are not great, and I would like to see the plant first hand to certain of an identification. But if not the above then M. longiflora which is more common here in lower altitudes(2000ft or ~600 m.).