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Utah Wildflowers

Utah Wildflowers

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Larry Sagers Horticultural Specialist Utah State University Extension Service Thanksgiving Point Office

If the summer heat got you down and your gardens did not flourish, do not despair. Our unique geology and our unique flora means something is blooming in Utah almost anytime of the year.

Our broadcast this morning is from a trip to Snowbird. Travel from the valley floor to the tops of the Wasatch Mountains (some twenty miles) and you will go through far more plant zones than you would see traveling nearly a thousand miles from the Mississippi river to Denver, Colorado. This unique mix of elevation and plants give a rich ecosystem for you to enjoy.

In spite of the drought, the flowers are still showy. Hike to see these beautiful plants, get out of the sweltering heat and provide a few ideas to improve your own garden and landscape.

In reality, all flowers are wild somewhere. We sometimes fail to appreciate the great beauty and the usefulness of some of these plants. They have many valuable functions in the wild and in our landscapes.

In natural areas, wildflowers are extremely important in conserving water and soils. They hold soil in place, regulate stream flows, and filter sediments from the water. Without adequate vegetation, wind or water quickly erodes the thin mantle of soil we depend on for our existence.

Diverse plant communities including wildflowers are important to sustain healthy ecosystems. Wildflowers provide food and shelter for many creatures including mammals, birds and insects. They beautify our surroundings and make our mountain picnics, hiking and camping more enjoyable.

Spend some time enjoying the beautiful flowers of our mountains, but leave them there. Many nurseries carry both starts and seeds of wildflowers. Never try to move them from the mountains to your garden. WILDFLOWER CONSERVATION AND ETIQUETTE Wildflowers, like any treasure, must be protected for all to enjoy. Conserve these priceless resources by following these conservation tips:

Take only photographs and memories when you leave. Wildflowers wilt quickly after picking and never transplant well. Leave them for all to enjoy. Drive only on designated roadways and use trails whenever possible. Tread lightly on desert soils. Learn more about wildflowers to help preserve them and protect their growing areas.

Other outstanding wildflower tours include the Alpine Loop Road above American Fork Canyon, Highway 89 through Logan Canyon and the Mirror Lake Highway, the north slope of the Uinta Mountains and the Nebo Loop Road above Nephi.

The two publications, Desert Plants of Utah and Mountain Plants of Utah are available at all Utah Sate University Extension Offices in the State. They contain most of the wildflowers common in our state. You can also download them at

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