A plant incapable of photosynthesis but good at forming bridges

March 14, 2019

Pinedrops parasitizes the mycorrhizal fungus directly, stealing water, minerals, carbohydrates and nutrients, but supplying nothing in return. In effect, it parasitizes a mutualism after germinating in the grasp of a fungus.

Bee plant

Bee plants left their mark on Ancient Puebloan pottery

Jan. 25, 2019

As beautiful as they are, Rocky Mountain bee plants are known to be malodorous, inspiring other common names, including skunk weed and stink weed.


Brilliant coloration in American rubyspots signals male quality

Jan. 11, 2019

The rubyspot's mating system is classified as territorial defense polygyny, in which males defend a site to attract mates.


Strawberry blite emerging in wake of Cold Springs Fire

Jan. 2, 2019

A wildfire causes blight on the land, but it is surprising how quickly plants and animals that depend on them colonize the burned area.


We nearly ate turkeys to extinction a second time

Nov. 24, 2018

Multiple species of turkeys have been in America for millions of years and it is apparent that, when humans and turkeys met, we have had substantial impacts on their population sizes.


Beavers feed mourning cloak butterflies

Nov. 11, 2018

I found the mourning cloak when I was trying to photograph the beavers living at the confluence of the Green and Yampa Rivers.

locust borer

Bright beetle gains protection through similarity to wasps

Nov. 6, 2018

A defenseless insect can gain protection from predators if it evolves to resemble a well-defended species.


Pollinators congregate as nectar and pollen dwindle

Oct. 5, 2018

When I arrived at the campground at Deep Lake, I was stunned and disappointed. Instead of meadows bright with flowers, I saw one healthy aster and a paltry, diffuse population of spent flowers.


Snowpack is boon for subalpine larkspurs

Sept. 6, 2018

These are large plants with towers, or racemes, of deep blue to purple flowers that reach heights of 6 feet. They are most spectacular when they grow intermixed with cow parsnip and loveroot.


Elaborate elephant's heads flowers require buzz pollination

July 26, 2018

Elephant's heads are found in subalpine and alpine habitats in western mountains from New Mexico to Alaska and throughout Canada, except for Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.