Salt and pepper

Salt and pepper adds spice to spring

April 16, 2020

The flowers of salt and pepper are tiny and arranged into compound groups called umbels, or bouquets in the shape of an umbrella

Plateau Tiger Whiptail

Tiger whiptail lizards come in many forms

April 1, 2020

Two simple contrasts illustrate how the environments occupied by tiger whiptails differ in fundamental ways A long slender lizard moved among trees in a pinyon-juniper woodland on the Colorado Plateau, searching the accumulated debris beneath the trees for grubs, spiders, beetles or any other insects. It stopped when it saw...

Bright blossoms of Lewis flax are seen from the plains to tree line

Domestication of Lewis flax has begun

March 20, 2020

Understanding genetic diversity in a species is especially important for conservation and restoration efforts

Keg Knoll Robber Fly

Robber flies are fierce predators and resourceful lovers

Feb. 28, 2020

The world is full of robber flies—approximately 7,000 species have been recognized worldwide and 1,000 are native to North America

Brown Leopard frog

Why do leopard frogs come in two colors?

Feb. 18, 2020

The persistence of two colors everywhere suggests a balance of evolutionary forces

A stemless four-nerve daisy growing from a sandstone crevice

Stemless four-nerve daisies have remarkable variation for growth form

Jan. 21, 2020

From the caliche soils of southeastern Colorado to crevices in bare sandstone on the Colorado Plateau, stemless four-nerved daisies show remarkable variation in growth form

Smooth Sumac Berries shown in a valley

Smooth sumac has edible berries and poisonous but medicinal leaves

Jan. 7, 2020

Smooth sumac and fragrant sumac have been shown to be sources of food, medicines, weaving materials and dyes A thicket of smooth sumac retained some of its berries in January, though most of them were gone. Smooth sumac is well known for its brilliant red fall foliage and its deep...

Full rose in bloom at Chataqua meadow

Wild roses are nutritional, medicinal and aesthetic

Dec. 10, 2019

The Chautauqua Meadow put on a memorable display of wildflowers in late June and early July of this year, so I walked there several times just to enjoy the flowers, as did many others. Lupines were the most prominent and could be seen from Baseline Road, but if you walked...

Mountain goat in the Rockies.

Introduced mountain goats have colonized much of the land above the trees

Dec. 6, 2019

Is that good or bad? Depends on your perspective, but there is a cost to native plant and animal communities.

Sheep grazing at Crane Park Pond

Grazing on public lands alters plant communities

Nov. 14, 2019

Ranchers graze their sheep on public lands to make money—but at what expense to the land itself?