Scarlet Trumpet flower, USFS South Cottonwood Access, Blanding UT, May 4, 2015

Scarlet Trumpet

USFS South Cottonwood Access, Blanding UT

May 4, 2015

Scarlet Trumpet

This wildflower has several common names and to me Scarlet Trumpet is the one that best describes this beauty. I love the delicate simplicity and the bright scarlet coloration of this wildflower. I found this one growing at the base of a small cottonwood tree on the bank of Cottonwood Wash on USFS lands southwest of Blanding UT where I've set up camp for the next day or two.

Scarlet Trumpet, Scarlet Gilia, Skyrocket, Ipomopsis aggregata

Ipomopsis aggregata is a species of flowering plant in the phlox family (Polemoniaceae), commonly known as Scarlet Trumpet, Scarlet Gilia, or Skyrocket because of its scarlet red flowers with lobes curving back as if blown back by rocketing through the air.

Ipomopsis aggregata is characterized by the USDA as a native species for the continental United States and Canada. It is native to western North America, growing mainly in the central to western regions and ranging from as far north as British Columbia to Mexico.

Ipomopsis aggregata has characteristic red, trumpet-shaped flowers and basal leaves stemming from a single erect stem. Depending on elevation, height can range from 12 inches, in Rocky Mountain alpine areas, to over 5 feet, in areas of southern Texas. Trumpet flowers can range from white, red, orange-red, and pink. Pink flowers are especially common in high mesa areas of Colorado, such as the Flat Tops, Grand Mesa, or the Uncompahgre Plateau. Yellow flowers have been reported for plant but are extremely rare. Fernlike leaves are low to the ground, helping encourage warmth in colder areas, and have silver specks and a fine white pubescence. A well known delicacy in nature, Ipomopsis aggregata is well adapted to herbivory, as it can regrow multiple flowering stalks once lost. Although herbivory initially reduces seed and fruit count of the plant, intermediate herbivory and its stimulating factors could lead to the plant growing larger over time. Elk and mule deer are common herbivores on Ipomopsis aggregata.

Ipomopsis aggregata is pollinated most commonly by long-tongued moths and hummingbirds, although others can be seen. Basal leaves overwinter, even in subalpine areas of the Rocky Mountains. The plant blooms in late spring to early summer, and into fall if climate conditions are favorable. Optimal growing conditions include little water, part shade, and sandy soil. Although defined as hermaphroditic, Ipomopsis aggregata has shown sex allocation in flowering months, with phenotypic gender reaching a proportion of 0.77 female components to male.