National Geographic : 1953 May
634 National Geographic Photographer J. Baylor Roberts Schoolgirls Float in a Sea of Bluebonnets, the Texas State Flower In March, Texas roadsides and pastures turn a gorgeous purple with stands of this native lupine. Throngs of Sunday motorists drive out to see them. Artists have devoted their careers to painting bluebonnets. Flowers of Yellowstone National Park are so numerous and so well described and pic tured in a park booklet that I will mention only three-fringed gentian, yellow pond lily, and elephant's-trunk, the last obviously named for the curved upper lip of the red to purple flowers it bears. The drive eastward from Yellowstone Park to Beartooth Lake and over the 10,947-foot Beartooth Pass to Red Lodge, Montana, not only crosses one of the grandest scenic areas of the Northwest but offers a fine variety of wild flowers. They include larkspur; arnica, whose European relative provides the extract used in the medicine of the same name; and, at the top of the pass, Mariposa lily and marsh marigold, the last often en tirely surrounded by snow. Bitterroot, or Lewisia rediviva, the State flower of Montana, grows in this region (page 616). Its genus name honors Meri wether Lewis, of the Lewis and Clark Expe dition. Bitterroot is found from Montana's Bitterroot Range, named for it, westward and south to Arizona. The Indians once roasted the starchy taproot for food. Southward from Yellowstone Park few wild flowers appear on the arid plains, but occa- sionally we spotted good stands of skyrocket, with slender red trumpetlike flowers one to one and a half inches long, and a low-growing globe mallow, which prefers sandy areas (page 616). Finest of Wyoming's wild-flower displays were in the high meadows of the Medicine Bow Mountains west of Laramie. Here amid rocky rivulets was a wonderful subalpine garden with hundreds of Rocky Mountain marsh marigolds and crimson-purple primrose. Near by were white sandwort, purplish catch fly, rose-purple heads of alpine clover, red bracted Indian paintbrush, trout lily, daisy fleabane, bluebell, and bog laurel. Crossing 11,797-foot Fall River Pass, north west of Denver, we photographed large areas of yellow alpine sunflower and Jamesia ameri cana, a small bush with terminal clusters of inch-long waxy white flowers. Wild flowers furnish beauty everywhere. Some of the loveliest grow in harsh deserts or on the chill summits of barren mountains. Wherever seen, they reaffirm the glory and wonder of Nature unspoiled. For other articles on wild flowers of the United States, see the two-volume NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE Cumulative Index, 1899-1952.