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Monument plant (Frasera speciosa)

Monument plant (Frasera speciosa, formerly Swertia radiata) is hard to miss on open high-elevation slopes and meadows, where it reaches heights of up to six feet. It was formerly thought to be a biennial plant (blooming in the second year), but it is now known to be monocarpic, meaning that it grows for many years (up to 80), produces wildflowers only once, and then dies. The light green flowers may not be terribly striking from a distance, but upon closer inspection, they prove to be incredibly intricate. If you should find a monument plant flowering, take time to appreciate it, knowing that it took many years to arrive at that stage and that it will never happen again. Other common names include green gentian, elkweed and deer's tongue.

Monument plant (Frasera speciosa). Carson Pass, Eldorado National Forest, Sierra Nevada, Alpine County, California. Stock Photo ID=PLA0435
Monument plant (Frasera speciosa), highly detailed close-up of an individual flower in bloom. Carson Pass, Eldorado National Forest, Sierra Nevada, Alpine County, California.
PLA0435

Monument plant (Frasera speciosa). Carson Pass, Eldorado National Forest, Sierra Nevada, Alpine County, California. Stock Photo ID=PLA0434
Monument plant (Frasera speciosa), documentary view depicting the plant with many of its flowers in bloom. Carson Pass, Eldorado National Forest, Sierra Nevada, Alpine County, California.
PLA0434

Monument plant (Frasera speciosa). Carson Pass, Eldorado National Forest, Sierra Nevada, Alpine County, California. Stock Photo ID=PLA0433
Monument plant (Frasera speciosa), detailed close-up of its intricate flowers. Carson Pass, Eldorado National Forest, Sierra Nevada, Alpine County, California.
PLA0433

Next Plant: Sierra gooseberry (Ribes roezlii var. roezlii)



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All images copyright Timothy Boomer. All rights reserved worldwide.