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.
All images copyright Timothy Boomer. All rights reserved worldwide.