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Review of Ackerfield's "Flora of Colorado"

Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, & Utah

Welcome to my website for the identification and appreciation of mountain and desert flora.
 Please feel free to email me your comments and questions. Al Schneider


Indicate how you want your results displayed:
Scientific species name    Common species name    Scientific family name



CLICK     AN    ICON    BELOW    TO     BROWSE           FLOWERS         FERNS            TREES &
                                                                                                                                          SHRUB WILLOWS

Datura icon

Fern Button Tree Button


1) If you would like to identify a plant, select its characteristics below and click "Submit".

Notes: A) If you are unsuccessful in your attempt to identify a white flower, skip the "Flower Color", because you may have one of a number of flowers that has rare white versions. These may not be under "white flowers" in the key below.
B) When you try to identify a light blue, light pink, or white flower, search each of those three colors.
C) When fall weather is unusually warm and moist, some spring-flowering species may flower again.

2) If you would like to browse plants with particular characteristics, select the characteristics below and click "Submit". For example, to see species that are wildflowers, yellow, flowering in July, growing in the alpine, and found in rocky areas, select each characteristic below and click "Submit". You will get a list of all the species on this website that fit the characteristics you selected.

 Plant Type
Shrub: woody,
     shorter than tree,
     several stems
Fern & related:
     spores, no flowers,
     no seeds
Cactus: often with spines, succulent stems 
Skip category
 Flower Color
Red, Pink
Blue, Purple
Green, Brown
Skip category

 Flowering Month
Skip category

     (Above 11,500')
Subalpine (10,000'      to 11,500')
Montane (8,000' to      10,000')
Foothills (6,500' to      8,000')
     Prairie (4,000' to      8,000')
Skip category

Woodlands, dry or moist
Shrublands or grasslands
Meadows or openings      or tundra
Rocky areas or scree
Wetlands or seeps or springs
Streamsides or streams
Disturbed areas or roadsides
Skip category

or continue choosing characteristics below.

Click to start a new search.

Leaf Position

Alternate  Alternate

Opposite  Opposite

Basal       Basal, horizontal

Whorled  Whorled

Spiraled  Spiraled

Bundled  Bundled

Plant does not produce leaves or the leaves are miniscule

Skip category

Leaf Type

Simple: The leaf blade is not divided into separate leaflets.

                Simple       Simple      Simple



Compound: The leaf blade is divided into separate leaflets. The first, second, and last photos below show several leaves divided into leaflets. The other photos show just one leaf divided into leaflets.

                Compound pinnate    Compound pinnate    Compound pinnate

                Compound pinnate   Compound palmate   Compound


Skip category

or continue choosing characteristics below.

Click     to start a new search.

Leaf Blade Margin

Margin entire: not toothed, lobed, or divided. 

Entire margin  Entire

Entire   Entire  , wavy-edged is considered entire

Margin toothed, lobed, or divided.

Margin not entire  Margin not entire 1

Simple  Compound pinnate

Skip category

Leaf Blade Shape

Leaf blade longer than wide. Various shapes in outline.

Long   Long    Long   Long   


Leaf blade about as long as wide. Blade close to round in outline. Each photograph in the second row below shows just one leaf, one compound leaf, i.e., a leaf divided into leaflets. The overall shape of each whole leaf is round.

Round  Round  Round

Round  Compound Round

Skip category

or continue choosing characteristics below.

Click     to start a new search.

Flower Shapes by Family       Skip this "Flower Shape" category.

                                                    I do not see my flower shape below. Show me all others.

                                                         Click the family name below for a description.


Apiaceae (aka Umbelliferae) (Parsley Family)

 Conioselinum scopulorum (Hemlock Parsley)  Cymopterus lemmonii (Mountain Parsley)


Asteraceae (aka Compositae) (Sunflower Family)

Asteraceae has the greatest number of species of any family in our area (and in many parts of the world), so to get you closer to identifying your mystery species in this family, I have added two further characteristics choices just for Asteraceae.

1) What is the growth form of your Asteraceae species?
Plants grow with many stems emanating from a single point. Shrub-like, either woody or not woody.

Asteraceae form, Senecio spartioides Asteraceae form cluster Gutierrezia sarothrae


Plants grow with a loose or tight mass of basal leaves; stems of flower heads arise from different locations in the mass.

Asteraceae form mat 1 Keying images/Asteraceae-form-mat-2.jpg


Plants grow singly, although there may be dozens of individual plants near each other.

ASteraceae form single Erigeron-bellidiastrum Asteraceae form Pyrrocoma crocea

Skip the above Asteraceae growth form category.


2) What is the flower head type of your Asteraceae species?
In the six photographs below, what appears to be a single Asteraceae flower is actually a grouping of many tiny flowers into one flower head. These flower heads come in three flavors.

Flower heads have ray and disk flowers. The outer circle consists of ray flowers, each with one elongated ray (the flattened yellow or lavender appendage shown below) and an inner disk of tightly packed tubular flowers that do not have rays.

       Heliomeris multiflora (Showy Goldeneye)  Erigeron speciosus (Showy Daisy) 


Flower heads have only ray flowers.

       Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion)  Hieracium fendleri (Fendler's Hawkweed)


      Flower heads have only disk flowers.

       Antennaria rosea (Red Pussytoes)  Carduus nutans (Musk Thistle)

      Skip the above Asteraceae flower head category.


Boraginaceae (Forget-Me-Not Family)

Cryptantha minima (Little Cat's Eye)  Mertensia franciscana (Franciscan Bluebells)  Phacelia howelliana (Howell's Phacelia)

Brassicaceae (aka Cruciferae) (Mustard Family)

Dimorphocarpa wislizenii (Spectacle Pod)  Descurainia incana (Mountain Tansy Mustard)


Caryophyllaceae (Pink Family)

Cerastium arvense (Mouse-ear Chickweed)  Silene acaulis (Moss Campion)


Fabaceae (aka Leguminosae) (Pea Family)

Astragalus flava (White Milk Vetch)  Trifolium parryi (Parry's Trifolium)


Onagraceae (Evening Primrose Family) 

Oenothera coronopifolia (Cut-leaf Evening Primrose  Epilobium ciliatum (Fringed Willowherb)


Orobanchaceae (Broomrape Family)

Orobanche fasciculata (Bundled Broomrape)  Pedicularis parryi (Parry's Alpine Lousewort)  Casilleja linariifolia (Wyoming Paintbrush)


Plantaginaceae (Plantain Family)

Penstemon cyanocaulis (Blue-stemmed Penstemon)  Bessya alpina (Alpine Kitten Tails)


Polemoniaceae (Phlox Family)

Ipomopsis aggregata (Scarlet Gilia)  Phlox condensata (Alpine Phlox)

Polygonaceae (Buckwheat Family)

Eriogonum cernuum (Nodding Buckwheat)  Eriogonum umbellatum (Sulphur Flower)  Persicaria amphibia (Water Smartweed)

Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)  

Ranunculus glaberrimus (Sagebrush Buttercup)  Aquilegia micrantha (Alcove Columbine)  Delephinium barbeyi (Barbey's Delphinium)

Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Potentilla rubricaulis (Red-stemmed Cinquefoil)  Cratageus sp (Hawthorn)   

I do not see my flower shape.
     Show me all other flower shapes.

             Click     to start a new search.  

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Another Way to Search This Site

The search box below allows you to search this site for any word or phrase, such as,
a trail or park name, location, botanist's name, plant part, or alternate common name.

If your search has more than one word, for example, "Lake Hope Trail", enclose the words in quotation marks. Otherwise you will retrieve entries for each word as well as for the phrase.

NOTE: To search by plant name, flower color, month of flowering, habitat, elevation, etc., you will find it faster and easier to use the search tools at the top of the page.

The "index", "sitemap", and "advanced" give you three additional ways of searching this website.

index sitemap advanced
site search by freefind



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Click for information about this website's authors, technical details, copyright, etc.

This website is given free space on the servers of the
Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory of Gothic, Colorado.

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I deeply appreciate this assistance from RMBL and their assistance
in keeping
online for many years into the future when I am no longer able to.

If you are so inclined, please send a donation to RMBL
and indicate that it is for the perpetuation of this website.

The Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory advances the scientific understanding of nature
that promotes informed stewardship of the Earth.
Founded in 1928 as an independent field station with no institutional affiliation,
the Lab hosts one of the largest gatherings of field biologists from institutions across the world.
Internationally recognized research has been carried out at all levels of organization from gene to ecosystem,
and Lab scientists have produced over several thousand publications.
Paul Ehrlich considers RMBL, "the finest biological research station in the world".
Click for a video about RMBL.

My thanks also to Michelle and Jeff Fink who generously hosted this website for ten years.


And thanks to Steve Sullivan, patient paragon programmer who created
the plant identification searchable database near the top of this page. Click for Steve's great botanical website

The American Rock Garden Society granted this website the 2021 Edgar T. Wherry Award,
which the Society indicates, "was established in 1973... [and] is given from time to time to a person
who has made an outstanding contribution in the dissemination of botanical and/or horticultural information about native North American plants.
The works must be scientifically sound, but may be written for popular readership and do not have to be specifically about rock garden plants.
Generally, the award recognizes a body of work or a lifetime of literary effort rather than a single work".

This website is updated almost every day.
The site has been visited over 3 million times since its inception in February, 2001.

I hope you enjoy your visit with the plants of the Four Corners states.
Please feel free to contact me with your comments and questions.



Photographs, written material, design, and all other aspects of this website are
© Al Schneider.
No photographs, graphics, or text in this website may be used for any purpose  -- 
personal, not-for-profit, governmental, or commercial  --
without the permission of Al Schneider. 
Email Al
  or phone (970-882-4647) for permission and commercial prices.

Proceeds from the sale of Al's photographs pay for this website.


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