Saturday, January 13, 2024

CHAPTER 2: of my new book DIVINE VISIONS of NATURE from the FOOTHILLS of MT. TIMANOGOS.

 CLICK FOR: INFORMATION ON HIGH UINTA BOOK

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NOTE: 

 At least on my computer and smart phone viewing of this chapter, about half way through there is a short glitch or overlaping of certain items from the website which I can't seem to eliminate.  This post continues quite easily understood, so continue.  When I get to the point of converting this online book into a printable online book with page numbers and index, said glitch will be eliminated as a differenrt system is used. So for the time being I won't worry about it anymore




I'll begin this Chapter 2 featuring my 2nd effort to climb to the VALLEY VIEW SPOT as depicted above, with details that follow, also including some documentation of the area on shorter hikes made every other day between the first two major hikes for me this season.



I came up the hill from the Grove Creek Trailhead you see in the distance right center. Then over into an area east of the Pleasant Grove water reservoir tank, an area of sagebrush, and lush grasses of several types coming up, as well as berry bushes of a number of  varieties  on the right as well as Wood's Rose.


  We see feeding on the green vegetation our first
VISION of NATURE 

....... a camoflauged  green
PRAYING MANTIS  
Later with hot dry weather, and vegetation through its growing season and dry, I photographed another PRAYING MANTIS adeptly camolauged again to blend in with the background.  This is one of the wonders of our natural world, and certainly an
 AMAZING VISION of NATURE!

As I passed near the berry bushes there was a rustling 
 movement going on....


......and with my very slow STALKING PACE I was able to get two good shots of 
one of the most common mammals of the foothills, a
ROCK SQUIRREL.



Squirrels and other small mammals have to always be on 
the alert for predators in the area, such as the..... 
RED FOX
  .......you'll see  if you look carefully in an area near my route 
as you see below.


Below we see a footprint of a fox, or a dog, recognizable by seeing the claw marks of the canine family.  I show this with a purpose, as along the very route I was taking, near the grassy area after a rainfall....



.... I noticed below a foot print of a different mammal.  The animal track or print is different.  It is wider than canine footprints, and importantly shows no claw marks.....meaning we are seeing a feline foot print.  Feline meaning of the cat family:  Cat, bobcat, cougar, etc. They retract their claws when walking.


The width of this print, about 2.5 inches, indicate it was likely a
 BOBCAT 
like the one inserted in the picture below. 
A cougar footprint would be 4 inches wide or more.  I haven't seen one of them....yet, but hope to so I can add it in a later chapter. 


BOBCATS weight between 25-35 pounds, and are not known to attack humans....unless cornered when they will defend themselves. They are highly adaptable and are curious, usually extremely cautious about humans, but sometimes their curiousity has them carefully watching humans who don't seem to be a danger to them.

 Usually they are only dangerous for dogs,  cats, chickens, and such.  They are carniverous, their food generally mice, rats, squirrels, rabbits, etc.  Mule deer are generally much too large for a bobcat to attack, except for young fawns in their early stages of life. 

On another occasion I was coming back through the same area and felt strange like something was watching me and it could have been a BOBCAT, although I never saw anything!
The truth is that  BOBCATS, we see one of above, sometimes are  curious and it could have been one but from a very concealed position much more distant, observing a human. This picture was obviously put together on Photoshop hoping it would be a good opener on FACEBOOK to announce Chapter 2 is done, and I thought I might as well share that  effort  with all of you, so here it is. 
But there is more on BOBCATS that, by the way are beautiful animals!

On another occasion I photographed in about the same location another footprint of a BOBCAT, and if you will look closely next to the edge of the photo directly above....another partial footprint much smaller but enough of it to identify it as a young bobcat....so we are likely seeing a small  one accompanying its mother.

 PERSONAL EXPERIENCES FROM MY YOUTH
I have seen bobcats in the High Uintas, and in the Uintah Basin, both of them running across the road in front of my car.  In the Uintah Basin, on the south side driving down a dry wash one ran in front of us and into a thicket.  I stalked it and got a shot with my .22 rifle....back at a time when it was legal to do so...I found a blood trail and carefully followed it through the thicket of reeds, the trail finally ending.  
When I was a hunter and trapper on a wildlife project at Dugway Proving Grounds in 1954 I got a bobcat on one of my assignments off of the Proving Grounds and since it wasn't my assignment, was permitted to keep it. On skinning it I noticed the meat looked real good and   I recalled a book about 40 mammals  that I was required to study and know about those of our interest, but each mammal section ended commenting on what the Indians and the mountainmen thought about the edibility of each.  I recalled bobcat was considered one of the best.  
So I saved the hind quarters and one day prepared them with condiments and cooked them in an autoclave (like a pressure cooker), and served them on paper plates to all the guys in the lab.
They all thanked me and raved about how delicious it was, but then one of the G.I.'s from Brooklyn who was Jewish asked me what kind of meat it was.
I WAS IN DEEP TROUBLE as such meat is prohibited under Jewish law!  There was almost another crucifixtion! 


In the sagebrush and grassy area I was hiking through I always saw 
QUAIL 

.....and fortunate to have among my photos a pair...the MALE of course being the handsomer of the two!  That's nature's way of providing for the safety of mothers....dull and unattrative!
Cottontail rabbits were also glimpsed, but usually gone so quickly photographs were nearly impossible....

Continuing the hike up the face of the hills....
I went through the grassy area and to a ravine sort of hidden by the vegetation and pinpointed by the arrow.  As I was climbing up the ravine I wandered off the beaten track as I usually do to find things others miss, and noticed ahead some
 BRIGHT YELLOW!

It was on a bush, about the same size as most of the scrub oak.


I was more than happy to discover a wildflower
 that I'd never seen before, and never seen again, except  an offspring or two nearby.

  And, for full disclosure I'll confess to have gone through all my reference books, page by page and I can't find it pictured or identified anywhere.  Hopefully before publishing time in a day or so I will have identified it.......  I finally found one called the 
SIBERIAN PEA-SHRUB family
So, until I know better we'll call it that.  See explanation below.... 


NOTE:  I have spent literally many hours searching for the identity of this beautiful bush or shrub and finally concluded I was getting close finding the Russian Pea shrub,  but the leaf structure was completely different with four leafs all growing from the same spot on the stems and branches.  I then searched for similar plants and found the SIBERIAN PEA SHRUB, that has a leaf structure and shape the same, and a similar yellow flower, but smaller than this one, and with a pea pod very similar to normal pods like the thin ones we eat, rather than the enlarged ones we see below.  The peas, or seeds look about the same.
I searched for shrubs similar to the Siberian sweet pea shrub, but found nothing closer than the Siberian. 

I'll insert a photo here from the: 
The Morton Arboretum
Siberian pea-shrub is a hardy, sun-loving, large shrub which is tolerant of drought, wind, deer, and varying soil conditions. Prized for its light green, fern-like foliage and bright yellow spring flowers. 
So here is the flower of the Siberian Pea shrub that looks about as
 close as anything I have found so far to our Foothills shrub.
I'll insert 3 pictures down a photo of the leaf to compare with the one
 of our mystery plant.
From:

Notes:

Siberian Peashrub is a shrub or small tree that was commonly planted as a windbreak, for wildlife, and as an ornamental in landscapes, then escaped cultivation and is now considered invasive in many locations, including Minnesota and Wisconsin. While not as problematic or widespread as buckthorn, it does establish itself in forests, woodland edges, savannas and roadsides. It is much more widespread in Minnesota than the distribution maps indicate, since planted populations are not included and the distinction between planted and escaped populations can be ambiguous. You may even have spotted it in campgrounds and trail edges in some of our state parks. It tolerates a wide range of soil and moisture conditions and several cultivars are available in the nursery trade. Siberian Peashrub is easy to identify from the abundant yellow flowers and bean-like fruits, compound leaves that lack a terminal leaflet, and the spine-like stipules at leaf nodes.


We begin seeing its reproductive system  beginning with that large
 sort of tongue as the lower part of the flower....


....it will develop eventually into the seed pod 
as seen in the pictures below. 


And, here below the leaf of the Siberian Pea Shrub compared to the leaf above, that is the 
same except for color, but that is more  a difference of light and color shade and saturation. 


The Siberian Pea shrub is a native of Siberia and Eastern Asia and
 brought to the U.S. by immigrants, and has spread.....not reported yet 
to have arrived in Utah....until NOW!




Below we see it later with the seed pods dried up
 and releasing their seeds for the future generations.

EDIBILITY
Apparenty the fresh flowers can be added to salads.  They have a sweet pea like flavor.  
The pods when young and tender can be eaten, along with the peas.  


Above all the flowers are  gone and now with mature pods.


has an interesting article listing 12 reasons why 
SIBERIAN PEA shrub is desirable


Picture taken on November 5th



********************

More legitimate? 
SIBERIAN PEA SHRUB
A few years ago in the foothills of Springville, 15 miles or so south of Grove Canyon and  Mount Timpanogos I found and photographed the following shrub and flower that seems to be more exactly Siberian Pea.




The one below is from the... 
...used for the previous shrub which I'm now calling
Siberian Peak Shrub family
because the leaf and tree are the same with just some variations in the flower and pods. 

Below is the one from the Springville foothills that matches 
the one from the above website..


NOTE:  In the Chapter 5 summation of all the plants photographed, 
I will add this as the legitimate Siberian Pea shrub. The one from the Grove Creek area will be listed as from the Siberian Pea shrub family.    Additionally when the growing season begins I will make trips to  to the Springville foothills and  find this shrub which by now should have multiplied ,  then follow and photograph its evolution during the season and  add anything necessary for better understanding.
*********

From the ravine we continue climbing and get to the top
of the hill we could see to the north from the grassy area, 
and it was here 
where on June 1st  I found the first blossoming of the






As it worked out, due to the increased rainful, 2023 saw more SEGO LILLIES blossom than during any of the previous summers of my experience.  
I recall from my Pioneer heritage that the Mormon pioneers at times had to rely on the bulb of the Sego Lily to survive, as did the Native Americans before and after them.    I have resisted the temptation to dig one up as they don't seem to be all that plentiful, and have recently learned that it is actually against the law to do so.

Above we see  the reproductive system, actually seeing the seeds down inside the pod.  Might as well also insert a large photo of the insect....
..... that coincidentally seemed to be camofloged with the same colors as the pod.
So we bid farewell to our beautiful 
UTAH STATE FLOWER 
until 2024, as its blossoming period was quite short.
***********


Among the sagebrush and our Sego Lily  we
 see another beautiful wildflower which is
 SHOWY RUSHPINK


It is a perrenial plant commonly called   Skeletonplant, which isn't a very pretty name, so I prefer 
Showy Rushpink
Googling uses by Native Americans I found in 
https://wildflowerswest.org/lygodesmia_grandiflora.htm
USES: From the website Native American Ethnobotany are the following uses by Native American tribes: Gosiute - plant used as horse medicine. Navajo, Kayenta - Plant milk applied to sores caused by sunburn. Used for greens in foods. Hopi - Leaves chewed to increase mother's milk supply. Boiled with a certain kind of mush for flavor. Leaves boiled with meat..


Seeing  upclose the flower above, then below with insects very busy...
apparently eating the interior parts of the flower......



....but some survive and proceeds with it's own unique reproduction and distribution system, 
apparently with most of the seeds on their way....maybe to your backyard!


********************


From up here where I  found the SEGO LILY I have to continue climbing.....

.....up to that upper level.

As you can see this hike was made before the scrub oak came alive.....


As I climb I get an increasingly better view of UTAH VALLEY.

  
I finally make it up to that upper level and can see far to the south the 
VALLEY VIEW SPOT 
on the edge of Grove Canyon. 



And, 10 or 15 miniutes later....I see all of 
UTAH VALLEY & UTAH LAKE 
spread out before me.


Up at the VALLEY VIEW SPOT where I was resting and having a bit of lunch,
 I spotted right at my feet for the first time this season the
UTAH MILKVETCH or LADYFINGER
also called LOCOWEED as it is harmful to cattle


It is a legume that injects nitgrogent into the soil. 
 Native Americans used it to treat mentrual pains, and for purification rituals.
And, 
FOR YOU HUNTERS, 
Native Americans used it to improve hunting luck!


The reproductive system was producing 
wooley covered seed pod  we see  below.


*********************

Also up high in the foothills, near the VALLEY VIEW SPOT, I saw there  the first of the season

DWARF CAT'S EYES  
or Cryptantha Utahensis, Scented Cats-Eye

NOTE:  Previously I was mistaken calling this flower the WESTERN SMELOWSKIA, which I have learned rather is found high in the mountains usually above timberline. 
More information follows from Wikipedia.

Cryptantha is a genus of flowering plants in the borage family, Boraginaceae. They are known commonly as cat's eyes and popcorn flowers (the latter name is also used to refer to the closely related genus Plagiobothrys,[1] and members of the subtribe of Amsinckiinae).[2] 

They are distributed throughout western North America and western South America, but they are absent from the regions in between.[1]

These are annual or perennial herbs usually coated in rough hairs and bearing rounded flower corollas that are almost always white, but are yellow in a few species.[1]

Above information from Wikipedia

From GOOGLE: 

Cryptantha has been used medicinally by the Hopi, Navajo Nation in Kayenta, and Zuni Pueblo according to documents in the Native American Ethnobotany Database. The plant could be used to relieve swelling, stimulate fatigued limbs, and to help with itching.


The crushed leaves are used as a hot infusion or lotion that is placed on the affected area. The Western Keres Nation viewed Cryptantha as a poisonous weed. (Note: Ethnobotanical reports often lack important contextual information and relevant traditional ecological knowledge.) The tiny hairs on this plant can be irritating to the touch.


This is just one of many plants I hope to be able to follow, observe and learn more about during the 2024 growing season, from germination early in the season, to blossoming and the reproduction. 


*************************

At the Valley View Spot you can choose to follow the main trail that continues up the canyon....but it goes way up high above the creek, and contiues to climb until you get to the bench, the water falls, then the bridge.....I'll show you to that point in just a minute.....the trail continuing up to where it meets a road, or swinging around and down Battle Creek Canyon.  
I'm  now heading down the switchbacks into Grove Canyon....the safest route down, and as we get closer to the creek  we'll begin seeing plants more adaptable to shade and moisture. 



We're now down below the long switchback and getting a wonderful view of a portion of Utah Valley that in my youth the upper half was all agricultural land, but now being replaced by industry, business buildings and housing developments in one of the fastest growing areas of the country.  


On the way down I  meet up with 
SPREADING FLEABANE,
(some experts call it SHOWY FLEABANE)  
one of the prettiest of the fleabane family not usually found in the desert-like foothills, rather up the canyon at moderate elevations in shaddier areas near the creek that we come to as we go down the mountain.  


I have a list of 18 different Fleabanes, but apparently one characteristic is from where the name comes, flea bane, or flea banisment or repellant, as it has a smell fleas don't like. 


MEDICINAL USES:  A tea can be made that was used to break fevers. The plant was boiled and mixed with tallow to make a balm that could be spread upon sores on the skin. It was used for as an eye medicine to treat “dimness of sight.” It was used as an astringent, a diuretic, and as an aid for kidneys or the gout.
*********************

Then this pretty plant below that has a sort of strange name, which is
COMMON HOUNDS TONGUE
also known as
THE GYPSY FLOWER 
the one below among the first spotted early in the season.... is a young Hound's Tongue growing up.






This is a plant that is not native to America, rather for some reason introduced from Europe and has spread across North America.  In addition to photographing it up Grove Canyon, I have photographed it also near Defa's Dude Ranch on the North Fork of the Duchesne River in the High Uintas....but at low elevations very close to the ranch. 


Teas made from the roots and leaves have been used to treat coughs, colds, hemorroids,  diarrhea and dystentery, but these plants with some cause skin reaction, so do your research and be careful....as is the case with many of our wild plants.

   




The rough surface of the nutlets, seen here, or possibly the leaves of some species, was thought to resemble the surface of a dog's tongue, thus the name HOUND'S TONGUE.
**************
Below we see  
the  PENSTEMON family
 with at least 14 different varieties that I have found from the deserts and foothills to the High Uinta Mountains.  It is the largest genus of flowering plants in North America, and is a common name for Penstemon species also called  Beardtongues.  



They are not poisonous.  A tea can be made by boiling the dried leaves and stems. Native Americans used the plant as a medicinal remedy to alleviate toothache, and poultices of the leaves treated cuts and burnes.  The pioneers learned these uses from the Native Americans. 
**************

Upper panel:  WILD PARSNIP  POISONOUS
Lower panel:  NINE-LEAVED DESERT PARSLEY



 ONE OF THEM IS VERY POISONOUS.....SO LET'S LEARN TO DISTINGUISH THEM
The  plant in the upper panel...I have reproduced here... is of the 
Carrot Family (Apeaceae) Genera its name:
WILD PARSNIP
POISONOUS
The leaves, like those of the carrot we grow in our vegetable gardens, but....

The University of Illinois Extension Division
https://extension.illinois.edu/blogs/garden-scoop/2021-06-12-wild-carrot-family-full-harmful-plants

WARNS  US:

Although weedy in habit, this plant is actually kind of alluring, with abundant yellow blooms that often attract a variety of pollinators. However, humans need to exercise extreme caution in the presence of this plant as it has an insidious side that is little known.  

When the sap of this plant contacts your skin and is exposed to sunlight, a reaction occurs that can result in painful burns and blisters. Since burns don’t appear for 24 hours and often don’t reach peak effects until 72 hours later, the source of this reaction can often be a puzzle to figure out.

**************

In the lower  row of the panel, and below, we see the
NINE-LEAVED DESERT PARSLEY


Note carefully the stems and leaves are totally different 
from the carrot-like leaves of the poisonous WILD PARSNIP

GOOGLING it we learn: 
     What is NINE-LEAFED DESERT PRASLEY   used for?
Plant Guide for Nineleaf biscuitroot 
(Lomatium triternatum)
The roots of this plant are used to make medicine. Desert parsley is used for asthma, flu, other lung problems, wound healing, and other 
conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support its use 
for any condition. Some types of desert parsley are eaten as food.
The roots were cooked or dried and  ground into flour, which could be 
shaped into cakes and stored for later use.  Nineleaf biscuitroot flowers 
and eaves were used to flavor meats and stews by the 
Okanagan-Colville.  Plants were used as food by the Yakama, and 
spring roots were earten by tribes in Montana.
And, below it's reproductive system.

The Blackfeet used the roots to make a medicinal tea for treating coughs and sore throats.  Their long distance runners chewed on the seeds to prevent side aches.
***************

Now we come to a shrub or a small tree that produces....
CHOKECHERRIES 





CHOKECHERRIES.... 
....are edible but when not fully ripe will pucker the mouth.  Some gather then to make jellies or wine.  Indians ate them fresh and also dried them in cakes for winter.  The Lewis and Clark Expedition ate them when other food was hard to come by, as did the mountainmen and fur trappers.  Birds eat them as do some mammals as seen two pictures down....



 Apparently  a lot of them go into the stomach of a mammal the size of a coyote and out the other end as we see above.
*******************
Nearby I found an as yet 
UNIDENTIFIED PLANT 
I will do my best to follow more closely in 2024 to be able to identify, 
learn about and  share information with all of you.
*************


Just before getting to the "SQUARE RESTING ROCK" mentioned in Chapter 1....the section about Poison Ivy, along the creek  edge of the trail...but high above the creek.... is a beautiful leafed plant with clusters of tiny flowers. It is
SPREADING DOGBANE 
also called
INDIAN HEMP


You should remember the beautiful leaf and photos of this plant from Chapter 1 when we were focusing on Poison Ivy.  I'll insert a few of them below.




Let's get real close to appreciate the beauty of these 
very tiny flowers.....


We have to say WOW to the beauty of  these tiny flowers, but have to exercise 
caution as explained below.  


The name is derived from the Greek  meaning "noxious to dogs." Dog's usually avoid this plant as it is poisonous to them.  In fact, from ancient times this plant was used to poison dogs.

GOOGLING it we get:
All parts of the plant are said to be poisonous to dogs, humans, livestock, and other mammals. The sap that emerges when you break a stem or leaf of Spreading Dogbane contains cardiac glycosides that are toxic to humans. 
Also:
Apocynum cannabinum is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows throughout much of North America—in the southern half of Canada and throughout the United States. It is poisonous to humans, dogs, cats, and horses. All parts of the plant are toxic and can cause cardiac arrest if ingested. Wikipedia 


But, getting close to SPREADING DOGBANE, there is little
doubt that it is a beautiful wildflower.  
************************

Also higher up the canyon near the creek I found this absolutely beautiful little blue flower that I have discovered is...
CREEPING SPEEDWELL 
or
    BIRD'S  EYE 
or
   GYPSY WEED 
As I have researched this tiny flower, I lament having lost track of it in my wanderings in the hills.  It is my favorite color as well as having a bunch of characteristics  and benefits that appeal to me.  So, I hope in 2024 I can find it again, follow it, get seeds and when I'm in my 90th year have it growing around me rather than a bunch of noxious weeds!


You Can learn more about it clicking below: 
Also we learn at:

The Heath Speedwell, also called Gypsyweed, is a herbaceous perennial flowering plant in the plantain family, native to Europe and western Asia. It forms wide mats in open areas, such as fields, meadows and gardens, sending up short vertical shoots with soft violet flowers from May to August. Speedwell is mainly used as a medicinal remedy for a range of ailments, but can also be used to produce washes, tinctures and teas, or be finely chopped and added to salads, stews, sauces and pesto.
Its leaves and flowers are edible, 
☕️ Beverage - Flowers and leaves can be used to make teas or other drinks.
🥗 Salad - The flowers and leaves can be eaten raw and added to salads.
🌺 Garnish - Flowers can be used as a pretty garnish.
🥬 Green - The leaves can be cooked as a vegetable and added to stews.
🧉 Condiment - Leaves can be used to make pestos and sauces.
💊 Herbal Remedy - Is often used medicinally.
Speedwell is mainly used as a medicinal remedy for a range of ailments, but can also be used to produce washes, tinctures and teas, or be finely chopped and added to salads, stews, sauces and pesto. Gypsyweed is commonly used to make a very popular tea called Thé D'Europe.




More beautiful leaves.


****************

After such beautiful and unique leaves above, we come to the common...

HEDGE MUSTARD 
A quite common plant that goes unnoticed....
Further investigation showed that Hedge mustard had thorny or hairy stems, but the one I photographed had smooth stems, and I have concluded that what we have is most likely...
JIM HILL MUSTARD 
It is also known as Tumbleweed Mustard as often it grows as tall as 5 feet and when dry ends up being a tumbleweed blown by the wind. This plant was mistakenly imported mixed with other seeds, and transported all over....assumed to be by the railroad, thus called after JIM HILL......who was a railroad magnate in the 20th century.


....but as almost always, zooming in we see a tiny beautiful flower....


GOOGLING it you come up with all kinds of suggested uses:

A few species are edible and may either be eaten as a vegetable or be ground into a seasoning.The leaves, stems, and flowers are used to make medicine. 

EDIBILITY 
The leaves and shoots of Jim Hill Mustard are eaten raw or cooked  and have a pungent, spicy flavor tasty in tossed salads. Some dry the plant, then grind it up to use  as a flavoring in soups and stews.
AS A MEDICINE
Jim Hill Mustard's leaves and flowers are known to be an astringent, and the plant was used to avoid scurvy among the Indians and mountain men, or extreme vitamin C deficiency. 
Usually the Jim Hill Mustard flower is yellow, but here I photographed a rare white and yellow stripped flower.

*****************************
Now we come to a portion of the trail, just before the road that some have had trouble with, and so it is called.... 
 
"THE ROCK & ROLL"
I always do it with caution, and since I manuevered it again safely I again let my imagination go a bit overboard.......

IMAGINING MY SELF BACKPACKING AGAIN IN THE HIGH UINTAS.....

......but down the trail a bit I ran into some BACKPACKERS seen below ........

and realized I was more in their league and got down off my high horse to reality...and started working on making some progress swinging my trekking poles up behind me on safe stretches to not become totally dependant on them.

*************

Soon I found another beautiful wildflower developing as we see below.



EVENING PRIMEROSE
By mid-February the older perrenial plants were springing to life again as we see below.


And I began finding new plants germinating like the ones below.

By May the blossoming was in full swing with beautiful flowers warming my hikes up the canyon. 


Most Primeroses are yellow like the one below I photographed in the foothills of the Uinta Mountain's South Slope....

.......where I also found a desert variety seen below. 


There are world-wide 675 species and I'm not sure which of the many is the one I photographed in our foothills.......


....but it is a beautiful variety in our area with both 
red and white flowers. 


Seeing all the leaves of the Evening Primrose as late as September and even October, I wondered how it would be for an afternoon salad.....so on to my trusty reference books and learned the plant is popular with foragers, since the roots, leaves, flowers, and seeds of evening primrose are all edible, but only the roots are really worth harvesting.  Google it for details, but I did learn that one with bleeding disorders should not eat it, and if you're going for surgery stop eating it several weeks before.  
Native Americans made poultices from the evening primrose plant for bruises and wounds and used its stem and leaf juices as topical remedies for skin inflammations. The leaves were taken orally for gastrointestinal complaints and sore throats.

Then late in the season...NOVEMBER....I photographed Evening Primrose coming alive again.



By early February 2024 the perrenial Evening Primrose plants were coming to live again as we see below.
*************

In the Canyon we also find early in the season a wildflower usually known in residential areas as a noxious weed that everybody trys to kill and is usually the first to grow and blossom  each year, but also  the last before winter.  Among those who know it is recognized as
"THE SPINACH OF THE WEED WORLD"
DANDELIONS

One of my first recollections in this life, when about 5 years old in Cincinnati, Ohio,  was in the city parks  with what to me seemed to be vast expanses of grass....where I was  seeing the African Americans picking bags full of dandelion leaves. I asked my mom why they were doing that.  She replied, 
"They are very nutritious and eaten by the poor people!" 

We'll,  guess who is eating them now? 
See a couple of paragraphs down who confesses to that.
 
Both flowers, leaves and roots are edibile and are more nutritious than most of the vegetables we pay big bucks for at the Supermarket! 

 The above plant is surrounded by tiny Redstem Filaree, which provided my salad for my evening meal today...February 6, 2024.

The variety of Dandelions most of us know is a native of Eurasia and suspected to have been brought to American on the Mayflower for it's medicinal benefits.  It is known in most countries and has been used for thousands of years.. 
 
THE CONFESSION: 
I have eaten their leaves in soups in Guatemala, and also in the High Uinta Mountains. Here in civilization, where they are abundant, I eat them all the time, including today here in American Fork, Utah.
 
The flowers and leaves can be eaten raw, but leaves have a slight bitter taste.  Blanching or cooking will reduce or eliminate said bitterness.
 
Early each season I could gather  leaves in many places, but eventually they were mostly poisoned.
I could only get them along ditches or edges of city parks unreached by poison, but they need water and were out of reach of the sprinklers, so I transplanted a bunch of plants into my garden and for several years had my own patch of dandelions. 


But then the rabbits increased ....eating my dandelions.  
Yes, they here are eating purslane as they had already mowed down
the dandelions and I had plenty of purslane, so no problem, except I didn't get to harvest dandelions....now for 3 years! 

By then the rest of my garden was planted with "Bledo" or Amaranth, Macuy from Guatemala, and purslane  (verdolaga).

  Note:  I don't plant them anymore, they take care of that, but I do have to thin...
...pulling up in bunches which I process...
...including the roots:
  
The white roots are Macuy, the red bledo or amaranth....both so  used by the Mayans that the Spanish conquerors tried to prohibit their use in an effort to destroy their religion....which didn't work and they helped saved the Mayans.  Bledo is now taking over, along with purslane, and all three are  better anyway. 

Back to the processing, I then rinsed out the dirt, cut in inch long segments, blanched, and put in shopping bags and into the freezer.  By mid-summer 2023 I already had frozen enough to last me until the next harvest. I eat them daily, mixed with 1 egg, a few carrots, 1/2 banana, sometimes washed mango peelings, or other fruit, then red beet powder plus some fake sugar and blend to make a smoothie  which is my morning meal every day.
The rabbits would eat any of the weeds, but preferred the Dandelions, and have kept them mowed as though with a lawnmower.  So I have stopped eating dandelions, going with the other three which are all about as nutritious, if not more than dandelions and are more tasty.
But, in this section I will give you below lots of info on 
"the spinach of the weed world," 
so you can consider saving on poison and eat out of your front lawn
 and not worry about  vegetable gardening  anymore......at least for the green stuff! 

THE BENEFITS OF DANDELIONS
From:

1. Highly nutritious

From root to flower, dandelions are highly nutritious plants loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Dandelion greens can be eaten cooked or raw and are an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K. They also contain vitamin E, folate, and small amounts of other B vitamins. Dandelion greens provide several minerals, including iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium (1Trusted Source).

Dandelion root is rich in the carbohydrate inulin, a type of soluble fiber found in plants that supports the growth and maintenance of healthy gut bacteria in your digestive tract (2Trusted Source).

Dandelion root is often dried and made into tea, but you can also eat it whole like other root vegetables.

SUMMARY

The nutritional content of dandelion extends to all parts of the plant. Dandelion is a rich source of fiber and many vitamins and minerals..Trusted Source
SUMMARY

2. Contains potent antioxidants

From root to flower, dandelions are highly nutritious plants loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Dandelion greens can be eaten cooked or raw and are an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K. They also contain vitamin E, folate, and small amounts of other B vitamins. Dandelion greens provide several minerals, including iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium (1

Dandelion root is rich in the carbohydrate inulin, a type of soluble fiber found in plants that supports the growth and maintenance of healthy gut bacteria in your digestive tract (2

Dandelion root is often dried and made into tea, but you can also eat it whole like other root vegetables.

The nutritional content of dandelion extends to all parts of the plant. Dandelion is a rich source of fiber and many vitamins and minerals.

Dandelion contains potent antioxidants, which may explain many of its medicinal properties.

Antioxidants are compounds that help neutralize free radicals — molecules that are a product of normal metabolism but contribute to chronic disease risk if levels get too high in your body. Therefore, antioxidants are crucial for your overall health (3Trusted Source).

Dandelions contain high levels of the antioxidant beta-carotene, which may protect against cell damage and oxidative stress (4Trusted Source).

They’re also rich in another type of antioxidants called polyphenols, which are found mainly in the flower but occur in the roots, leaves, and stems (5Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Dandelions are a rich source of beta carotene and polyphenol compounds, both of which may neutralize harmful free radicals and protect against chronic disease.

3. May help fight inflammation

Dandelion may reduce inflammation thanks to compounds such as polyphenols.

Inflammation is a natural immune system response to injury or infection. However, long-term inflammation may permanently damage body tissues and DNA.

Some test-tube studies note significantly reduced markers of inflammation in cells treated with compounds extracted from dandelion (6Trusted Source7Trusted Source).

One study in rats determined that a tincture made from dandelion reduced oxidative stress and had cardioprotective effects (8Trusted Source).

Still, human research is needed.

SUMMARY

Limited animal and test-tube research suggests that dandelion has anti-inflammatory properties, though human studies are lacking.

4. May aid in blood sugar management

Chicoric and chlorogenic acid are two bioactive compounds in dandelion that may help decrease blood sugar levels.

Test-tube and animal studies show that these compounds may improve the secretion of insulin — a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels — and the absorption of glucose (sugar) in your muscles.

This process improves insulin sensitivity and reduces blood sugar levels (9Trusted Source).

Chicoric and chlorogenic acid may also limit the digestion of starchy, high carb foods, which may further contribute to dandelion’s ability to lower blood sugar levels (5Trusted Source).

Although these results are encouraging, more research is needed in humans.

SUMMARY

Dandelion contains bioactive compounds that have been shown to reduce blood sugar in animal and test-tube studies. However, human research is still needed.

5. May reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels

Some compounds in dandelion may decrease triglyceride and cholesterol levels, which are key risk factors for heart disease.

Some of the polyphenols in dandelion, such as flavonoids and hydroxycinnamic acid derivatives, may have cholesterol and triglyceride-lowering properties (5Trusted Source).

Another review noted that dandelion may have cardioprotective effects, including lowering cholesterol levels (10Trusted Source).

However, current research is limited to test-tube and animal studies, and studies in humans are needed.

SUMMARY

Some animal studies indicate that dandelion reduces cholesterol and triglyceride levels, but research in humans is needed.

6. May lower blood pressure

Although some claim that dandelion may reduce blood pressure, studies are limited.

In Western medicine, diuretic medications are used to rid the body of excess fluid, which may help decrease blood pressure levels (11Trusted Source).

One older human study found dandelion to be an effective diuretic. However, this study was brief and involved only 17 people (12Trusted Source).

Dandelion also contains potassium, a mineral associated with decreased blood pressure in those with previously elevated levels. Thus, this plant may indirectly affect blood pressure due to its potassium content (1Trusted Source1Trusted Source0Trusted Source).

Notably, this effect isn’t unique to dandelion — it applies to any potassium-rich food eaten as part of a healthy diet.

SUMMARY

Dandelion may lower blood pressure as a result of its diuretic effect and potassium content. However, very little research is available.

7. May promote liver health

Some animal studies suggest that dandelion extract may protect against liver damage and disease.

One animal study found that dandelion root extract helped prevent liver damage in rats with induced liver failure (13Trusted Source).

Other animal studies have shown that dandelion extract may reduce excess fat stored in the liver and safeguard against oxidative stress (5Trusted Source).

However, human research is needed.

SUMMARY

Animal studies indicate that dandelion may protect against liver damage, but more research is needed in humans.

8. May aid weight loss

Some research indicates that dandelions and their compounds may support weight control, though the data isn’t conclusive.

Some researchers suggest that dandelion’s ability to improve carbohydrate metabolism and reduce fat absorption may lead to weight loss. However, this theory has yet to be scientifically proven (14Trusted Source).

One study in mice also suggests that dandelion extract may aid weight management by reducing fat absorption (15Trusted Source).

Another study in mice found that chlorogenic acid, a compound found in dandelion, reduced body weight, decreased fat accumulation, and altered levels of specific proteins involved in weight control (16Trusted Source).

Still, more high quality research with humans is necessary.

SUMMARY

Some animal studies note that dandelion compounds may support weight control, but no human studies have evaluated this effect.

9. May have anticancer effects

Perhaps one of the most intriguing health claims about dandelion extract is its potential to prevent the growth of cancerous cells in various organ systems.

A 4-week study in rats showed that administering dandelion root extract modified specific pathways involved in suppressing the growth and spread of breast cancer cells (17Trusted Source).

Other test-tube studies have found that dandelion root extract may slow the growth of cancer cells in liver, colon, prostate, and stomach tissue (18Trusted Source19Trusted Source20Trusted Source21).

These findings are encouraging, but human research is lacking.

SUMMARY

Several test-tube studies have determined that dandelion extract may slow the growth of certain types of cancer. However, research is needed in humans.

10. May support healthy digestion and treat constipation

Dandelion is often used in traditional medicine to treat constipation and improve digestive health.

One older animal study found a significant increase in the rates of stomach contractions and stomach emptying in rats treated with dandelion extract (22Trusted Source).

Dandelion root is also a rich source of the prebiotic fiber inulin, which has been shown to reduce constipation and promote the movement of food through the digestive system (2Trusted Source3Trusted Source).

Furthermore, with more than 3 grams of fiber per cooked cup (105 grams), dandelion greens may bump up your fiber intake. Fiber supports bowel regularity and protects against various digestive conditions, including hemorrhoids and diverticulitis (24Trusted Source25Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Dandelion is rich in fiber and prebiotic compounds such as inulin — both of which may support bowel regularity, among other digestive benefits.

11. May boost immune health

Some research indicates that dandelion may have antimicrobial and antiviral properties, which may support your body’s ability to fight infection.

Several test-tube studies have found that dandelion extract significantly reduces viruses’ ability to replicate (26Trusted Source27Trusted Source28).

Research also indicates that some active compounds in dandelion protect against harmful bacteria and fungi (2Trusted Source8Trusted Source2Trusted Source9Trusted Source).

Ultimately, more research is needed in humans.

SUMMARY

Although research in humans is lacking, some test-tube studies suggest that dandelion has antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties.

12. May be a useful skin care treatment

Animal and test-tube research notes that dandelion extract may protect against skin damage caused by sunlight, aging, and acne.

In one study, a fermented broth of dandelion extract prevented skin damage when applied just before or immediately after exposure to UVB radiation, which is the radiation you get from sunlight (30Trusted Source).

An older test-tube study showed that dandelion root extract increased the generation of new skin cells, which may support your skin’s appearance as you age (31Trusted Source).

Additionally, older research indicates that dandelion extract may reduce skin inflammation and irritation while increasing hydration and collagen production. This may be useful in preventing and treating certain types of acne (32Trusted Source).

However, recent research on the effects of dandelion on skin health is lacking, and studies are limited to test tubes and animals.

SUMMARY

Animal and test-tube studies suggest that dandelion may protect against skin damage caused by sun damage, aging, and acne. Further research in humans is needed.

13. May support healthy bones

Very little research has been conducted on dandelion’s effect on bone health, though some of its nutrients contribute to maintaining strong, healthy bones.

Dandelion greens are a good source of calcium and vitamin K, which play a crucial role in bone health (33Trusted Source34Trusted Source).

One small study linked an increased intake of vitamin K-rich leafy green vegetables to lower blood levels of osteocalcin, a protein found in your bones. This suggests that eating more leafy greens, such as dandelion, may help prevent bone loss (35Trusted Source).

Inulin, a fiber found in dandelion root, may also support healthy bones by improving digestion and gut health (3Trusted Source6Trusted Source).

Additionally, some research suggests that the antioxidants in dandelion and other greens play a key role in bone health and protect against bone loss by decreasing oxidative stress (37Trusted Source38Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Research on dandelion’s effects on bone health is lacking, though some components of the plant may support maintaining strong bones.

Dosage and supplement forms

People often consume dandelion leaves, stems, and flowers in their natural state. You can eat them cooked or raw. The root is usually dried, ground, and used as a tea or coffee substitute.

Dandelion is also available as a supplement in capsule, extract, or tincture form.

Currently, there are no clear dosage guidelines, as very little human research has been conducted. However, available data suggests the following dosages for different forms of dandelion (39Trusted Source):

  • Fresh leaves: 4–10 grams daily
  • Dried leaves: 4–10 grams daily
  • Leaf tincture: 0.4–1 teaspoon (2–5 mL) three times per day
  • Fresh leaf juice: 1 teaspoon (5 mL) twice daily
  • Fluid extract: 1–2 teaspoons (5–10 mL) daily
  • Fresh roots: 2–8 grams daily
  • Dried powder: 250–1,000 mg four times per day

SUMMARY

No clear dosage guidelines for dandelion supplements exist, as research is limited. Various forms of dandelion may require different doses.

Possible risks and side effects

Dandelion plants have low toxicity and are likely safe for most people, especially when consumed as food (40

Trusted Source).Trusted Source41Trusted SourceTrusted Source42).Trusted Source).SUMMARY

However, remember that research is still limited and that dandelion isn’t entirely risk-free.

This plant may cause allergic reactions, particularly in people with allergies to related plants such as ragweed. Contact dermatitis may also occur in those with sensitive skin (40

According to an older review, dandelion may also interact with medications, including certain antibiotics, anticoagulants, and blood sugar drugs. If you’re taking prescription medications, consider consulting a healthcare professional before taking dandelion (43

Dandelion is likely safe for most people. However, it may cause allergic reactions and interact with certain medications.

 REPRODUCTION
Each  flower produces the head of seeds, each with their own little parachute...that we are all familiar with, and does so asexually without pollinization.  

Googling Dandelions you will find wome interesting videos that help us understand this quite misunderstood plant. 

************

Now to ANOTHER BEAUTY we enjoy amidst the sagebrush, 
and scrub oak for at least the first half of each summer....


......it is  is the 
LONG LEAF   PHLOX 


OTHER THAN WARMING OUR HEARTS, 
the PHLOX is also beneficial....GOOGLING it we learn:  
Wild Blue Phlox had a few medicinal uses. A tea made from the entire plant was used for treating stomach and intestinal disorders. A leaf tea was used as either a blood purifier or for treating boils and eczema. The roots were steeped and were used as eyewash.
EDIBLE?
The leaves can be cooked as a green, and the water used as a tea that controls blood glucose. The bitter fruit is edible cooked and red arils around the seed –the arils not the seed — are edible and nearly all lycopene. And the fragrant blossoms can be used for flavoring.

****************
Then  back down again  TO THE TRAILHEAD....and SURPRISE, 
SURPRISE finding again this great woman warming up for her hike way up the mountain.....


NOTE:  I took the following pictures in the Fall of 2016  (Nov. 13th) before my hiking got complicated, and insert them here representing the hike of the special woman who was heading up the mountain.......  

....far past the VALLEY VIEW SPOT,  and to the waterfalls.....




.......to where there is a bench with a plaque remembering a 48 year old hiker who lost his life up here in 2002,
2002,


.......then a bridge crossing the creek and working up into the conifers and the Quaking Aspens our Utah State Tree the ones in the picture had lost their leaves already as 
I took  these pictures on  November 13th!



Since with the above detour from 2023 explorations, 
here actually up in the Quaking Aspens, 
best also mention another somewhat worrisome plant found 
up in this area, and photographed back when my hikes 
took me up here. 
It is 
STINGING NETTLE

It  is a herbaceous perennial flowering plant, originally from  Europe,  temperate Asia and western North Africa but is now found worldwide.

GENERALLY most know the plant because of suffering it has caused us, as explained quite well in:

https://www.britannica.com/plant/stinging-nettle

The stinging trichomes of the leaves and stems have bulbous tips that break off when brushed against, revealing needlelike tubes that pierce the skin. They inject a mix of acetylcholineformic acidhistamine, and serotonin, causing an itchy, burning rash in humans and other animals that may last up to 12 hours. Hunting dogs running through stinging nettle thickets have been poisoned, sometimes lethally, by the massive accumulation of stings. This defense mechanism is an effective deterrent against most large herbivores, though the plant is important food for several butterfly species and aphids. The dried plant can be used as livestock feed, and heating or cooking the fresh leaves renders them safe for consumption.
The above noted website goes on saying:
Stinging nettle has a long history of use as a medicinal herb and is still used in folk medicine for a wide array of disorders, though there is limited clinical evidence supporting its efficacy. The rootstock is used as a diuretic and as an herbal treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia (prostate enlargement) and other urinary disorders. Tea made from the leaves has been used to treat hay feverdiabetesgout, and arthritis, and fresh stinging leaves are sometimes applied to arthritic joints in a process known as urtification, which is said to stimulate blood flow. Topical creams have also been developed for joint pain and various skin ailments, including eczema and dandruff

In the foothills I have only found one mostly dried up 
Stinging Nettle plant. 
 I'll try and find the picture I took, and if successful I'll insert
 it here.
Here it is along one of the trails leading to the Trailhead.

*******************

Now back to 2023 at the Trailhead, there was an 
early blossoming of the 
ARROW-LEAFED BALSAMROOT 
on May 5th.

If I recall this is the only one of its kind I've seen and
 photographed near Grove Canyon.


GOOGLE tells us: 
Medicinally, Native Americans used the large coarse balsamroot leaves as a poultice for burns. Some tribes boiled the roots for a medicinal tea for tuberculosis and whooping cough, rheumatism, headaches, insect bites. Other tribes made an infusion to use as a poultice for wounds, cuts and bruises.

The roots may be baked or steamed and eaten, as well as the young shoots. The immature flower stems could be peeled and eaten; the flowers themselves are good browse for wildlife. Balsamroot seeds are nutritious and oil-rich, another good source of food. The root could be used as a coffee substitute.
The roots are tough and woody and taste like balsam. To make them more palatable, the Indians would bake them several days in a fire pit.
********************

Now up the trail to the foothills I've tread too many times to count in my at least every other day hike and see what kind of treasures I find  I can share with you. 


We go from the yellow GIANT Arrow-leafed Balsomroot  above to a very tiny yellow one to the right of the trail.


I should have included this tiny flowering plant 
in Chapter 1 as it was blossoming in April.  It is the 
SAND BURR or GRASS BURR or 
STICKY BURR plant

**************


This beautiful very common flower is called 
BINDWEED, 
often thought to be Morning Glory.  It is one of the early bloomers, and lasts all summer and into the Fall, with numbers that place it pretty well at the top of the numbers list in all of the Foothills.
  


 GOOGLE says:  Meadow Bindweed is a member of the Morning Glory or Convolvulaceae family and contains poisonous alkaloids including pseudotropine.Despite safety concerns, people take greater bindweed for treating fever, urinary tract problems, and constipation; and for increasing bile production.   Flower tea used to reduce fever and heal wounds. Flowers are also laxatives. Roots have strong emetic effects. Root tea is a laxative.



.....and BINDWEED's uniquely pretty seed producing stage.



********************

In May also springs into life the 
AMERICAN VETCH
 with it's wonderfully beautiful flowers.



How could any flower be prettier?



And, its reproductive system.


https://www.americanmeadows.com/content/grass-and-groundcover-seeds/vetch-seeds/plant-vetch-as-cover-crop-and-reap-benefits

TEACHES US:
Plant Vetch as a Cover Crop and Reap the Benefits

If you are looking for a workhorse cover crop, look no further than vetch. Few legumes contribute as much nitrogen or biomass to the garden. Vetch produces an abundance of vining stems and fine foliage that help protect soils from wind and rain, while improving structure and adding nutrients. Plant vetch as a cover crop or green manure and reap the rewards of healthy, thriving soil.

Plant Vetch to Fix Nitrogen in the Soil

All plants need nitrogen to grow. Nitrogen is an essential component of proteins, DNA, and chlorophyll, the compound used to power photosynthesis. Without nitrogen plants could not produce or use energy and life as we know it would not exist. Luckily, our atmosphere is composed of 78% nitrogen. But plants can’t use nitrogen from the air. That’s where legumes come in.

Legumes are plants belonging to the bean and pea family. These plants contain beneficial bacteria called Rhizobia within nodules on their roots. With the help of Rhizobia, legumes fix nitrogen, converting atmospheric nitrogen from the soil into organic compounds that the plants use to grow. When the legumes die, the ‘fixed’ nitrogen is then released into the soil where it can be used by other plants. This is a natural source of fertilizer often called green manure.


From:

WHAT CAN AMERICAN VETCH BE USED FOR
The edible plarts of American Vetch are the young shoots of the plant when cooked and the seeds from the pods.  There are other types of pea-like plants that are not considered edible so it is essential that you are careful in identifying the plant before foraging!  Since it has obvious pea pods, vetch can be a commonly misidentified plant, and people might eat non edible varieties. So be careful when foraging for peas!
Vetch can also be used for medicinal purposes. It has antiseptic properties when mashed up into a paste and rubbed onto the body, or brewed into tea.

********************
Below appears a stunning flower
   that blossomed high on the hills in June, appropiately named 
DESERT PLUME 
or 
GOLDEN PRINCES PLUME




Up high on the way to the VALLEY VIEW SPOT on a later hike there was one plant along the trail and I noticed it's leaves were apparently liked by one of our friends from the insect world as seen below.






It decorated the very steepest slopes all summer and finally called it quits in late September 

The long, narrow seed pods carry the seeds which 
I have collected, and explain in Chapter 3 why I went back 
on a cold November day to get more seeds, and show 
a picture of what I came back with.  

Also...
...see Chapter 3 for 
edible and medicinal uses of this plant.
**********

SOMEWHERE AROUND MID-JUNE I ALL OF A SUDDEN NOTICED A TINY SPOT OF BRILLIANT ORANGE AT MY FEET AND CLICKED THE SHOT BELOW...... 


......then zoomed in.


.....and I pleasantly welcomed the blossoming of the 
SCARLET GLOBEMALLOW




SEED REPRODUCTION 
Below we see the plant in the seed production stage with seeds inside the round seed pods.  Each plant usually produces about 1,800 seeds each year.  



I somehow failed this year (2023) getting photographs of the dried seed pods, as well as not gathering any for my collection of seeds of important plants of the foothills, but I'll remedy that next year and insert photographs

In an interesting article in the
Santa Fe Botanical Garden
 Article by Susan Bruneni

I got the following information on Scarlet Globemallow

Native Americans subsisted on the roots when other food was scarce.

The Northern Cheyenne and Dakota tribes used scarlet globemallow in their ceremonies. It was also used to rub hands to prevent scalds when removing meat from boiling water. (Please do not try this at home!)

The Dakota and Blackfoot Indians used a paste made from scarlet globemallow as a cooling agent for burns, scalds, and sores.  A tea  was used as a lotion for skin diseases, and a tonic to improve appetite.  The Navajo used a tea for improving the taste of bitter medicinal herbs. Crushed leaves were used as a poultice for skin irritations and a shoe liner for blistered feet.  Leonora Curtin wrote about similar uses of globemallows in New Mexico.


Late in the season..October 18th  there are signs of this beautiful wildflower plant still trying to grow....AGAIN...as seen below with a new plant sprouting....

******************

Early on I photographed the plant below all too familiar for most of us, in fact I've got one right outside my backdoor, but I followed it's development and.....


......wasn't surprised at all to find it had many tiny beautiful flowers,
 as well as an interesting decoration on the edge of its leaves....all worth focusing on.  Because of its leaves it is named 
PRICKLY LETTUCE. 
I'll insert below the flowers a picture of its leaves.


We can see that often there are clusters of this tiny flower. 




Lastly comes the reproductive phase which we see below. 


**************

Also just outside my back door I couldn't resist taking a portrait of this cute little bunny rabbit that is a cross betweeen....at least its tail saying it's part Cottontail, crossed with who knows what.  We are developing some new breeds in American Fork.

************
In late Winter, February  21-23, 2024 I began finding another perrenial plant sprouting and coming to life with a beautiful leaf.



By  May (2023) this plant had developed into a real beauty we see below, with a fascinating leaf.  It shows what I hope I've convinced you off that 
LEAVES CAN BE ALMOST AS INTERESTING AS FLOWERS.


See what I'm saying?



Of course by early June the plant blossomed and continued blossoming 
for more than a month decorating  our hills with wonderful color from the wonderful wildflower called....
UTAH SWEETVETCH


You will see how important and wonderful this wildflower is 
when you see it used on the title page for CHAPTER 3, so let's learn about it to make understandable why I used it in such an important part of this book.  


From GREAT BASIN SEED, 
https://greatbasinseeds.com/product/utah-sweetvetch/  
we learn:  
Utah Sweetvetch, also known as Northern Sweetvetch, is a native perennial, cool season, herbaceous legume with deep taproots and several lateral roots. It blooms bright white, pinkish, purplish flowers and can grow to be 2 feet tall. This forb is adaptable to most anywhere in the US as is can grow in elevations of 3,000 to 5,000 feet. Grows best on soils ranging from sandy to clay. Utah Sweetvetch provides good palatability for wildlife and livestock and is valuable for range and wildlife habitat improvement. It is a legume capable of fixing nitrogen from the atmosphere.
It can be used as a complimentary species in rangeland seedings. It is considered succulent and its foliage is highly palatable to livestock and big game. Utah Sweetvetch also provides important habitat attributes for sage grouse. It has been rated as medium for cover value and excellent for food value.

 We  see that they are about as beautiful 
as anything could be!


After about a month of blossoming, the plant enters 
the reproduction phase with unique seeds as seen below.


FACT SHEET: Utah Sweetvetch
https://www.unps.org/plant%20data%20base/plant%20sheets/hebo.html

 Instead of the usual pea pod, its seeds are borne in flattened, one-seeded segments called "loments", that are strung together like beads. The seeds are harvested by stripping the loments when they turn straw-colored. It can be quite a job to extract the seeds from these loments. For field seeding, they can be sown loment and all.


The Utah Sweet Vetch is an important component of sage grouse habitat. The roots were used as food by northern tribes and also as a substitute for licorice. It has the ability to fix nitrogen and improve the quality of the soil.

Wikipedia says:
The wild plant was considered poisonous by some Native American groups, but it was utilized as a food source, particularly the roots,[8] which taste like licorice.[6]

We learn from:

Edible, sort of

Bears aren’t the only ones who like Sweet-Vetch roots. The Indigenous peoples of North America ate Hedysarum. Sweet-Vetch can be eaten raw (they have a bit of a sweet, liquorice like flavour), or boiled, or baked, or fried — and then they taste like carrots. The Yellow variety is not nearly as tasty to us, so look for the Northern or Alpine species (but no picking plants in the Parks).

I have already scattered some of these seeds, 
as well as others from most of the magnificent Wildflowers 
and wild shrubs 
I have featured around my Cabin A, and look forward to 2024 
with my kind of rustic landscaping decorating my home site. Since this is originally 
an online BOOK, I'll add pictures of some of the results of my efforts.  

DO YOUR RESEARCH CAREFULLY 
************
On my way up to the VALLEY VIEW SPOT, after discovering the bush 
with the impressive yellow flowers, and thereafter the Utah Sweetvetch, 
I also found this small tree, maybe classified as a bush,  but it is
CRAB APPLE





The end to an amazing season for the CRAB APPLE comes in October.

*****************************

When going up there again to get the pictures of the fruit, 
I noticed a BRILLIANT FLASH OF RED and found the first 
INDIAN PAINTBRUSH 
to blossom.



DESERT PAINTBRUSH

This one is a different variety with a slightly different red color 
both incredibly wonderful.

What I call INDIAN PAINTBRUSH is an example of some confusion I find in my three reference books, and not just for this wildflower.  There are apparently 200 varieties of Paintbrush, one of them the Wyoming Paintbrush which is the Wyoming State Flower.   
However, the NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY  Field Guide to Wildflowers, doesn't mention that nor does it have in its index "Indian Paintbrush,"  just Paintbrush, but my other two reference books do.

But one interesting fact mentioned is that it is a semi-parasite the roots growing until they touch the roots of other plants, such as sagebrush, and pentrate the roots and acquire some of their nourishment from their neighbor(s).  
*****
Later I returned to get a picture of the 
REPRODUCTION SYSTEM 
with the seeds seen below


******************

Now we come to a small tree or bush 
that will be
 the featured vegetation of the foothills for this Chapter 2
CLIFF ROSE
We begin early when almost all of the vegetation is still dormant from the long Winter..
..our CLIFF ROSE in the dead cenrter.   Two months later the scene has drastically changed.


It is the lone tree on the cliffs high above as we see in the 
picture below, 
but of course, lucky for me, it is found 
scattered all around in the 
desert-like environment where I could get to it easily 
and follow its amazing development.




So, the Cliff Rose shown in the opening panel will be followed throughout the season,  
it blossoming with a flower I'll enlarge below that someone imagined looking like a rose.


It's wood is twisted and turned....you'll see below why that is important for my use of it..
.. covered by stringy bark that the Native Americans used for various purposes......
From:  https://www.angelfire.com/art/nativeherb/cliffrose.html  
we get the following information:

Latin Name: Cowania stansburiana or mexicana    Common names: Quinine bush

HISTORY:

Cliffrose has been useful for many purposes since the time of the Maya, and is still being used today by contemporary Native American tribes. Cliffrose bark shreds easily and has traditionally been used for cradleboard stuffing by both the Navajo and Hopi. It is also one of the important dye plants for making a tan colored dye for rug weaving. Cliffrose is a medium to tall bush that grows frequently on hillsides, rocky slopes and cliffs- that's why it has the name "Cliffrose"! The leaves are small, crinkly and leathery, and the bark of older bushes is “shreddy” and grayish. It blooms profusely in May, with cream colored flowers that produce an intoxicating orange blossom-like scent. It produces long, showy seed plumes in the fall, shading from white to rosy pink.

USES:

The chopped and boiled stems and leaves make a somewhat bitter cough suppressant, and can be used to wash wounds and treat various skin problems. Gather the leaves and small stems early in the spring if possible, before the strength of the plant goes to flowers and seeds. Dry before using- the old "Brown Bag It and Forget It" method works fine. A tea may be made, but if you use the flowers, be sure to remove the bitter green calyx .

CAUTIONS:

Another fairly benign plant. Native Americans chew and swallow the bitter leaves to induce vomiting in case of stomach ache or nausea, so it seems sensible to brew a weak tea until individual tolerance is determined.

ALWAYS:

Be sure of the identity of the plant before you use it. If a preparation makes you sick or gives you a rash, don't use it, and throw it away! If your condition does not improve, see your doctor. Be sure to let your physician know EVERYTHING that you are taking! 


My liking and use of Cliff Rose is because of its beautiful wood you see above in this case  used as legs for a coffee table.  In a few years when the hiking gets a bit too difficult I might just do this again, along with using Gambles Oak to make the most marvelously rustic picture frames.


The REPRODUCTIVE STAGE 
begins this way, after blossoming,  the flowers send out feathery plumes 
each of which will be attached to a seed that as the flower dries will be 
carried all over by the wind.



It gets beautifully extreme and then begins tappering off.

With my zoom lens we focus way up high in the cliffs and high ridges 
and get a picture of  Cliff Rose totally loaded by the feathery plumes.




The flowers dry the wind carries away plumes with their seeds, a process that goes on for a month 
or more until their purpose has been fulfilled.




October sees all the surrounding vegetation turning into Autumn colors, including in the forfront RABBIT BRUSH with  its flash of awakening color

November 8
....while others go from yellow to red, and from green to yellow. 
A WONDERFUL TIME OF YEAR 
heading to Halloween, and then Thansgiving when this book will most likely end, with the oncoming Winter. 
NOTE:
I was wrong above as Thanksgiving wasn't the end. I continued to do hikes in December to show further evolution of the Foothills, even with the cold of Winter. If I can survive hikes in the winter, at least when there is sun and not too extreme cold it will make me even stronger for 2024.
 

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Backing up to early summer and my hikes to discover new plants to begin following them as well as do follow-up on all the previous ones found, the next one photographed and seen below in previous years in the foothills of Springville and Provo was  declared by me at that time as 
"THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WILDFLOWER OF THE FOOTHILLS."
It is 
Sainfoin or Holy Clover
always from the Pea family. The Google info goes on to say:
Sainfoin is a legume, with a bright pink flower (although they can also be white or purple), and leaves with 11-21 leaflets. It may grow a little taller than alfalfa in certain environments, but a lot of times we are seeing similar production results.


Sainfoin is today planted and 
harvested much the same as alfalfa.


The flower doesn't last too long, and eventually follows 
the law of nature on to the 
REPRODUCTIVE STAGE
with interesting seeds that I saved a bunch of to see if 
I can replace the disliked weeds I have around my tiny house.


HEALTH BENEFITS
https://www.healthbenefitstimes.com/sainfoin/
explains: 
Health benefitsSupport diabetes, neurotic disorders, hypochondriacal conditions, sleep disorders, impotence, constipation, colitis and menopause
DO YOUR RESEARCH TO LEARN MORE 
& HOW TO USE
NOTE:  In past years in the foothills in the Springville/Provo area I came to know this wildflower as Steppe Sweetpea but now in 2023 I'm not sure how I concluded that.  The point is that I now realize the real identity of this plant is SAINFOIN or Holy Clover. I'm doing my best to go through the book and correct this mistake.
*********************
You'll notice in the picture below, and others of the actual climb up to this SPOT were early in the season (May) before the scrub oak had come to life, as well as many other plants.


WOW!  I limped up here again to end this Chapter 2....
.....but it won't be the last time  as I've learned 
"I HAVE TO KEEP MOVING.....or DIE!"

So, Chapter 3 will show my attempt to go the short way....
....STRAIGHT UP THE MOUNTAIN....
....but of course it's the most dangerous.  I will be frank about how it went and sometimes 
had me at a dead end with no safe way out....and how it turned out.

From high above Pleasant Grove and the Grove Creek Trailhead in late summer
we get a "fish eye lens" glimpse of pretty near the entire 
Utah Valley,
 on the far left the foothills of Timpanogos, next Provo Peak in the clouds and Y Mountain, then in the far distance Mt. Nebo, and on  across the Valley north to West Mountain on whose slopes is found Saratoga Springs, then the Oquirrh Mountains at the foot of which is the city of Eagle Mountain.
So, in this picture we are seeing Pleasant Grove, Lindon, Orem, Provo, Springville, Mapleton,  Spanish Fork, Salem, Woodland Hills, Payson, Santaquin, and coming back to the north, Saratoga Springs, and behind West Mountain,  Eagle Mountain, Cedar Fort, then Lehi, and back to American Fork.
  
NOW WHERE TO?

Likely, with Mike Packard as our pilot, we will glide a bit south to 
BATTLE CREEK CANYON.


So, with Chapter 3.....  
....I will take you on a quick hike up 
BATTLE CREEK CANYON,
and tell the history of  this memorable location as the city of
PLEASANT GROVE was originally named 
"BATTLE CREEK" 
 location of the  1st fight between the 
Native Americans and the Mormon pioneers. 



Then, back to the Grove Creek Trailhead to begin my attempt to go straight up 
the ridge to the VALLEY VIEW SPOT, with unique 
VISIONS of NATURE 
along the way, and then on with some of the most rarely seen creations of nature.

WOW!  I LIMPED MY WAY THROUGH ANOTHER CHAPTER...with CHAPTER 3 coming up in a week or so and hoping and praying that you will enjoy  the wonderful 
DIVINE VISIONS of NATURE..
..that will feature my most difficult and dangerous climb to the
VALLEY VIEW SPOT...

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click to 
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