Meet the Tall Forbs - Photo Gallery

Historically, Tall forb communities were common throughout the mountainous regions of Utah, western Wyoming, Idaho, and western Colorado. Variation in site conditions and species composition within the former range is impressive and at least 8-12 community sub-types are now recognized within the Tall forb type.

Pristine Flora

The healthiest sites (those with deep, loamy, moist soils), so-called “climax” or “late seral” conditions, display an impressive mix of very tall co-dominant species such as licorice root (Ligusticum spp.), horsemint (Agastache urticifolia), tall larkspur (Delphinium occidentale), sticky geranium (Geranium viscosissimum), valerian (Valeriana occidentalis), to name but a few.

Agastache ligusticum
Agastache ligusticum, Delphinium. Photo by Teresa Prendusi.

Delphinium occidentale and Ligusticum filicinum
Delphinium occidentale and Ligusticum filicinum, Wyoming. Photo by Susan Marsh.

Delphinium occidentale
Delphinium occidentale, tall larkspur. Photo by Teresa Prendusi.

Madia glomerata
Eucephalus engelmanii, Engelmann's aster. Photo by Teresa Prendusi.

Geranium viscosissimum.
Geranium viscosissimum, sticky geranium. Photo by Teresa Prendusi.

Ben Lomond Peak, Utah
Ligusticum sp., Ben Lomond Peak, Utah. Photo by Teresa Prendusi.

Osmorhiza occidentalis
Osmorhiza occidentalis, sweet cicely. Photo by Teresa Prendusi.

Polemonium foliosissimum
Polemonium foliosissimum, Jacob's ladder. Photo by Teresa Prendusi.

Tall Forb flower bouquet on Grayback Ridge.
Tall Forb flower bouquet on Grayback Ridge. Photo by Susan Marsh.

Tall forb riot of color.
Tall forb riot of color. Photo by Susan Marsh.

Tall Forb Research Natural Area
Tall Forb Research Natural Area. Note height of plants, including horsemint, larkspur, and licorice root. Photo by Susan Marsh.

Thalictrum fendleri
Thalictrum fendleri, meadow rue. Photo by Teresa Prendusi.

Valeriana occidentalis.
Valeriana occidentalis, western valerian. Photo by Teresa Prendusi.

Remnant Flora

In drier settings (open areas with shallower, more xeric soils), additional new flowers, generally less than 3.5 feet tall, come into the mix, including lupine (Lupinus argenteus), various Penstemon and Castilleja species, Nuttall’s linanthus (Leptosiphon nuttallii), Cutleaf balsamroot (Balsamorhiza macrophylla), goldeneye (Viguiera multiflora), little sunflower (Helianthella uniflora), and many more. These are prime areas for protection and future restoration of tall forb communities.

A woman walking among a field of tall forb blooms.
Among the flowers in Wyoming. Photo by Susan Marsh.

Balsamorhiza macropylla
Balsamorhiza macropylla, cutleaf balsamroot. Photo by Teresa Prendusi.

Erigeron speciosus
Erigeron speciosus, aspen fleabane. Photo by Teresa Prendusi.

Eriogonum heracleoides
Eriogonum heracleoides, parsnipflower buckwheat. Photo by Teresa Prendusi.

Hackelia floribunda.
Hackelia floribunda, manyflower stickseed. Photo by Teresa Prendusi.

Oneflower heliathella, Willard Peak, Utah
Helianthella uniflora, oneflower heliathella, Willard Peak, Utah. Photo by Teresa Prendusi.

Jacob's ladder and lupine, Albion Basin
Jacob's ladder and lupine, Albion Basin, Utah. Photo by Teresa Prendusi.

Leptosiphon nuttallii and Nuttalls linanthus
Leptosiphon nuttallii and Nuttalls linanthus. Photo by Teresa Prendusi.

Lupinus argenteus.
Lupinus argenteus, silver lupine. Photo by Teresa Prendusi.

Mertensia arizonica.
Mertensia arizonica. Photo by Teresa Prendusi.

Penstemon and Castilleja species.
Penstemon and Castilleja species. Photo by Teresa Prendusi.

Penstemon, larkspur, geranium, and sagebrush.
Penstemon, larkspur, geranium, and sagebrush. Photo by Teresa Prendusi.

Penstemon rydbergii on Mt. Harrison..
Penstemon rydbergii on Mt. Harrison. Photo by Teresa Prendusi.

Wasatch penstemon and swallowtail butterfly.
Wasatch penstemon and swallowtail butterfly. Photo by Teresa Prendusi.

Degraded Sites

On poor, dry sites, where recovery will remain a challenge, mostly short-statured plants such as mule’s ears (Wyethia amplexicaulis), Rydberg’s penstemon (Penstemon rydbergii), coneflower (Rudbeckia occidentalis), as well as weedy dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) and invasive tarweed (Madia glomerata) dominate. Grasses and shrub species very often move into these areas and are generally more abundant.

Achillea millefolium
Achillea millefolium, yarrow. Photo by Teresa Prendusi.

Delphinium nelsonii
Delphinium nelsonii, Nelson's larkspur. Photo by Teresa Prendusi.

Franklin Basin
Franklin Basin: short-statures wildflowers on a dry site. Photo by Ann Keysor.

Madia glomerata
Madia glomerata, tarweed. Photo courtesy of Forestry Images.

Tarweed infested site.
Tarweed (Madia glomerata) infested site. Photo courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management.

Aquilegia desertorum
Rudbeckia occidentalis, mountain coneflower. Photo by Teresa Prendusi.

Aquilegia elegantula
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), infestation. Photo courtesy of Forestry Images.

Aquilegia eximia
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). Photo by Teresa Prendusi.

Aquilegia canadensis
Wyethia amplexicaulis and Geranium viscosissimum. Photo by Teresa Prendusi.

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