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U.S. Forest Service

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.

  • Eucephalus engelmanii

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

  • Geranium viscosissimum.

    Geranium viscosissimum, sticky geranium. Photo by Teresa Prendusi.

  • Ligusticum spp., 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 in Wyoming.

    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.

  • Rudbeckia occidentalis

    Rudbeckia occidentalis, mountain coneflower. Photo by Teresa Prendusi.

  • Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale

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

  • Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale

    Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). Photo by Teresa Prendusi.

  • Wyethia amplexicaulis and Geranium viscosissimum

    Wyethia amplexicaulis and Geranium viscosissimum. Photo by Teresa Prendusi.

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