Monday, June 24, 2013

Guadalupe Columbine

Guadalupe Columbine blooming
along the creek in McKittrick Canyon
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
This past weekend, three chapters of Texas Master Naturalists (Trans-Pecos from El Paso, Llano Estacado from Midland/Odessa, and Tierra Grande from Big Bend/Davis Mountains) and our own Texas Mountain Trail gathered for the first time to form relationships and discuss possible partnerships including helping Guadalupe Mountains National Park with guided hikes and interpretive programs, especially during the fall color period.

As part of the training we received from park staff, we hiked McKittrick Canyon on Saturday, sharing knowledge with each other along the way.  While crossing the stream in McKittrick Canyon, we found this beauty, known as the Guadalupe Columbine.
Our group crosses the stream in Guadalupe Mountains
National Park McKittrick Canyon, shortly before we
spotted the Guadalupe Columbine
Renowned botanist, Barton Warnock, included the flower in his book, Wildflowers of the Guadalupe Mountains and the Sand Dune Country Texas, with this entry:

Crowfoot Family

"Aquilegia Chaplinei   Indians cooked the roots of this attractive pale yellow flowered perennial herb and used them as a remedy for bruises; infrequent in shaded crevices, on boulders and calcareous soil of moist canyons, especially in North and South McKittrick Canyon of the Guadalupe Mountains National Park; April-November."

Steve West, in his book Northern Chihuahuan Desert Wildflowers, includes the flower with this additional information:

Aquilegia chaplinei
Crowfoot Family (Ranunculaceae)

"Description:  The plant grows up to 19" (48 cm) in height; the leaves are divided.  Pale yellow flowers appear from April to November.
Habitat/Range:  This columbine is one of the beautiful surprises you may encounter while hiking in the Guadalupe Mountains.  Most often, it grows wherever there is permanent water, but it can also be found in moist places where water is not apparent.  This species is easily found in McKittrick Canyon in the Guadalupes or in the adjacent Lincoln National Forest at Sitting Bull Falls, CCNP, GMNP.
Comments:  Diversion of water from these sites could threaten this locally common species."

The McKittrick Canyon trail is on the Far West Texas Wildlife Trail and is part of the Peak Fitness Challenge (and one of our Texas Mountain Trail Heritage Hikes).  Plan to visit Guadalupe Mountains National Park soon! 

1 comment:

gumo said...

I've also seen it growing very well on the moist walls in the grotto further back in McKittrick. Beautiful.