|Anthers decorate the surface of its flowerheads. The "spikes" are the awns of each spikelet|
We hiked the famous Hidden Lake trail in Glacier National Park's Logan Pass (in Montana, USA) a few days back, and the path to the lake was through absolutely gorgeous and vast meadows.
Wildflowers were in bloom, and the land was covered in a riot of colors. The trail itself was a combination of raised boardwalks and packed earth, and along the sides I noticed grass flowerheads that I at first thought were from Phleum pratense (Timothy grass).
|Meadows to Hidden Lake|
But these were much smaller and shorter, and some had a dark color as they matured that I had not seen in the more common species.
When I started taking macro shots I discovered that the flowerheads were a beautiful purplish color under magnification. I typed it as Phleum alpinum, a circumboreal species that normally inhabits alpine and subalpine wetland environments.
This small cutie is a perennial that has awned glumes with one floret per spikelet. It loves less sandy soil, and seemed to form a healthy population up in the meadows of Logan Pass (elev 2000 m). Like many grasses, it seems unassuming at first glance. But a careful examination reveals a hidden beauty, which is made all the more precious by the work needed to uncover their allure.
If you ever visit the park (and I have to say it is one of the more majestic mountain destinations I have ever visited), then be sure to say hi to this cuddly purple blooming grass.
|Peeking up from beside the boardwalk|