Bill, the assistant curator and I went up into the Natural Area of Red Butte Garden last Friday for our first official hike of the year. It was a rather cool day as a storm was coming in, but the overcast sky allowed for some great photos. As we started up the trail we were welcomed by a friendly ground squirrel.
The first flower we encountered was a small plant called Spring Beauty. Its small, marble-sized corms have been used by Native Americans as a source of food. It is one of the first flowers to bloom immediately after the snow melts.
As we were hiking on Zeke's Trail near the back of the Natural Area we found my favorite native spring flower called Yellow Bells. Like the Spring Beauty, the bulb of Yellow Bells was also used by Native Americans for food.
We continued on Zeke's Trail past the Yellow Bells and decided that it was getting to cold to keep hiking so we headed down the Bennett Vista Trail. We arrived at a bench that had a view of the Salt Lake valley, so we took a rest there and growing all around the bench were Longstalk Spring Parsley and tiny Spring Draba.
Cymopteris longipes Longleaf Springparsley
If you want to catch a glimpse of these early bloomers and possibly more, visit the garden soon before they're spent. Be sure and pick up a trail map from the visitor center before heading out into the Natural Area.