Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja), August 2017, Pike National Forest, Hayman fire zone

This time-lapse was taken in Pike National Forest for a two week period. It features Colorado wildflower Castilleja, also known as Indian Paintbrush. This fire-tolerant plant can re-sprout from its rhizome (underground stem) and disperse its wind-carried seeds after a fire. The images below feature various storms that took place during the time-lapse. 

Blazing Star (Liatris punctuate), August 2014, Pike National Forest, Hayman fire zone

Blazing star sends up spires of purple blooms. This flower is an important nectar source for the endangered skipper butterfly (Hesperus leonardus montana). Its population distribution corresponds almost exactly with blazing star occurrence. Rocky Mountain elk, white-tailed deer, pronghorns, and rodents eat this plant. American Indians used its carrot-flavored root for food. Blazing stars have a persistent root, called a rhizome, which is resistant to fast moving fires. Fire enhances seed establishment by removing deep litter and the sprouts emerge earlier due to greater light and heat at the surface.


Blanket Flower, August 2013, Pike National Forest, Hayman fire zone

This time-lapse features life renewed on the forest floor of the Hayman fire (2002) area near Deckers, Colorado, eleven years after the fire. In the beginning of the video there is a small fire that forms on the background slopes towards the end of a rainstorm.

The name blanket flower is most likely derived from the quilted appearance of its red and yellow flowers similar to the patterns found in mid-West Native American blankets. A beautiful legend involving the origin of the blanket flower is described in the following. There was a blanket maker whose talents were admired among the Great Plains Indians. They would travel for many miles to trade for one of his red and yellow patterned blankets. When the blanket maker became very old, he wove his own burial blanket as a gift to the Great Spirit. When he passed, the Great Spirit was very pleased with the gift and decided to give the beautiful gift back to those that the blanket maker left behind. The following spring gorgeous red and yellow wildflowers quickly spread across the plains for all to enjoy. The profusion of these blooms in this legend is reminiscent of this flower's natural growth patterns. Blanketflower dramatically increases within one year of a fire. They also decrease and become more uncommon in areas that have not experienced a burn in decades.


Fireweed, August 2011, Pike National Forest, Hayman fire zone

The name Fireweed was derived from its abundance as a colonizer on burnt sites. Fireweed is adapted to fire through its rhizomes, which are root structures buried deep underground that protect the plant from lethal temperatures.


Musk Thistle, July 2011, Pike National Forest, Hayman fire zone

Musk Thistle is an invasive plant species and a prolific seed producer; it can create 20,000 seeds in one year. Fire creates favorable conditions for Musk Thistle as it tends to reproduce rapidly in high light environments. Plans to prevent the plant from crowding out native species and desirable forage involve maintaining healthy desirable vegetation, integrating herbicides and biological control agents, and by simply removing the root below the soil. 


Scarlet Trumpet, August 2010, Pike National Forest, Hayman fire zone

The species name for the flower featured in this time-lapse is "aggregate," Latin for brought together since the flowers form in clusters. Its common name, scarlet trumpet is due to the individual flower's trumpet-like shape. It’s not a surprise that this is the only video in which I captured deer since they love to eat this flower. One of its main pollinators is the hummingbird, mostly Rufous and Broad-tail.