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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Saturday - August 28, 2010

From: Salida, CO
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification of ethereal plant in Colorado
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We live in the south central mountains of Colorado in the upper Arkansas River valley near Salida, Colorado. During the past few weeks we have noticed a very mystic looking plant (flower/grass?) along the roads and trails, mixed in with other native grasses and flowers. But this plant looks like a spider web and when the sun shines on it early in the morning with dew, it appears to be "ground fog", very ethereal and unusual. There are very large patches of it, but it seems to be centered in appx. a 5 square mile area. I can't remember ever seeing it, or anyway noticing it this way, before. Ideas?

ANSWER:

Here are a few possibilities for plants in your area with an ethereal look. 

Fallugia paradoxa (Apache plume)

Elymus elymoides ssp. brevifolius (squirreltail)

Eragrostis trichodes (sand lovegrass) and here are photos.

Muhlenbergia mexicana (Mexican muhly) and here are photos.

If none of these happens to be what you are seeing, please take photos and send them to us and we will do our best to identify the plant.  Visit Mr. Smarty Plants' Plant Identification page to read instructions for submitting photos.  We will definitely need closeups of the plants, as well as a photo showing the overall effect of the plants, in order to be able to identify them.


Fallugia paradoxa

Elymus elymoides ssp. brevifolius

 

 

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