Synthyris wyomingensis (Kittentails) - photos and description

Synthyris wyomingensis

Synthyris wyomingensis

Synthyris wyomingensis

Synthyris wyomingensis

 

Synthyris wyomingensis

Synthyris wyomingensis

Synthyris wyomingensis

Synthyris wyomingensis
Basal leaf in above photo

Synthyris wyomingensis
Stem leaf in above photo

Synthyris wyomingensis
Basal leaves have emerged and inflorescence has elongated when flowering is complete

General: Low perennial plants with grey-coloured foliage covered with silky hairs. Flower spikes emerge before basal leaves. Very early flowering, as early as mid-April.

Flowers: Flowers are in a dense spike, violet in colour with gold anthers. Flower spikes measured to 3 cm long, elongating when in fruit. Flowers have no petals. 

Leaves: Basal leaves ovate to deltoid, blade measured at 6 cm long and 5.5 cm wide. Stem leaves without stalks, elliptical to rhomboid in shape. Basal leaves have toothed margins, stem leaves entire.

Height: Budd's Flora lists the height to 30 cm, we measured plants to 13 cm tall.

Habitat: Habitat is rocky slopes and fescue prairie in the Cypress Hills. We've found them usually growing on east-facing slopes.

Abundance: Extremely rare, this plant is listed as an S1 (as of 2019) by the Saskatchewan Conservation Data Centre.

Origin: Native.

Synonym: Listed in some of the field guides we use as Besseya wyomingensis.

When and where photographed: Photos taken April 16th and May 23rd on fescue prairie hillside ~ 3900 ft elevation, and May 23rd, rocky hillside ~ 4200 ft elevation, Cypress Hills, 450 km southwest of our home in Regina, SK.