For a wrap-up of other areas and what’s been blooming, check out:
Blooming in Monument Valley Park – All Posts.
We’ll start at the parking lot where Fontanero Street ends at the park and head north. You’ll pass our favorite little field with many things still blooming (threadleaf yellowrays, a few penstemon, some spiderwort, and lots of blue grama grass seedheads). Continue to the west of the playing field and when you’ve gotten nearly to the end of the field and the path starts to gently turn to the right, start watching along the left edge of the trail. You should see a small patch of western snowberry (Symphoricarpos occidentalis) with its small white berries. As with most white berries, these are toxic to humans, and you do not want to eat them! Interestingly, other animals, like chipmunks, are able to eat them. Once you start recognizing the grey-green leaf and the white berries, you’ll probably notice this native shrub in many other areas of town (like Garden of the Gods, for example).
Right near the snowberries, you’ll see some bright, clear red berries. Look closely, and you’ll see that they are hanging in pairs, and then there are several pairs in each group. I believe this is the Tatarian honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica) that has escaped cultivation and is growing in a few places in the park. (We saw one in the very first “blooming in Monument Valley Park” post on May 11. The fruit aren’t really toxic, but they aren’t very tasty either, so I would not recommend tasting them. This past week, I saw many of these shrubs in fruit over at Sonderman Park, another great place to see plants.
Text and honeysuckle photo provided by Carey Harrington, Colorado Native Plant Master. Many thanks to Ernie Marx for permission to use his snowberry photo (www.easterncoloradowildflowers.com).