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Ipomopsis aggregata

Ipomopsis aggregata

Scarlet gilia is a native of western North America with a distribution range stretching from British Columbia south to Mexico. According to the Plants for a Future database, the crushed leaves smell like skunk. I wouldn't know, as I was intent on both photographing the plant and being vigilant of my surroundings. Looking back to when I took this image, it was likely the most endangered I felt in 2006 while taking photographs.

Realistically, I was most in danger of being injured when I was walking on unstable rocks and boulders in the rock slide area where I took this photo of Acer circinatum. However, this image of Ipomopsis aggregata was taken while standing in a small ditch between a highway and rocky slope (there was a barrier between the ditch and highway) with semis roaring behind me – a bit unnerving, and certainly distracting. When I returned to the car after the session, I was informed I was bleeding from my legs. Between concentrating on the photographs and keeping an eye out for the relative impossibility of a semi jumping the barrier, I hadn't noticed that the rocks on the slope I was kneeling against had punctured skin.

As noted in the Jepson Manual, the genus Ipomopsis can be found throughout most of southern North America, but at least one species resides in southern South America. I've yet to find a reference explaining the broad, disjunct distribution of the genus.

If you're searching for more images of this species, there's the always-reliable Burke Museum of Natural History: Ipomopsis aggregata.

On the topic of the next few weeks, I'd like to first note that I will be around, so please don't hesitate to comment on or discuss any BPotD entries. In anticipation of not writing much in the next month of BPotD, I'll add this now: thank you to all of you for your support of BPotD and the kind words you send along behind the scenes. It is very much appreciated.


Just wanted to thank you - your photos bring me joy every morning.


There's something about the color red in the winter, isn't there? Your story about being endangered was both amusing (in retrospect only) and demonstrative of the fact that we will do anything to follow our passions! Have a restful vacation while we enjoy your abstracts.

Thank you so much for all of the beautiful photos and descriptions of these fascinating plants and flowers. Thanks also for the great links and opportunities for further learning, that you add to your articles. I learn so much! As for this entry, there is something enchanting about Scarlet gilia (Ipomosis aggregata),isn't there? Have a great new year! -C

Dear Daniel, your photos are the high point in my mail bag every day. I've discovered many lovely things through the links, such as Geoff Murray's photos of Tasmania, (I'm from Melbourne across Bass Strait), and Flickr's cat photos. It's great to know that there are people out there who see nature the same way as I do. Keep up the good work and thanks, Sue Webster, Rome, Italy.

Ipomopsis aggregata - Z7 - RHS Index of Garden Plants, Griffiths

Daniel, The Scarlet gilia is new to me, is there any other colour? I just had to stop what I was doing and paint these singing red spears of colour. Thank you so much for the many times I have been so inspired since I found BPotD, I look forward to many more. Daph, Oxfordshire

Thank you all.

Daph, yes, there are other species of Ipomopsis with differently-coloured flowers, e.g., Ipomopsis longiflora (flax-flowered ipomopsis) or Ipomopsis arizonica (Arizona firecracker!)

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