See the Gyp Hills in all its glory on Saturday, May 11 as part of Barber County Conservation District's annual guided wildflower tour.
On Saturday, May 11, the Barber County Conservation District will host its annual Spring Wildflower Tour. With the abundance of moisture, we expect to see a great many wildflowers we have not seen in the past.
Every year the list of plants found in bloom changes. Often due to the amount of or lack of rain we have received in the fall, winter, and spring season. This year we are coming off a fall and a winter of good moisture. Spring has just begun at this writing, so I don’t know what moisture we will have, however I’m sure we have some moisture reserve. I believe this will add up to a great explosion of wildflowers. We always have a great tour if we have a normal spring, sunny days and warm temperatures.
The tour will include two sites to illustrate how some plants grow best in a specific soil type. For example, those you find growing in a sandy soil may not do well in a heavier red soil.
One stop will be in an area of sandy soils. The wildflowers we see there may include Indian Blanket, “Gaillardia pulchella”. At times it covers the ground like a blanket. Most years Citron Paintbrush, “Castilleja purpurea, var. citrina, makes a great show. Your guide will explain why other plants are not growing close to this native wildflower. One I like to see is Violet Wood Sorrel,” Oxalis violacea”. This forb’s flowers have a unique flavor. Your guide will tell you why you shouldn’t eat too many of these pretty violet colored flowers.
We also have a heavier soil site we stop at that often has 30 or more different wild flowers or forbs at any one time. These plants flourish in the red soils of Barber County. The plants found may include Aromatic Sumac, “Rhus aromatica”; learn why it’s sometimes called skunkbrush. You may also see Leadplant, “Amorpha canascens”. No, we don’t get lead from this plant. Your guide will tell you why this plant is an important indicator of range health and why this plant often disappears from native range pastures. Spiderwort, “Tradescantia bracteate” is an interesting plant. Learn how a spider can get a wort from this plant. Not really, however you will learn why its also called cow slobbers.
The annual wildflower tour will include many if not all the above-mentioned wildflowers or forbs plus many, many more. Learn how to identify these plants and why its important that they are growing in our native range. Many fun facts about the plants are also passed along by your tour guide.
Cost of the tour is $20 which includes a continental breakfast, transportation to the identification sites, and a barbeque lunch at the Gyp Hills Guest Ranch, children 12 and under, $5. Registration begins at 8:30 AM at the Medicine Lodge High School. Paid reservations are due by May 6. Call the conservation office at (620) 886-5311 to make a reservation and get in on the fun!