Bi-hemisphaeric twins: re-uniting Laurasia!
|Trollius laxus v. laxus at Denver Botanic Gardens|
It will be a few months before our native globeflower begins to bloom in the high Rockies--but this, it's eastern cousin always blooms in April. Trollius are widespread in the Circumboreal, subalpine regions of both Eurasia and North America--but this taxon seems to have a very similar cousin in the Dzungarian and Tian Shan Mountains of Central Asia.
|Trollius dzungharicus in the Tian Shan Mts., Kazakhstan|
Although the more "typical" globeflowers with bright orange, globular heads occur in both Tian Shan and Altai Mountains, this soft yellow form is found sparingly as well--much more reminiscent of our American species.
|Saxifraga flagellaris on the Tian Shan above Almaty, Kazakhstan|
You can imagine my surprise when I found this whipcord saxifrage, which looks almost identical to what one finds twelve time zones away in the Colorado Rockies, growing in almost the same sorts of conditions!
I actually managed to grow this in my garden--or trough rather: this is our native form of Saxifraga flagellaris--which looks identical to its Asian cousin.
|Dryas octopetala on Horseshoe Mt., Colorado|
Mountain Avens or Dryad is universal in tundra throughout much of the hemisphere: although they have been classed as different spedcies, or at least different subspecies, I find these two kinds almost indistinguishable.
|Dryas oxydonta on the Tian Shan|
This is the brilliant blue alpine geranium of the Tian Shan. It has an electric blue flower...
|Geranium regelii on the Tian Shan, Kazakhstan|
Here is a compact form of the widespread meadow geranium (G. pratense) from the summits of the Tian Shan. Although superficially the dissimilar from the Pink American below--they are nevertheless related and classic examples of a Holarctic group of plants. Yes, I know there are a few geraniums in the Southern Hemisphere--they don't count because they are really different and don't fit into my grand scheme of things!
|Geranium fremontii on South Park, Colorado|
Some botanists have lumped this with Geranium caespitosum. But not me! I still call this Geranium fremontii, named for the most restless and peripatetic of Western explorers...
|Gentiana algida in Colorado|
|Gentiana algida in the Altai Mts. of Kazakhstan|
There are, of course, dozens of androsaces in the Chamaejasme section that look virtually identical: here with the rather local Colorado subspecies shown first, and the Kazakh cousin next.
|Androsace chamaejasme v. carinata on Pikes Peak|
The central yellow spot turns red on the American one as seen below in the Asian species.
|Androsace akbaitralensis on the Tian Shan, Kazakhstan|
|Primula xanthobasis on the Mongolian Altai Mountains|
|Primula ellisiae (from New Mexico) in my trough garden|
Primula specuicola near Moab, April
|Angelica turkestanica on the Tian Shan mts., Kazakhstan|
|Angelica grayi on Horseshoe Mt., Colorado|
The list of twins such as this could go on for hundreds of pages and not begin to exhaust the botanical twins that can be found in the Continental Western United States and then again on its steppe-sister climates of Central Asia....each year I suddenly notice a new brace of these, and am glad to be able share this!