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Wyoming Inflorescence: A photographic treatise on select plants


Wyoming Inflorescence


ISBN: 978-1-936870-07-3



Copyright © 2011, 2017

by Dan Lewis



Photographs Copyright © 2011, 2017

by Dan Lewis



Published by:
The Wyoming Naturalist
Douglas, WY 82633



All rights Reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems without permission in writing by the author.




From The World as I See It by Albert Einstein.

The most beautiful and most profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. He who knows it not and can no longer wonder, no longer feel amazement, is as good as dead, a snuffed-out candle.




Inflorescence originates from the Latin word inflorescere meaning to flower or to blossom. In botanical terms, inflorescence refers to a group of flowers on a plant stem in a specific arrangement differing in complexity from a simple, solitary flower to the intricate branching patterns of multi-flowered umbels, racemes and panicles. I find a kind of comfort in this specialized terminology, knowing such a language subset renders a precise physical description of plant morphology. There can be security, refuge, and familiarity within these boundaries.

That said, and having paid homage to the left brain, for me the word inflorescence reaches well beyond the literal meaning and romantically evokes feelings recognizing beauty. My right brain sees in•flora•essence rather than in•flo•res•cence and my inner vision associates primal images and raw vitality with plant structure and form. I need this alternate perspective and try to nurture it as best I can. One may value authority yet still remain free—autonomous and creative.

All of the 227 species and subspecies in this book, representing 160 genera and 69 families, were collected and photographed in Wyoming. Each specimen has its own page and is illustrated using three images: a flattened or pressed view showing gross morphology, a dissected examination revealing minute details, and either a close shot of the flowers or an image of the plant in its natural habitat. Each page also contains a distribution map showing the geographic range of the specimen in Wyoming and a label containing the scientific name, common name, and the family to which it belongs.

I gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Rocky Mountain Herbarium curator Dr. Ron Hartman and manager Dr. Ernie Nelson while verifying my identifications. Scientific names are based on those from Vascular Plants of Wyoming by Robert Dorn, 3rd Edition, Cheyenne, WY: Mountain West Publishing, 2001. Common names are based on those from USDA Plants Database, United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service ( Plant distribution maps were created from information in Dorn's Vascular Plants of Wyoming and from online data sources from the Rocky Mountain Herbarium ( The absence of color shading of a county for the distribution map may mean only that a vouchered specimen has not been collected there.









List of Families

Agave Family (Agavaceae)
Barberry Family (Berberidaceae)
Beech Family (Fagaceae)
Bellflower Family (Campanulaceae)
Birch Family (Betulaceae)
Borage Family (Boraginaceae)
Broomrape Family (Orobanchaceae)
Buckwheat Family (Polygonaceae)
Bunch-flower Family (Melanthiaceae)
Buttercup Family (Ranunculaceae)
Cactus Family (Cactaceae)
Caper Family (Capparaceae)
Carrot Family (Apiaceae)
Cattail Family (Typhaceae)
Currant Family (Grossulariaceae)
Dogbane Family (Apocynaceae)
Dogwood Family (Cornaceae)
Evening Primrose Family (Onagraceae)
Figwort Family (Scrophulariaceae)
Flax Family (Linaceae)
Four O'clock Family (Nyctaginaceae)
Gentian Family (Gentianaceae)
Geranium Family (Geraniaceae)
Grape Family (Vitaceae)
Grass Family (Poaceae)
Grass Of Parnassus Family (Parnassiaceae)
Greasewood Family (Sarcobataceae)
Heath Family (Ericaceae)
Honeysuckle Family (Caprifoliaceae)
Iris Family (Iridaceae)
Juniper Family (Cupressaceae)
Lily Family (Liliaceae)
Lily of the Valley Family (Convallariaceae)
Loasa Family (Loasaceae)
Madder Family (Rubiaceae)
Mallow Family (Malvaceae)
Maple Family (Aceraceae)
Mariposa Family (Calochortaceae)
Milkweed Family (Asclepiadaceae)
Mint Family (Lamiaceae)
Morning Glory Family (Convolvulaceae)
Moschatel Family (Adoxaceae)
Mustard Family (Brassicaceae)
Nightshade Family (Solanaceae)
Oleaster Family (Elaeagnaceae)
Onion Family (Alliaceae)
Orchid Family (Orchidaceae)
Pea Family (Fabaceae)
Phlox Family (Polemoniaceae)
Pine Family (Pinaceae)
Poppy Family (Papaveraceae)
Primrose Family (Primulaceae)
Purslane Family (Portulacaceae)
Rose Family (Rosaceae)
Rush Family (Juncaceae)
Sedge Family (Cyperaceae)
Spider-plant Family (Anthericaceae)
Spiderwort Family (Commelinaceae)
Stonecrop Family (Crassulaceae)
Sumac Family (Anacardiaceae)
Tamarix Family (Tamaricaceae)
Twinflower Family (Linnaceaceae)
Verbena Family (Verbenaceae)
Violet Family (Violaceae)
Waterleaf Family (Hydrophyllaceae)
Water-lily Family (Nymphaeaceae)
Water-plantain Family (Alismataceae)
Willow Family (Salicaceae)