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10 Mind-Blowing Facts About Scarlet Gilia You Need To Know

  • Formerly Gilia aggregata. Also called Skyrocket. Biennial or shortlived native perennial with showy brilliant red, or occasionally pink tubular flowers, blooming May to September. Occurs on well-drained sandy or rocky deserts and subalpine meadows; up to 11,500 ft. Browsed by deer and elk prior to flowering. Pollinated by native bees, flies, moths and hummingbirds.
  • Modern science has known about scarlet gilia, or skyrocket since 1806 when Lewis and Clark discovered the first specimen of the species along the Lolo Trail in northern Idaho. It is a striking plant with bright green, comb-like foliage and an elongated, red, pink, or white inflorescence. Each flower is a long tube that expands to five corolla lobes at its tip.
  • Taxonomists have struggled to determine the scientific name for this flower, which is surprising considering its unusual shape. Beginning with the Cantua aggregate name given by Frederick Pursh in 1899, Scarlett gilia was assigned to eight genera of the phlox family (Polemoniaceae). Taxonomists have identified at least 27 distinct species of scarlet gilia across its wide range (southern British Columbia, Montana, and northern Mexico). These are now recognized as one to three species depending on how taxonomic treatment is applied. There are 7-10 subspecies.
  • The Ipomopsis aggregatea species is now well-known by most authorities. This name, Ipomopsis, comes from the Greek words for “striking” and older books refer to it as Gilia (for Felipe Luis Gil, a Spanish botanist).
  • Scarlet gilia’s taxonomic confusion is largely due to differences between populations in flower colors. Because of its narrow, long floral tube, the plant is well-suited for pollination by long-tongued or long-beaked animals, such as hummingbirds or moths. Hummingbirds are the most common pollinator of scarlet gilia’s red-flowered species.
  • This is due to their exceptional vision and for being attracted to scarlet gilia’s color. Moths are attracted to white flowers because of their unpleasant smell. 
  • Scarlet gilia flowers bloom throughout the summer. In some areas, blossoms that appear from May through July are red and hummingbird-pollinated.
  • Flowers that mature later in July or August are white and are pollinated and pollinated primarily by moths. This color shift can be seen even among the same flower.
  • Scarlet gilia can be found in many habitats including desert canyons and rock cliffs, montane meadows, and subalpine rock sand fields. These plants can die within a few years of flowering. 
  • Many individuals can survive for several years as rosette plants, which are a clump of deeply distilled leaves. 
  • Native wildlife and livestock love flowering stalks. However, plants can offset herbivory by putting up new shoots or branches.

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Written by MANI

𝐇𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐨 𝐟𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐬, 𝐦𝐲 𝐧𝐚𝐦𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐌𝐚𝐧𝐢𝐤𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐚𝐧. 𝐈 𝐚𝐦 𝐩𝐮𝐭𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐧𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐦𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐰𝐞𝐛𝐬𝐢𝐭𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐭𝐬 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐰𝐨𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐟𝐮𝐥 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐝𝐢𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐟𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐬. 𝐘𝐨𝐮 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐚𝐥𝐬𝐨 𝐟𝐢𝐧𝐝 𝐧𝐞𝐰 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐧𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐦𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞. 𝐈 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐛𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐯𝐢𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐧𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐦𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧. 𝐈 𝐣𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤 𝐨𝐧 𝐦𝐲 𝐰𝐞𝐛𝐬𝐢𝐭𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐞 𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞. 𝐈 𝐚𝐥𝐬𝐨 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐚 𝐘𝐨𝐮𝐓𝐮𝐛𝐞 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐧𝐞𝐥 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝟔𝟎𝟎𝟎 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐨𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐦𝐞.

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