Sunday, August 8, 2010

Wildflowers and hiking in the Swiss Alps

So one of the reasons I haven't been blogging lately is that I was in Europe for 2 1/2 weeks.  I went for a friend's wedding and to visit several other friends, so I had a wonderfully busy time.  One of the many highlights was a 2 day hike in the Bernese Oberland of Switzerland.  We parked in Lauterbrunnen and then took a gondol up part of the mountain and then were on our way.
While keeping one eye on the incredibly beautiful views of mountains, valleys and glaciers, I also kept one eye down on the ground to look at all the wildflowers.  And there were a lot.  A beautiful variety of flowers, some familiar, but mostly new to me.
One of the familiar flowers was yarrow.  Quite a bit of it along the trail.  And this one reminded me of elegant clarkia at first, until I realized it was fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium).
I saw what I was sure was delicate rose foliage and a rosehip a little ways off the trail.  I asked my friend's uncle, our unofficial guide, who hikes often in the Bernese Oberland and grew up nearby if it could be a wild rose.  He said, no we were too high up for wild roses.  But then a little further up the trail we saw this.  I had in fact seen a wild rose.
Another pleasant surprise was this lily.  According to a book I found out at the hut we stayed at that night it was Lilium martagon, or Turk's cap lily.  Really beautiful and unexpected.
Here's some type of ranunculus.  My best guess is Ranunculus thora, but I'm not sure.
And a truly wonderful suprise was this little orchid.  It's definitely in the genus Dactylorhiza, but I'm not sure of the species.  It might be traunsteineri, but just as possible are incarnata, maculata, or fuchsii.  I'll try and do a little more digging.
More to come.


  1. Wow, what an exciting trip! Love that orchid.

  2. Whoa, it's so beautiful it doesn't look quite real! I'm so impressed that you could ID many of the flowers you came across. So glad you're back!

  3. I think we can forgive you your absence :P What a fabulous place to go. The pink lily is beautiful, our orange ones I find to be quite garish, but that orchid is spectacular!

  4. Welcome back! Things must look a lot less green than in the Alps. I go ape every I see orchids in the wild, and you scored a really cool one!

  5. Welcome back. I was wondering where your posts were in my reader, so I looked in on your blog. Glad you had a great time. I hope you were singing "The Sound of Music"... the hills are alive! This nature blogger may be able to help you with your orchid ID:


  6. Hi from over in SF! -- Love your site, and this post is especially inspiring. One of my big intentions with my own blog is to gather a community of plant nerds who want to travel the globe looking for cool plants. So far I mainly just scour the urban streets, so your Alps photos were a lovely diversion. Take care, katie

  7. Beautiful flowers, amazing images.
    Thanks for showing these wild flowers.

    Aanee xxx