Annual color display is right around the corner

Spring is right around the corner. It might be hard to believe for those of you who are shoveling out from the latest snowstorm, but around Bluff, we are beginning to see signs of warmer and longer days. Along with the improvement in the climate, we will soon be experiencing one of the joys of life in the American Southwest, the annual colorful display of native plants.

Annual sunflowers light up the landscape with their intense yellow blossoms. Sunflower seeds have served as a major food source for many native tribes when they are ground and baked into bread. When the seeds are collected and boiled, they produce a dark-red dye for fabrics and baskets.

Fountain grass is an important decorative plant on the porches of Twin Rocks Trading Post and Cafe. Every year, Priscilla lovingly cares for more than thirty pots that line the front of both buildings. They bloom into a subtle pink color in late summer and, when backlit, create a curtain of beauty for our visitors.

Indian Paintbrush, or Castilleja, can be found decorating the thin, sandy soil of the sagebrush plains. They bloom in vivid red shades and, fortunately, begin to appear in early April in this region. One of the most instantly recognizable plants in the Southwest, they brighten up many backcountry trails.

Yucca plants are another staple plant of the Four Corners region. They like hot and dry climates, and their fibers have been used by Native people since prehistoric times. The Ancestral Puebloan people used the versatile plant to produce sandals, cordage, and rope. Yucca is the material of choice for many Native craftsman for making baskets and woven platters.

Desert Rose Salvia is a colorful sagebrush found in this region. The bright flowers are favorites of bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies. Bluff boasts two types of Desert Rose, the flowers and the fine vacation resort of the same name on the south end of town.

Datura is the most beautiful, and deadly, of all Southwestern plants. It has many names, including jimsonweed, thorn apples, devil’s trumpet, or loco weed. The roots and leaves have been used as a hallucinogenic agent for certain traditional ceremonies and is a deadly poison when taken in excess.

These are only a few of the joyful plants that will brighten the area in the next few weeks. Along with the red rocks and blue sky, they bring color and life to our region, and provide yet another good reason to visit Bluff and its surrounding environment.

San Juan Record

49 South Main St
PO Box 879
Monticello, UT 84535

Phone: 435.587.2277
Fax: 435.587.3377
Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday