I shouldn’t have been surprised when I discovered, in researching this post, that the common names “Skyrocket” and “Gilia” refer to more than one species of plant. The genus name (as I’ve recently learned) is Ipomopsis. You’ll often see populations of Scarlet Gilia as red spikes jutting out of the bare dirt of road cuts in the southwest; those are likely I. aggregata.
With help from Susan Tweit, the Southwest Colorado Wildflowers website and the Colorado Native Plant Society Group on Facebook, I’m reasonably confident that the flowers pictured here are Ipomopsis tenuituba, or Slender-Tube Skyrocket, which tends to occur at higher elevations. The pollen-bearing anthers are tucked inside the tubes, which are long and slightly curved.
A few years ago, I found a white-flowered example of this plant growing along the road where I regularly walk. It was destined to be plowed out by the grader, so I gathered the seeds and put them someplace safe…the location of which I forgot.
I’ve been kicking myself for years for misplacing those seeds, but I think I finally figured out where I put them. The plant pictured above is blooming behind the retaining wall on the east side of the house, where we can admire the flowers from the kitchen window.