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The Skypilot

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1min 00sec
Wikimedia Commons
Follow your nose to the skypilot

A flower grows in Colorado that, depending on elevation, can smell perfumed or pungently repulsive. Meet the dazzling Skypilot. A relative of phlox, the Skypilot’s intensely blue to purple petals provide a sharp contrast to its brilliant orange stamens.

Above 12 thousand feet in the alpine tundra, wildflower enthusiasts enjoy its sweet fragrance as much as the bees that pollinate it there. At lower elevations, where bees have lots of other flowers to occupy them, the Skypilot smells of rotting flesh or skunk to attract pollinating flies. At any elevation, its sticky leaves discourage ants and herbivores from eating them. Follow your nose to find Skypilots, but keep your eyes wide open as these blossoms are fleeting. Each is in full bloom for just about a day.

About Colorado Postcards

Colorado Postcards are snapshots of our colorful state in sound. They give brief insights into our people and places, our flora and fauna, and our past and present, from every corner of Colorado.