Chamisa Golden Yellow Flower Clusters

Honey bee on yellow Chamisa flowers.

Admittedly blooming yellow Chamisa or Rabbitbrush (as they are also known) are not something I paid much attention to. However, once I moved to Santa Fe – where my flower photography journey began, this changed dramatically. It’s like everything was new again.

Exploding With their Blooms in Late Summer, Early Fall

It is then and there in the first Fall with my new camera that no flowers were off limits. Where I was living in the north side of Santa Fe on the grounds surrounding the condo complex provided ample opportunities for photo ops. Come late summer into early fall, the Chamisa exploded with their bright yellow, little flowers. 

Rabbitbrush lines walking path in early Fall
Chamisa and purple Aster wildflowers line a path in Santa Fe, NM.

Chamisa appear to be some of the last blooming flowers of the season along with other wildflowers such as purple asters. But this scrubby, flowering brush is more on its own. They do have a rather odd scent. But the bees and butterflies love them so that’s what counts!

In the photo to the left you can see them exploding with their golden, yellow flower clusters. Little purple Ater wildflowers often seem to accompany them. With their daisy-like appearance the Asters and Chamisa offset each other beautifully.

Noticing Chamisa were Everywhere

While exploring around my Santa Fe surroundings, I began to notice Chamisa were everywhere. Initially they just looked like green scrubby bushes. They stay like this for a good portion of the summer. But then they explode with their golden, yellow flower clusters.

Chamisa lining dirt path in Santa Fe, NM
Blooming Chamisa lining a dirt path in Santa Fe, NM.

The bushes grow all over lining walking trails and paths and open spaces in between. I strolled often among these flowers – both taking photos and just admiring the landscape they covered.

With the yellow flowers against a clear blue sky and throw in some adobe buildings, and it’s pure New Mexico beauty. It felt like walking in a postcard.

Upon moving back to Colorado, I realized Chamisa were here too. Living on the west side of the Denver-metro area, they seemed to be around rather sporadic. Dotting green open spaces or along certain roads. But I also found them in the gardens I like to frequent.

Yellow Chamisa (Rabbitbrush) lining trail
Golden, yellow Chamisa line this wide, open dirt path in Lakewood, CO.

Growing along dirt paths as they do in NM, they seem to do well in the dry conditions of CO as well. As in the photo above, the scrubby brushes look quite happy and the flowers bloom just the same.

Bees and Painted Lady Butterflies Love them Too!

Painted lady butterfly on Chamisa flowers
A Painted Lady butterfly sits on a cluster of Chamisa.

There are countless insects that frequent these late season bloomers.

From various beetles to grasshoppers, painted lady butterflies and of course bees. They are busy pollinating for sure!

Perhaps all these little critters know this is the last flower hurrah before colder temps arrive? Who’s to say as I’m just an observer in their world.

In the photo to the right, you can see this lovely Painted Lady butterfly sitting a top a cluster of golden, yellow flowers.

While not the best photo, I was thrilled to be able to capture the moment before it fluttered off again. They don’t stay still for very long that’s for sure!

Pollinating bee on golden flower clusters
A close-up of a honey bee busy pollinating on these little yellow flowers.

In the cooler mornings sitting among the Chamisa flowers and watching the busy bees is like a meditation. It’s an opportunity to be completely quiet and present with a view into their world. The little orange pollen sacks on their legs tell the story of their efforts. I love to photograph them when they remain still long enough for a snap. But often it’s magical to just sit with them and observe. Nature is amazing 🙂

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