Mount Ord Wildflowers

8:30 AM Saturday morning and only 85 degrees, time to go find some wildflowers.  Headed north on 87 towards Payson, and ended up turning right on FR626 for Mount Ord. Mount Ord is in the Tonto National Forest, in the Mazatzal mountain range. Dirt road lies ahead but not a bad road. Mount Ord is named after Major General Edward Ord Along the way to the top I came across New Mexico Thistle, Desert Wild Buckwheat, Wild Bergamot, and Golden Columbine just to name a few.  Beautiful flowers and an overwhelming view.  Wispy clouds and a clear blue sky made for some magnificent photos.  Saw some Arizona Thistle getting ready to bloom, Century plants blooming in all stages, and squirrels galore.  The road dead ends before you can get to the top where the towers call home.  The top of the mountain is 7,129 feet.  You do get an excellent view of Roosevelt Lake and the back of the four peaks.  There are a few side roads on the way to the top. Not sure where they go but will return someday with my ATV for more exploring.  Great website regarding history of Mount Ord is (Photos taken June 10, 2017)

To get there from Phoenix: Take State Route 87 (Beeline Highway) north towards Payson. Make right at turnoff for Mount Ord, Forest Road 626. Dirt road but well maintained.  Enjoy!

DESERT WILD BUCKWHEAT (Eriogonum deserticola)

  • Perennial plant that is native to the Sonoran Desert
  • Foraged by Mule Deer
  • The Buckwheat family has 1,200 species of vines, herbs, shrubs, and trees worldwide

GOLDEN COLUMBINE (Aquilegia chrysantha)

  • Most common and widespread of the seven wild columbines found in Arizona
  • Member of the Buttercup Family
  • Attracts butterflies, and hummingbirds

NEW MEXICO THISTLE (Cirsium neomexicanum)

  • Pink-to-pale lavender flower head
  • Disliked for their spines
  • Blooms March – July

WILD BERGAMOT (Monarda fistulosa)

  • Also known as Horsemint or Bee Balm
  • The oil from the Wild Bergamot is an essential flavoring in Earl Grey tea
  • Member of the Mint Family

COMMON SUNFLOWER (Helianthus annuus)

  • Found anywhere between 100 – 7,000’
  • Common along highways, road seeds of maturing plants are dispersed along the road by wind created from passing vehicles
  • Smaller version of the Giant Sunflower

RED ROCK ASTER (Ionactis caelestis)

  • Member of the Sunflower Family
  • Has been found as high as 6,808’
  • Blooms June – August

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Wild Flower Photographer