Out of Season
This summer brought a strange first for me: photographing fall color in July. The ninebark shrubs on the Middle Fork of the Salmon were turning amazingly early. The commonly go on the earlier side, and I’ve often see good understory color by mid to late August, but never before in mid-July. Some slopes were downright brilliant with red and orange. I expect this is related to drought stress from the Inland Northwest’s extremely dry spring and early heatwaves this year.
This is probably mallow ninebark (Physocarpus malvaceus). It does well in fire scars, which naturally offers it many opportunities in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness and throughout central Idaho.