Monument plant is a large and robust plant, and when you get up close to see the intricate greenish-white, to yellow-green flowers with purple spots, you’ll understand why the specific epithet, speciosa (meaning showy) is applied to this species. It is a giant species in the gentian (Gentianaceae) plant family that has a broad distribution throughout the arid mountain West, mainly east of the Cascades, but it grows in scattered locations in the Klamath-Siskiyou region, including in the Siskiyous, Marbles, Trinities, and Yolla Bollys. In the wild it is found growing on open ridelines, in open meadows, and in openings in pine and mixed conifer forests, as well as high elevation conifer forests.
The large flowering stalk of monument plant can grow up to 6′ tall, but is generally shorter than that. Flowering is triggered by unknown environmental cues and weather conditions. This species is monocarpic (one-fruiting), meaning that the whole plant dies after flowering. It can grow as a rosette for 2-20 years before flowering, depending on site conditions. Flowering can be synchronized among plants in a specific area, putting on a showy display. The unusual and unpredictable (sporadic, yet synchronous) flowering of monument plant is thought to be an adaptation that helps reduce insect damage to seeds. Monument plant goes by the additional common names, deer’s tongue, deer’s ears, elkweed, or giant frasera. Blooms from July to August, depending on elevation. Monument plant has a wide variety of insect visitors and pollinators.
Monument plant (Frasera speciosa) seed packets contain approximately 120 seeds per packet.
Seed Germination Instructions
90-120 days cold-moist stratification. Sow seeds outside in fall and cover lightly with sifted soil.