Life at SMC, Nature

Flora of SMC Goes Word Wide Web

Living here at Shambhala Mountain Center, I see thousands of new faces each year — people who are coming to live here, or are else visiting for the day or staying for a retreat. Although it may be impossible to form substantial relationships with all of these people, a good place to start is to exchange names.

“Hello, I’m Travis.”

In my experience, learning someone’s name is an acknowledgement of shared connection that rapidly opens up the possibility of greater familiarization and friendship.

And so it is with the flora of the land, which is why we’re so thrilled with the recent online publishing of an ongoing research project that has been occurring here since 2014 in which Renee Galeano-Popp — a close neighbor of SMC — has been identifying and photographing the myriad plant specimens that live here on the land.

Click here to check out SMC’s page on the Intermountain Region Herbarium Network website.


I learned that this is a bluebell (Campanula rotundifolia) by looking it up in the online guide.

So far, Galeano-Popp has documented 305 species from 62 different plant families. For people who have spent some time here, some entries may be more familiar than others. In the online handbook you’ll find summertime floral favorites like the Rocky Mountain iris and spreadfruit goldenbanner, big friends like the douglas fir, as well as some more obscure (and oddly named) specimens like the starry false lily of the valley, the beautiful fleabane, and… scrambled eggs!

Of course, the binomial name is listed alongside the common name (when available) for each entry, as well as alternate names, photos, and a wealth of additional information.

We hope that SMC regulars as well as those who plan to visit the land someday will find this guide to be useful, and that it may allow you to make lots of friends while you’re here — whether you encounter other humans or not.


PortraitTravis Newbill is a writer, musician, and aspirant on the path of meditation.  He currently resides at Shambhala Mountain Center, where he serves in the roles of Marketing Associate and Shambhala Guide — a preliminary teaching position.  Follow Travis on twitter: @travisnewbill


  1. Vicki GIella says

    I was just at SMC and had not been there for many, many years, having moved east. I was just stunned by the beauty and power of the land. The flora was mesmerizing. Over our retreat period of 10 days, we watched the grasses grow to waist height and higher and then open with little dangling yellow flowers – and all the wildflowers! I am thrilled that the flora has been catalogued and gone worldwide. What a treasure SMC is for our sangha and the rest of the world.

    Thank you for sharing this with us. Now what about the peaks circling SMC? I’d love pictures and explanations of their qualities too.

  2. Terry Kay says

    May SMC protect and share this land and joyous flora for many,generations!I love the flowers and plants; one year they said we were too late in the season to experience them, but no, they waited for us!

  3. Hello, Travis! Thank you for sharing photos from my favorite land on the planet – I hope to return very soon!

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