Montana Outdoors

May 12, 2007

May wild flowers, part 4

I seem to be steadily losing ground in the identification area. Of these three that I found yesterday, I can only identify two. The Blue clematis or Clematis occidentalis. It’s in the Ranunculaceae, or buttercup family, which seems strange to me because it’s a vine. It is growing at about the 4,500 foot elevation on a hillside near the Patrick’s Knob roadless area here in Western Montana.

Blue clematis or Clematis occidentalis

Blue clematis or Clematis occidentalis

Here’s a group of them in flight:

Blue clematis or Clematis occidentalis

I think this is a Trillium flexipes, based on a photo and description found on this website It grows close to the ground, and the flower is about 2 inches across. While similar to the trillium ovatum, it is distinctly different, in the size of the petals and the shape and configuration of the leaves. It is growing at the Northern edge of the roadless area at about 5,000 feet.

Trillium flexipes

About a mile inside the roadless area at around 5,500 feet I found this little guy, and have no idea what it is. It’s about the same size as the wild strawberry, but it clearly is something different. It might be a rare species because over the course of a twelve mile hike I saw only three.

Who knows?

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