Montana Outdoors

May 28, 2007

Tolmie star-tulip

From six feet up, the tiny 3/4-inch white triangle didn’t look like much, but through the miracle of a lens I found a new favorite wild flower. Near the start of a hike today on USFS trail #372 into the Munson Creek drainage in Western Montana’s Cabinet mountains, it was pleasing to see the Thimbleberries were in bloom along the creek, and these blossoms are much larger than most, nearly two inches across. It will be worth a trip back later when the berries are ripe! Thimbleberry blossom Thimbleberry blossom Thimbleberry blossom After another half mile up the trail the terrain leveled out somewhat. The area had been selectively logged many years ago, and the remaining trees, mature firs and Ponderosa pines are spread fairly far apart providing beautiful conditions of open shade with low bushes and plentiful grasses. It was there that the little white triangles began to show up in the low grasses between the trees. I had not seen this wild flower before and decided to photograph it. As the lens brought it up close, I fell in love with Calochortus tolmiei! Tolmie star, Calochortus tolmiei Tolmie star, Calochortus tolmiei Tolmie star, Calochortus tolmiei Tolmie star-tulip, Calochortus tolmiei Tolmie star-tulip, Calochortus tolmiei Tolmie star-tulip, Calochortus tolmiei Munson Creek is within the 13,902 acre TeePee – Spring Creek roadless area in the Lolo National Forest. This area would receive the protection of a “wilderness” designation under the provisions of the Wilderness Bill, HR 1975 as noted on page 52 of the Bill.



  1. I’m so happy that your thimble berries are in bloom! (ours aren’t just yet) Fabulous shots! It looks to me like your having fun and I’m thirlled because of it. I’ve never seen your Calochortus tolmiei – wow that is absolutely fabulous!


    Comment by aullori — May 29, 2007 @ 11:19 pm

  2. I’m really excited about the Calochortus too! The USDA website shows them growing in Washington, Oregon and California only. They’re so small, I had overlooked them in the past, but they certainly carry a wallop up close, don’t they?
    It’s the same one, or a very close relative, that Adam posted a photo of awhile ago.


    Comment by montucky — May 30, 2007 @ 7:15 am

  3. ps. lolo is such an great place to visit! I gotta say that is one gorgeous place to hike!


    Comment by aullori — May 30, 2007 @ 10:16 am

  4. I returned to the Munson Creek trail today. I left the truck at 2,400 feet and after a 6 1/2 hour hike I topped out at Big Hole Peak at an altitude of 6,900 feet. That was the easy part. I should have left prepared to spend a night on top, but didn’t, and the return hike was a killer. The good news is that I took 80 photos of flowers, plants, scenery and terrain, and can document part of the interior of the Teepee-Spring Creek roadless area, part of HR 1975.


    Comment by montucky — May 30, 2007 @ 9:52 pm

  5. right on. I await your results! (wow I have a feeling that if we got into a race you’d kick my behind and good!)


    Comment by aullori — May 31, 2007 @ 12:34 am

  6. Naw, I’m sure you’d beat me in a race. I’m just slow and persistent. I’ll post some of the pics later today. I was so tired last night I didn’t even look through them.


    Comment by montucky — May 31, 2007 @ 6:59 am

  7. Hello ~ We are interested in driving out to Munson Creek from Kalispell. Is there a landmark we can look for on Hwy 200 to help us find the trailhead? thank you very much!


    Comment by Patti — February 8, 2015 @ 3:29 pm

    • Munson Creek is about 12 miles west of Plains on Hwy 200. There is nice trail head there not far off the highway and there is a Forest Service sign where you turn off to it.


      Comment by montucky — February 8, 2015 @ 3:42 pm

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