Montana Outdoors

March 20, 2008

Buttercup variety

Filed under: Flowers, Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures, Wildflowers — Tags: — montucky @ 6:47 pm

On a hike today I noticed, at a distance, a very bright buttercup. I nearly ignored it, thinking that I needed another photo of a buttercup just about as much as I needed one more of a white tailed deer, but went over anyway to get a closer look. I’m glad I did: it is the third distinctly different version that I’ve seen this spring. (Count the petals on the one in the third photo.)

The usual:


The unusual:


The really unusual:



  1. *grin* We have all three varieties in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. But, since Buttercup was my grandfather’s nick name for me, I’m probably the only person to have noticed.

    To be honest, I always thought the middle variety was just the first that didn’t bloom properly.


    Comment by bandvox — March 20, 2008 @ 7:50 pm

  2. How fascinating! I love buttercups; I’ll have to pay closer attention now.


    Comment by Patia — March 20, 2008 @ 8:46 pm

  3. Now this is my type of shot Terry, it won’t be long until our wildflowers kick in, these are really lovely images.. well done !!


    Comment by Bernie Kasper — March 20, 2008 @ 8:48 pm

  4. Bandvox,

    That’s what I thought about the middle variety, too. I found a website on Montana plant life, and while it shows 4 varieties, it doesn’t look like any of them. The first is probably the “Sagebrush” variety, and the third might be the “Spearwort”.


    Comment by montucky — March 20, 2008 @ 8:54 pm

  5. Patia,

    They’re starting to bloom pretty well around here, so I imagine there will be plenty to pick from in the Missoula area now too.


    Comment by montucky — March 20, 2008 @ 9:03 pm

  6. Bernie,

    I was thinking about you when I shot these today. You could have gotten some great shots! There is also the first crocus of the season up now, but the petals are still furled. They’ll open on the next sunny day, although we’re still getting a little snow during the nights.


    Comment by montucky — March 20, 2008 @ 9:05 pm

  7. Wow! Somehow, I like the middle one the most; but that is not to say the other two are any less likeable! ๐Ÿ™‚


    Comment by Sumedh — March 20, 2008 @ 9:36 pm

  8. you would be great at helping us find the flowers for my son’s project. he is still grumbling, but he did get a bluebonnet and an Indian (TX) paintbrush, so it’s going pretty good. I found a flower today and he didn’t gripe about it, he actually brought it home and pressed it!

    these shots are really nice. It is very cool to see the differences in them…


    Comment by silken — March 20, 2008 @ 10:53 pm

  9. ps–I am posting some photos of the beach on my did you know and places to go blogs.


    Comment by silken — March 20, 2008 @ 10:58 pm

  10. Sumedh,

    I think I like that one best too. Maybe because it has a certain aura of independence about it.


    Comment by montucky — March 20, 2008 @ 11:04 pm

  11. Silken,

    It would be fun to help on that kind of project. In a few more weeks there will be lots of candidates beginning to bloom and, were he here, he would have many choices.

    I’ll be sure to stop by and see the beach photos!


    Comment by montucky — March 20, 2008 @ 11:08 pm

  12. I’m glad you posted this because as interesting as it may (or may not) be telling them apart is one heck of a trick. There are many forms (of very similar) buttercups. Me personally to id the “snow buttercup” I had to pull it one up and look at the leaves. And then, special for you, there is a “montane” (Montana) version all your own. (It also matters if the leaves are basal, or grows from the base or not – the actual flower petals tho; they rarely tell you anything.) Tho I imagine on the last one you could find it easy. (most of them only have five petals that I’m aware of)

    Anyway, beautiful shots! I appreciate them a lot. I think it’s interesting that so many versions have bloomed already. (usually happens in April) Your post is going to make me look at my feet a little more!!!

    p.s. buttercups also means there is clay in the soil. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m just an annoying “font o’ knowledge” today…


    Comment by aullori — March 21, 2008 @ 5:33 pm

  13. Wow! I really like the third one. I like how the petals are layered in that version. Nice shot!


    Comment by AK_Adventurer — March 21, 2008 @ 5:38 pm

  14. Lori,

    You reminded me I should look closer at the rest of the plant to make it easier to ID: I’ve been focusing on the blossom. In the next day or so I’ll post more photos, too. I got a few good ones today with buttercups and snow (it snowed a little last night). We sure do have plenty of clay around here, and maybe that’s why there are so many buttercups, huh?


    Comment by montucky — March 21, 2008 @ 6:45 pm

  15. AK Adventurer,

    I had not noticed that until now, after all these years! I saw more today that had more than 5 petals. I’ll post more photos of them in a day or so. I’m having a real love affair with the buttercups this year!


    Comment by montucky — March 21, 2008 @ 6:48 pm

  16. If it helps any; the genus Ranunculus is a good place to start. It does not however, that I’m aware, cover flower number three. Funky project.. digging up these guys. Ranunculus, only includes the five petal version. (then it gets even trickier when you talk about the snow/subalpine buttercup I think there are three subspecies of that one…) Funky little flower!! It only goes to prove some of the smallest things in life can be the most frustrating. ๐Ÿ™‚


    Comment by aullori — March 22, 2008 @ 11:11 am

  17. Yes, it seems to always be hard to ID flowers. I often get all tangled up because I find species that aren’t even supposed to grow in Montana. I’ll post a bunch more photos later.


    Comment by montucky — March 22, 2008 @ 12:10 pm

  18. If you’re wondering, it’s me who’s roaming around your buttercup posts — I’m finally putting together my post that uses your photo of the ice-covered buttercup. When I got here, I just had to laugh at your self-effacing humor. Who needs yet another photo of a buttercup (sunset, sunrise, ocean horizon, cloud)? Why, we all do, of course! You just never know when you’re going to capture the really unusual one — as you clearly did here!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by shoreacres — July 12, 2016 @ 6:47 pm

    • I guess you’re right. The more familiar we become with the wild things the easier it is to discover the unusual ones, sometime the most beautiful too.


      Comment by montucky — July 12, 2016 @ 10:31 pm

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