Montana Outdoors

May 9, 2008


During a hike up into Munson Creek that took most of the day today and stopped at the 3,800 foot level because of heavy snow on the trail, I was intrigued by some large areas of leaves that looked as though they belonged to huge violets. There were a number of buds among them that were clearly not those of violets (much too large) but no full blossoms. On my return, at a quarter of a mile from the trail head a heavy storm suddenly swept in consisting of hail and rain both, and then, as luck would have it, there was one in full bloom. One more photo taken from under a small umbrella that’s always in a pocket of my pack for such occasions.


Mule-ears, Wyethia amplexicaulis, (Sunflower family), are found only in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah and Colorado. This blossom is about 3 inches across.



  1. Great photos, especially in those conditions! We have Mule’s Earshere too, all over California, but as such things often go, it’s actually a different species, Wyethia helenioides. At least it’s in the same genus as yours! A quick trip through the excellent CalPhotos, searching for Wyethia turns up a number of species referred to as Mule’s Ears, including your W. amplexicaulis, and according to the every-useful USDA plants database, W. helenioides looks like it replaces W. amplexicaulis in California.


    Comment by Adam R. Paul — May 10, 2008 @ 10:12 am

  2. Some of the species are so close to each other. I saw on one site that these come in white also, supposedly in western Montana but I’ve never seen them. I bet they’re spectacular!


    Comment by montucky — May 10, 2008 @ 4:18 pm

  3. I’ve bookmarked many blogs – yours is my favorite! Your photos! Incredible…..


    Comment by Maureen — May 10, 2008 @ 8:06 pm

  4. Thank you Maureen! You are too kind!


    Comment by montucky — May 10, 2008 @ 11:12 pm

  5. Even on rainy days we can find such wonders as this. Thanks for sharing it.



    Comment by knightofswords — May 11, 2008 @ 8:59 am

  6. Rainy days are exceptional to me because they tend to limit the focal length of my distractions.


    Comment by montucky — May 11, 2008 @ 10:12 am

  7. Pretty shots… there were a few on the mt. yesterday but I didn’t stop to take the photograph. I was too excited that I finally could get all the way to the top of the mt with only about two feet of snow standing in the way. We had fun and completely wore out the pups. (funny how on some day’s I just don’t take pictures at all!) Hopefully they will still be around when I take the second trip of the year.


    Comment by aullori — May 11, 2008 @ 3:24 pm

  8. I sure envy your trip to the top. I keep trying but so far haven’t even come close. The forecast for next week is for warm days, so maybe it will clear out at least a little snow. I have two places I want to try.


    Comment by montucky — May 11, 2008 @ 6:53 pm

  9. Hmm… a small umbrella in the pack. I need one of those! Very pretty flower!


    Comment by winterwoman — May 12, 2008 @ 4:56 am

  10. You might laugh at me for this, but several years ago I was doing some field tech work most of which was outdoors, and on one job on a very rainy day the only thing I could find for rain protection was a small girl’s umbrella (red) which collapses down to 8 inches long. After that job I stuffed it in a pocket on my pack it became a part of my hiking gear to keep my camera dry and let me take photos on rainy days.


    Comment by montucky — May 12, 2008 @ 7:22 am

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