Montana Outdoors

May 22, 2008

Two days (part 1)

It’s incredible what a little warm weather does to the blossoming progress of wildflowers. Here are some that I’ve seen in the last two days near here.

Big sagebrush Artemesia tridentata flowers. This is a critical plant for sustaining deer and elk during the winter months. It is even more nourishing than alfalfa! I read recently that a wildfire killed most of these plants in one area of Wyoming and there was a 60% mortality rate in that area for mule deer over the winter.

   Big sagebrush blossoms Artemisia tridentata

Hawthorn Crataegus. These thorny trees are prolific in this part of Montana and produce berries that I don’t find good tasting but I think the birds do. The wood from its stems is extremely hard and durable: it’s a little gnarly but I make my hiking staffs from it.

 Hawthorn (Crataegus)

Serviceberry Amelanchier produces one of my favorite berries for mid to late summer. They have a very light taste and so are not useful for pies of jellies, but are delicious and nutritious. I find them best if you take a whole handful at once: that way they will flood your mouth with flavor!

 Serviceberry

Large-flowered false dandelion Agoseris glauca

 Large flowered False dandelion  Agoseris glauca

Large-flowered false dandelion Agoseris glauca

Large flowered false dandelion

Douglas wild hyacinth Brodiaea douglasii (couldn’t resist one more photo of this)

 Douglas Wild hyacinth  Brodiaea douglasii

Goatsbeard Tragopogon dubius. When I was a boy we referred to this as “milkweed”, which it isn’t, but when picked, the stems do exude a milky substance. When the blossom matures it forms a seed canopy similar to that of the dandelions only much larger.

 Goatsbeard Tragopogon dubius

Chokecherry Prunus virginiana. I always look forward to both the beautiful blossoms and later to the ripe fruit for jelly and syrup. These are very prolific and are a major food source for bears as they fatten up for winter.

 Chokecherry Prunus virginiana

Wayside gromwell Lithospermum ruderale

 Wayside gromwell Lithospermum ruderale

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