Montana Outdoors

June 10, 2008

The flowers at Spring Creek

***Note: I’ll likely be off the air for a time while I convert my stuff over to a new iMac, which also involves trying to forget over 20 years of the Microsoft way of operating. Please don’t think I’m ignoring anyone…. pray for me!***

I have posted photos of a few of the flowers that are found in the Spring Creek area here in western Montana, most notably the Tolmie star-tulips. Following are some I haven’t posted eariler including a few new photos of previous ones.

The blossoms in the next two photos are tiny, at a little less than an eighth of an inch across, and very fragile. I noticed them for the first time last year and nearly overlooked them along the trail this year.

Smallflower mitrewort, Piper flowers, Mitella stauropetala

Smallflower mitrewort

Mitella stauropetala


s easy to get carried away photographing the Blue Clematis and I did. Please bear with me.

Blue Clematis, Western blue virginsbower, Clematis occidentalis

Blue clematis

Blue clematis

Blue Clematis

Blue Clematis

(Thanks to some expert help from Tabbie and Adam, I’ve identified this one as Thalictrum occidentale or Thalictrum occidentalis, Western meadow-rue)


Red clover

Red clover




Indian paintbrush

Indian paintbrush

Indian Paintbrush

Calypso orchid

Calypso orchid

Red trillium

Red trillium

Wild currants

Wild currant blossoms

Blue violet

Blue violet

(By the time I get my system converted I’

m sure there will be more new ones ready for the lens!)


  1. Terry, I work on a Mac and I work on Windows. I only work on Windows because I have to – I’m a Mac geek, thru and thru.

    What I’m saying is congrats on the mac purchase, and if you have any problems or questions, feel free to get in touch with me – I’d be happy to help. If you can’t reach my usual email, you can always get me at

    Good luck!


    Comment by wolf — June 10, 2008 @ 6:54 pm

  2. Thanks, Wolf! You’ve already helped a lot by telling me you’re a Mac geek! The Mac arrived late this afternoon and I’ve only played with it a little but I’ve already figured out that if I had a comfortable easy chair to sit in and use a PC or sit on a hot bed of coals and use the Mac I’d take the Mac, no contest! (When the Mac arrived, my PC had just spent about an hour downloading the weekly batch of auto-updates for Windows.)


    Comment by montucky — June 10, 2008 @ 7:11 pm

  3. Good luck with the Mac conversion, Montucky. I expect it will be easy as a breeze for you (you’re going in the easy direction anyway) and I hope you’ll be back up and giving us gorgeous new pictures to look at in no time. I’ve been considering making that conversion myself–then have to remind myself that I’m locked into some PC-only software for my job. Alas.

    Thanks so much for the gorgeous wildflowers. I can see why you got so carried away with the Blue Clematis. Feel free to get carried away like that more often. πŸ˜€ And I love the Smallflower Mitrewort, which appears to be extremely aptly named.


    Comment by Sara — June 10, 2008 @ 7:28 pm

  4. I especially like lupine and Indian paintbrush. Nice to see a couple of pictures of them in your collection. Good luck with the big computer converstion.



    Comment by knightofswords — June 10, 2008 @ 7:29 pm

  5. I love my Mac almost as much as I love these gorgeous Montana wildflowers. Hmmm – maybe I love my Mac a teeny bit more! πŸ™‚


    Comment by Bo — June 10, 2008 @ 7:29 pm

  6. Sara,

    I’m really looking forward to completing the conversion!

    It has been lots of fun so far with the flowers this year. No wonder the knees are torn on all my trousers and I bring home so many wood ticks (from crawling around in the brush). Small price to pay though in my opinion!


    Comment by montucky — June 10, 2008 @ 7:52 pm

  7. Malcolm,

    Yup, those are the old standbys! Summer would not be complete without them! The lupines are just starting and both should be around the rest of the summer even if I have to go to the high elevations for them. Today we have fresh snow here by the way! (That’s just to keep all of the blossoms fresh!)


    Comment by montucky — June 10, 2008 @ 7:56 pm

  8. Thanks for the feedback on the Mac, Bo! I appreciate all the reinforcement!


    Comment by montucky — June 10, 2008 @ 7:57 pm

  9. my sis is a mac only gal and my dad just converted this last year too…I am still behind the times!

    these photos should keep us occupied til you get back around. love those little ones posted first. and of course the bluebonnets (lupine) and paintbrushes bring back memories of spring for us here in TX! I’ve never seen red clover, although it was on my son’s list for his flower project.


    Comment by silken — June 10, 2008 @ 9:52 pm

  10. I transferred a couple thousand photos tonight to the Mac and it made me just sick that I hadn’t converted years ago! There simply is no comparison!

    The first flower make me a little sad because it is so tiny one just can’t really appreciate it without magnification. the eye, unaided, just can’t see enough of it.

    Where I was yesterday it was still very early spring and today it snowed: the temp didn’t get past the mid 40’s. I know about the temperatures you have been having down there but it still is strange to see you talk about the “memories” of spring!


    Comment by montucky — June 10, 2008 @ 10:39 pm

  11. The Miterworts are spectacularly intricate…same goes for the “unknown” flowers and the wild Currant blossoms. I love the small details of wildlife, things which we often pass by and never even notice. Of course the Calypso orchid is right up my alley since I am an orchid nut, and who can’t appreciate an Indian Paintbrush or a Red Clover. Thanks for capturing it all Montucky! I am very curious to learn more about your conversion to Mac. I too have grown weary of my slavery to my Windows PC…sure it does wonderful things…when it wants to. Yet I hear both good and bad things about Mac…perhaps I will simply have to buy one and try it out for myself. πŸ˜› All the best to you and come back soon!


    Comment by Tabbie — June 11, 2008 @ 2:22 am

  12. I suspect your unknown flower is a species of Thalictrum…perhaps dioicum or something similar.


    Comment by Tabbie — June 11, 2008 @ 2:49 am

  13. *male flowers


    Comment by Tabbie — June 11, 2008 @ 2:51 am

  14. Tabbie’s right – your unknown one is a male Thalictrum. Weird flowers, in that the plants are either male or female, and each has a different bloom. In our parts we have T. fendleri (Fendler’s Meadow Rue), although the leaves look different to yours. I bet if you look at what Thalictrum sp. and/or Meadow Rues are in your area you’ll have it sorted in no time. Here are 2 photos I have of Fendler’s Meadow Rue for comparison:

    I agree with you on the delicate beauty that is the mitrewort – we have them here as well, although I don’t often see them. Of course they’re easy to overlook!

    Hoping your conversion goes well – I’ve used both macs & PCs extensively and macs are certainly easier for just about anything. Alas, I have some expensive software (Photoshop & Lightroom) that I am not about to re-purchase for another platform, else I’d consider switching as well next time I upgrade my hardware.


    Comment by Adam R. Paul — June 11, 2008 @ 8:37 am

  15. ohh…breath taking stuff, yet again! πŸ™‚


    Comment by Sumedh — June 11, 2008 @ 11:03 am

  16. I m not really sure but that one with no name it kind of looks like a columbine thats done blooming.


    Comment by jdnailer1 — June 11, 2008 @ 12:15 pm

  17. i think your right tabbie


    Comment by jdnailer1 — June 11, 2008 @ 12:19 pm

  18. Tabbie, (Mac conversion)

    So far, so good. I’m starting to love this ‘puter! It shows every evidence that it’s well worth the price. I was just so fed up with Mr. Gates and his band of merry men and all of their mistakes. I still have much to do with the new machine but it certainly has the capability!

    One thing it has shown me really bothered me but I’m so glad to have found it out: the colors on most of my photos appear washed out. In the store I compared also with a Sony monitor on a PC and saw the same thing. My camera, with auto-exposure, tends to over expose everything and so I use a different mode that lets me override that setting. When I import the photos to the computer, then I adjust to the visual perception that I remember when I took the shot. The PC displayed mush different images. Knowing that, now with the MAC, I’m sure my photos will look much better than they have in the past.


    Comment by montucky — June 11, 2008 @ 3:00 pm

  19. Tabbie and Adam,

    Thanks for pointing me in the right direction on the Thalictrum! It looks so much like your photos, Adam, but USDA Plants does not show Fendler’s Meadow-rue growing in Montana, but Western Meadow-rue does (Thalictrum occidentale). A site that I’ve grown to trust for Montana plants is which originates in British Columbia, and it shows the same as (occidentalis). I think that solves it.


    Comment by montucky — June 11, 2008 @ 3:06 pm

  20. Sumedh,

    Thanks! I hope now that I’ve found a problem with my previous photos that they’ll be better in the future!


    Comment by montucky — June 11, 2008 @ 3:08 pm

  21. jdnailer,

    I thought the same thing about columbines, but I don’t think they grow wild here. Thanks for the visit!


    Comment by montucky — June 11, 2008 @ 3:09 pm

  22. I like the red clover, indian paintbrush, and the currants! The currants are so neat! They look like ornamental bead caps, ready for a place on my next necklace. (I’d just put a smaller bead inside them, sort of like a bell clapper.)


    Comment by katkmeanders — June 11, 2008 @ 6:40 pm

  23. Yes, those currant blossoms are different! It’s easy to miss them because they hang down below the leaves and can be well hidden sometimes!


    Comment by montucky — June 11, 2008 @ 8:17 pm

  24. Just as you have gotten a new Mac, montucky, I have gotten a new camera. Eeeeek! I think there will be a vast improvement in my photographs….if I ever learn how to use it. Wish me luck! πŸ˜€


    Comment by Tabbie — June 11, 2008 @ 11:38 pm

  25. I hope it comes under control as quickly as this Mac seems to have! Good luck with it and savor every second of the experience!


    Comment by montucky — June 12, 2008 @ 7:04 am

  26. Hrm, your photos do not look at all washed out on my screen, which I profile regularly using a hardware device (Xrite i1).


    Comment by Adam R. Paul — June 13, 2008 @ 8:17 am

  27. Adam,

    I guess to a large extent it’s relative and the “wash out” that I’m concerned about seems to vary from photo to photo. As an example, the Paintbrush photo in this post was very disappointing to me when I saw it on the Mac. The day when I shot it was rainy and quite dark and I was struck by the deep color of the flowers.

    Just now I adjusted the photo to exactly (as closely as I could) what I saw on my PC and added it to this post immediately after the original to show the difference.

    (I hope I’m not going nuts!)


    Comment by montucky — June 13, 2008 @ 10:05 am

  28. You’re not going nuts, different graphics cards/different monitors can render the same picture quite differently as far as colors/contrasts. I can remember when we got a new monitor, the armor color of my MMORPG character (EverQuest, if you are curious, which I do not play, I quit playing it with the whole Sony DRM fiasco, and am doing all I can not to give money to Sony after that.) looked quite different. I had to adjust the color settings on the monitor until it displayed her armor as purple, not pink.


    Comment by katkmeanders — June 18, 2008 @ 3:43 am

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